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“Soul Train”: DVD time machine

Aficionados of ’70s soul and funk will issue a loud cheer on Aug. 31, when Time Life releases “The Best of Soul Train,” a three-DVD set reprising some magic moments from producer-host Don Cornelius’ TV show.

“Soul Train” occupies a special place in the heart of this writer, who used to watch the show when it first aired locally in Chicago in the early ’70s on UHF station WCIU-TV. It was a decidedly low-rent production then — little more than a bunch of kids dancing to the latest R&B hits against a bare cyclotron. But the formula — hot music, hip acts, wild threads, cool moves — took flight after Cornelius took his show to L.A. and began syndicating it nationally, and “Soul Train” endured as a TV institution until 2006.

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