I have vivid memories of listening to Ashford and Simpson from my mom. It was usually on a Sunday morning, kind of like an R&B Brunch-type of situation.
Al Green also brings up memories of my wedding, and dancing to ‘Let’s Stay Together’ for the first dance.
But aside from my memories, experiencing the importance of a show like Soul! should be a NECESSARY watch for anyone into music or the turbulent times of the 1960s and 70s in the U.S.
The focus of ‘Soul!’ is the ‘Mr.’ himself; Mr. Ellis Haizlip. Unlike ‘The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson’ and variety shows that featured the Smothers Brothers and Dean Martin, Soul! bucked the trend by foregoing a ‘star’ in their title, and made the guests and audience, the stars.
Introducing the world to The Last Poets and solidifying the talents of Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder as voices of their generations, Haizlip and Soul! created a place to showcase artists that wouldn’t, or couldn’t, be seen on a major network.
Set against the Nixon Administration and it’s ideology of ‘Law and Order’ ‘Soul!’ was the rebellion that a community and nation needed. Soul! gave the voiceless and oppressed a safe space to feel welcome and celebrate their culture. The constant was Ellis Haizlip who never made the show about him, but about the black excellence he invited into people’s homes.
For more information on ‘Mr. Soul,’ click HERE