Monday, May 26, 2008

Soul on the Air #8: Joe Cobb, 1972

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Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a holiday of dual purpose: designed to commemorate soldiers who have died in service to their country, it also serves as the unofficial start of the summer season, so patriotic displays, memorials and barbecues end up sharing the three-day weekend. I thought it would only be appropriate to do a new "Soul on the Air" installment, this time featuring Joe "Youngblood" Cobb, doing his thing on WVON in the early morning of Memorial Day 1972. I don't know a whole lot about Cobb except that he was a WVON "Good Guy" from the mid-'60s into the '70s, that he cut the funky 45 classic "It's LB Time" for Ex-SPECT-More in 1972, and that he was one of the announcers on "Soul Train" (it was Cobb who did the famous "Sooooooooooooooooooooul Train!" shout, which he created while reading ad copy for one of Don Cornelius's "Soul Train" concerts of the late '60s). I was tickled pink to acquire this aircheck awhile ago, and although it's way too short, it provides a great snapshot of Cobb's style.

The aircheck is partially scoped - that is, most of the music has been cut out, leaving only portions of Cobb's patter and some commercials. I'm going to give you the whole thing, the best portion of which is unscoped, though there's some fun in the scoped part (especially in Millie Jackson's "Ask Me What You Want," when Joe throws out a sample question about barbecue!) In the unscoped segment, after a "happy holiday" jingle, Cobb starts playing Luther Ingram's "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right." After grousing about being on the air on a holiday ("I need to be at home getting my ribs together," he complains), he really gets into the song, tossing in interjections all the way through. "If loving you is a sin this morning, woman," he bellows, "I want [WVON gospel director and early-morning gospel DJ] Doc Lee to pray for me, 'cause I'm sho' 'nuff gonna sin!" It's just too much fun!


olbigdaddy said...

Joe Cobb inspired me to go into the broadcast field. He and "The Good Guys" at WVON made radio so much fun in those days that it appeared to be easy. I stayed in the field for 20 years and enjoyed it. Are he or Bill "Butterball" Crane or E. Rodney Jones or Bill "Doc" Lee still alive, anybody know?

The Stepfather of Soul said...

I don't know about Doc Lee or Butterball, but E. Rodney Jones passed away a few years ago.

Cecil said...

I just came across this site and was fascinated with the comments about our old station. To answer your questions: Butterball is alive and well; Bill "Doc" Lee passed away several years ago.Rodney died three years ago. Joe is still doing well but so many of our early crew are gone.Lucky Cordell is doing great, Richard Pegue is still on the air and Herb Kent is still 'stepping' in Chicago.
Thanks for remembering us.

Dr. Cecil Hale

The Stepfather of Soul said...

Joe Cobb's daughter sent me this kind email today:

My name is Jeaneen Cobb-Goodjoint and I'm writing because I was up "Googling" stuff after being up late watching "Talk To Me", the story of radio personality Mr. Petey Greene, when I came upon your Stepfather of Soul blogspot.

Joe Cobb (Youngblood on WVON) is my dad and I found your post interesting and insightful. My dad is alive and well and retired from radio and built a home in his hometown of Little Rock, AR, where he has resided for about 18 years now. It was great to listen to the 1972 clip you posted, as if I've ever heard it I was only around five years old and just wouldn't remember it.

And in response to commenter "Olebigdaddy," she wrote:

I'm glad to know that my father inspired your initial career of radio announcing.

Al Greer said...

I currently host the late Richard Pegue's show "The Best Music Of Your Life" on WKKC-FM in chicago every Saturday night/Sunday morning from 1am to 6am (CST). He was one of the best teachers I've ever had.

Al Greer said...

Richard Pegue was one of the best teachers that I've ever had!