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.
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Jamming and juggling on a warm summer’s afternoon in the days when Jane Byrne was mayor… and Disco was king. Two years later, Jane Byrne moved into Cabrini Green in part as a publicity stunt.
Below, a bit more footage: an unnamed local group can be heard (but not seen) performing a version of Teddy Pendergrass’ “Come Go With Me”. The bottom clip features an assortment of kids with their face painted getting in line for what looks like shaved ice; and at about 50 seconds in, another group singing a version of the Doobie Brothers cut “Minute by Minute”. (NOTE: the video above is labeled as having occurred in 1977, but the song playing in the background came out in 1979, so I adjusted it here). This video was posted to youtube by John Boguta. Jive on!
Below, more jamming, more good times…
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!