Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Soul on the Air #11: Gladys "Gee Gee" Hill, 1970

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Today's "Soul on the Air" segment features the late Gladys "Gee Gee" Hill from Houston's KCOH. The station, the first black-oriented radio station in Texas, started in 1953 as a "sunup to sundown" broadcaster and is still on the air today, bringing a mixture of talk, R&B, zydeco, gospel and more from the 1430 spot on the dial, twenty-four hours a day. Hill was one of a handful of female DJs to make a mark in the history of classic R&B radio (Detroit's Martha Jean "The Queen" and Chicago's Merry Dee and Yvonne Daniels are the only ones to spring to mind immediately), and is the only one for whom I have been able to locate any airchecks (it's hard enough to find R&B airchecks, much less those featuring female jocks). I haven't been able to find out much information about Hill, but I do know that she was well-regarded in Houston and is notable for helping break Archie Bell & The Drells' classic "Tighten Up": the tune was initially released on fellow KCOH jock (and co-owner) Skipper Lee Frazier's Ovide label, but Frazier was plugging the flip, "Dog Eat Dog," until Hill convinced him that the other side was the hit. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

This aircheck finds Hill doing her thing in 1970, playing a wide range of blues, jazz and soul, ranging from The Glass House to Albert King to the Merced Blue Notes. Near the twenty-minute mark, there's a sports news break featuring a pinch-hitting Lee Dickerson, whose somewhat stumbling reading of the news finds him correcting a report he'd made earlier and smoothly setting up a Schlitz beer commercial in the middle.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - Thanks to blogger Daddy's Girl, who commented on the last Soul on the Air feature. I look forward to her blog, "My Dad, Ed Cook" and hope to communicate with her soon about her dad and WVON!)


Keith said...

Very cool. I hope you have a great Valentine's Day!

EFM Radio said...

I'm very, very thankful for these wonderful airchecks Jason.

Thank You! I can't think of anything better than this to bring back the memories. The quality of this one is great too!