Earlier this year, Chicago lost perhaps it’s greatest booster/advocate/authority on indigenous soul music. This Friday (September 25th), the Promontory in Hyde Park will host Sitting in the Park Forever: Bob Abrahamian Memorial Record Hop. Proceeds will help fund efforts to archive, preserve, and digitize Bob’s robust/one-of-a-kind/invaluable collection of Chicago soul singles. On the bill will be Reggie Torian of the Impressions, Cliff Curry of The Notations, Doug Shorts of Master Plan, Inc, Keni Rightout of Center Stage, Hollee Thee Maxwell, as well as the Windy City Soul Club. We miss Bob everyday, and embrace any opportunity to honor his legacy, tell stories, laugh, cry, etc. Tickets are $10, and are available online.
For more information, visit PromontoryChicago.com.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside
Wether you cherish your Light On The Southside or are still holding out for a $30 copy from Half-Priced Books (good luck), if you are reading this blog, you are most likely aware of the bounty of beautiful and engaging images encapsulated in our watershed art book/2XLP box set. We are excited to announce that Columbia College is currently hosting an exhibit devoted to our beloved Michael L. Abramson, featuring old favorites and new finds from the massive archives that gave way to Light On The Southside.
From the Columbia College website:
This exhibition presents the arresting South Side Series, created in the mid-1970s by American photographer Michael L. Abramson (1948-2011). A diverse selection of original black and white photographic prints, imbued with sensuality and subtleties, document the pulsing nightlife of black blues clubs on Chicago’s South Side. Dressed to the nines in gold, mink, elegant hats and fine jewelry, Abramson’s subjects are engaged in dancing, drinking, and smoking‒and perhaps celebrating a recent success or maybe just forgetting their troubles. This work earned Abramson a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1978 and launched his successful career as a portraiture photographer and photojournalist. Abramson’s photographs can be found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the California Museum of Photography. This will be the artist’s first large scale show since 1977, and the first time some of these photographs will be seen by the public. Co-presented by Columbia College Chicago’s Library and Museum of Contemporary Photography.
The Michael L. Abramson: Pulse of the Night exhibition is located on the second floor of the Columbia College Chicago Library, 624 S. Michigan Avenue.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Playlists | Tags: A Light On The Southside, Tax Day
At least we’ve got a free mix for you to hear, courtesy of the Sitting in the Park radio show. Celebrating (or lamenting) another Tax Day in these United States, we’ve got a special guest mix from Bob Abrahamian [producer/archivist/researcher/host of the legendary radio show Sitting in the Park]. Check out his interviews and other mixes for the deepest archives of group harmony recordings yet known. Fans of the Light on the South Side compilation (which Bob contributed to) should take note..
Amidst the craziness of Titan, Boddie, and Yellow Pills booklet burning videos, we lapsed ever so slightly on our newest little record: Little Ed & the Soundmasters. You may remember the Soundmasters from their “It’s A Dream” track on Light: On The South Side, wherein a group of west side players enlist their eight-year-old brother to play drums and sing over a harmonica-drenched and smoke-blown slice of way-past-curfew blues-funk. It sounds like this:[audio https://numerogroup.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/11-its-a-dream.mp3]
When Charles Fisher, the group’s guitarist and archivist, brought over his scrap book of Soundmasters related ephemera, we knew at the very least we had to do something with the photos. That they made three killer 45s on their own Fised and Fished labels in the early ’70s made it that much easier to build a project.
Collected here for the first time is the complete Soundmasters recorded output, including their session backing noted Chicago cop and bluesman Johnny Dollar. The booklet is chock full of family photographs and shots of Little Ed Fisher on stage at Chicago’s seediest nightclubs. We’ve replicated the original labels, and clothed the records in sharp black sleeves. The whole shebang is packaged in tip-on style box, complete with printed interiors and a height buffer. Gorgeous doesn’t really begin to describe it.
We began shipping subscription copies last week, and a few stores have them as well, but if neither of those are options, you can always buy it from our 24-7 Numero store.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Obituaries | Tags: Light On The South Side, MIchael Abramson
Early Monday morning, our friend and collaborator Michael L. Abramson peacefully succumbed to his long battle with kidney cancer.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Abramson had contributed photography to numerous national and foreign magazines and his work has been exhibited at museums and galleries including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Milwaukee Art Museum, and The Philadelphia Art Museum. In 1978, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to documentary work on the South Side of Chicago.
Michael’s important historical photographs of Chicago nightlife in the mid-1970s were the centerpiece of Numero’s double album/book hybrid Light: On The South Side, which has received accolades globally—including a Grammy nomination—for this remarkable portrait of a rarely documented and lively Chicago scene.
Of Michael’s work, the writer Nick Hornby says:
“There is something extremely poignant about these pictures: there comes a point where the transience of the laughter and the music, the booze and the cigarettes and the drugs, pushes us into a contemplation of the mortality of the participants, and then on to our own. And life has always been shorter for the inhabitants of the South Side, too—at the time these pictures were taken, the average black male would just about see his sixtieth birthday, but not much beyond that. Carpe diem means that little bit more when the dies are in shorter supply. This is a special book, about one tiny corner of the world over a handful of evenings a long time ago; but that tiny corner of the world has, for decades now, meant a great deal to an awful lot of people scattered all over the world.”
Mike was a real mencsh, a true gentleman, and an important artist. We will miss him tremendously. If you’re out tonight, lift a snifter of Hennessy for him. He preferred Scotch, but it seems appropriate.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Methodology, Uncategorized | Tags: Odd Photos
Lots of folks with desk jobs have the week off… not us! We’re still handcuffed to our desks doing fun activities like entering numbers into spreadsheets and preparing for the next batch of new releases. Since we doubt we’ll be able to pull you away from returning argyle socks to departments stores to read anything deep and poetic, we’re offering something that can be quickly enjoyed: photos from our deep vaults (some of which may just turn up in future releases… we promise nothing.)
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Newsworthy | Tags: Grammys, Light On The South Side
And so it came to pass that in our 7th year “in business,” the National Academy of Recorded Arts and Sciences has seen fit to shine a light in our direction. In our 2nd year, we submitted both Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label and Fern Jones: The Glory Road, making it all the way to round two before receiving the customary “Thanks for playing!” letter. Seemingly a waste of 28 promos. So we stopped submitting altogether.
Last Thanksgiving, our friend Henry Owings at Chunklet (and NARAS member) gave us the “Must be present to win” speech, giving us cause to change our stance and submit 14 copies of last year’s Light: On The South Side.
This morning we woke up to dozens of congratulatory emails. Turns out our little box set got nominated in category 88: Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package. While we harbor no illusions that we will actually win a mini gramophone (We’re guessing the White Stripes tie it up handily), it’s nice to know that someone out there is paying attention to our little corner of the world. That said, if you’re on the NARAS committee or know someone that is, encourage them to vote for our little record.