Friday, February 04, 2011

Soul on the Air #16 - Mr. Vee, 1972

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Today's "Soul on the Air" feature returns to Chicago's WGRT, which, despite successfully running an R&B format alongside WVON throughout the late '60s and into the '70s (during which it changed calls to WJPC), has been overshadowed by 'VON in the history of Chicago radio. Despite this lack of renown, audio evidence shows that 'GRT had "great" taste in music, as illustrated by this aircheck.

I haven't been able to find out anything about Mr. Vee, which is unfortunate. This two-part aircheck features Vee holding court for an hour of February 11, 1972. After a news break, he gets the ball rolling with the Detroit Emeralds' "You Want It, You Got It." There's lots of surefire hits in this hour: in addition to the Detroit Emeralds record, Joe Tex's "I Gotcha," James Brown's "Talkin' Loud and Saying Nothing," "Jungle Fever" by the Chakachas and "That's the Way I Feel About Cha" by Bobby Womack get played. Of course, there are lesser-known tunes, such as Chicago soulster Otis Brown's "Who's Gonna Take Me Home" - declared a "Too Great to Wait" record and getting some replay from Mr. Vee - and "Our Favorite Melody" by Jimmy Ruffin.

There's other fun stuff here: there's an ad for Soul Soldier, a blaxploitation film about the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 19th century ("black men who fought the red man for a white government that didn't give a damn about either," declares the announcer) and an Aretha Franklin drop-in when "Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)" is played; in addition, there are two playings of the "Sign of the Zodiac" game, whose awesome theme music ("(Pisces) Sign of the Zodiac" by the South Suburban Electric Strings, ironically produced by Richard Pegue, then one of the WVON "Good Guys") and groovy astrological profiles are coupled with a small cash prize (I know $8 - the jackpot in one of the games - went a lot farther in 1972 than now, but it seems low to me).

It's not surprising that this aircheck often pops up on eBay, because it's one of the better ones out there.