Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Images of America - The Chicago Music Scene 1960s and 1970s by Dean Milano

(Arcadia) This collection of photos and frustratingly brief captions of hundreds of Chicago musicians from the 60s and 70s is great in some ways, weak in some ways, and great in some ways because of its weaknesses. Because Milano was involved in the folk scene this book skews more towards folk and country than perhaps was reflected by Chicago's music consumers (I imagine more r&b and blues records sold, and there were plenty of venue for that stuff, but perhaps less photos survived). There are many photos in this book that are pretty common, or pretty crummy, or just shot off of records, so that's disappointing, but you get what you can get. And I found a number of small factual errors, but since the text is secondary that's not such  a big deal. Ultimately by choosing obscure and off kilter figures for inclusion in the rock (and show band?) section, the Blues, R&B, and Soul section, and the jazz section you actual get more interesting and strange stuff than if he worked from the top down and included only the biggest cats. I certainly never heard of Rich Markow the Living Cartoon, but I'm glad to see his picture. And you can never see enough Baby Huey photos!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the nice words. It's tough to please everyone with a book like this. I tried to allocate the same amount of space to each genre and if you look closely, you'll notice I was involved in more than just Folk music as I'm also in the Rock, Country and Jazz chapters with my various bands.
    When someone writes the encyclopedic work that this subject deserves, I'll certainly be the first to buy that book.

    Dean Milano