A tribute to classic Chicago radio station WJPC (Ebony/Jet’s radio station) hosted by Reclaimed Soul host Ayana Contreras with former WJPC program director Richard Steele, an interview with Chicago disco/soul legend Linda Clifford (“Runaway Love”, “If My Friends Could See Me Now”).
We hear vintage WJPC audio including Richard Steele back in 1974 and Linda Clifford’s interview with Wali Muhammad from 1978. We also hear classic music and deep cuts from Ms. Clifford as well as her own story.
Below, Linda and Richard pictured in 2018 and in 1978, respectively.
Catch fresh installments of Reclaimed Soul Thursdays at 8pm and Sundays at 8am (CST) on vocalo.org/player or over the air on 91.1fm (CHI)
This 1976 record by Chicago’s own Curtis Mayfield used to be a favorite spin in my College Radio days. It’s been back on my radar in recent days. “Give a little bit, Get a little bit, Take a little bit” picks up on the theme of the classic “Give Me Your Love” with an offer for a more even exchange. Very lean groove, yet it somehow still has a whole bunch going on (check the masterful guitar work). Jive on!
It’s about that time… and I’ve got more heat. Soulful dynamite. Killer funk. Local Chicago gems. Bluesy groovers. Polyrhythmic madness. The stuff that hip-hop was built upon. And, as always, no cover. Join me and Gaucho at the Morseland: 1218 West Morse, this Thursday at 9:30pm.
Below, rare groove stone-cold gangster lean goodness by The Impressions (of our fair city), “Sooner or Later”. Jive on!
Here in Chicago, music fans know Linda Clifford as a singer affiliated with Curtis Mayfield’s camp in the disco era. But Clifford, a native New Yorker, is also a former Miss New York State, and at one time worked as an actress who played minor roles in major films like The Boston Strangler with Tony Curtis and Henry Ford and Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine.
Still performing today, she is best known for the cuts from her 1978 debut album on Curtom: “If My Friends Could See Me Now” (#1 on the Disco Charts), and “Runaway Love” (#3 on the R&B Charts). Backed by The Jones Girls, her Curtom hits were electrifying, and fully Chicago-bred in an era when the City’s influence on popular music was waning (after the peak of Chicago Soul, and before the House Explosion).
Below, it’s Linda Clifford dishing it out with a televised performance of “Runaway Love”. Jive on!
By way of the Bay Area, it’s Chicago’s own Natural Four. They signed to Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records in 1972, after five years without a hit, and within a year they gave us this blue light basement classic: “Can This Be Real.”
Inexplicably, the Natural Four never reached the success they deserved, dissolving in 1976. Robert Pruter, author of the book Chicago Soul, pointed out that they most likely suffered from the trend of doo-wop style vocal groups succumbing to the age of Disco, which mainly favored solo artists. But the Natural Four shone brightly, if only for a moment. Jive On.
Originally from New Jersey, Leroy Hutson attended Howard University, eventually majoring in Music. It was during those years that Hutson met Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad, and Chicago’s own Donny Hathaway (who would become Hutson’s roommate).
Hutson collaborated with Hathaway on “The Ghetto”, a smash 1970 hit (Hathaway’s first).
In 1971, three months out of college, Hutson replaced Curtis Mayfield as lead singer of The Impressions. He recorded two albums with the group before going solo.
In 1976, Leroy Hutson released his third album: Hutson II. Recorded at Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Studios (on North Lincoln Ave. in Chicago), he predated D’Angelo by twenty odd years in the sheer smoothness category. “Love this Feeling” (below) is just a taste of what Leroy Hutson is made of.
Love the Feeling