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Chicago Folk: Images of the Sixties Music Scene Paperback – October 1, 2009


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Chicago Folk: Images of the Sixties Music Scene + Chicago Blues as seen from the inside - The Photographs of Raeburn Flerlage
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550228730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550228731
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This 10 x 8 trade paperback collects 150 black-and-white photographs by Raeburn Flerlage from late 1959 through the beginning of 1970, documenting a decade's worth of Chicago Folk Festivals and sessions at the Old Town School of Folk Music."  —Goldmine



"A treasure that eloquently documents our folk heroes from a long-gone era."  —Sing Out!

About the Author

Raeburn Flerlage was an acclaimed photographer of the Chicago Blues scene. His work has appeared in magazines such as "Blues Access," "DownBeat," "Living Blues," and "Sing Out!"; books including "Blues Legends" and "Who's Who in the Blues"; and on record covers for Chess, Delmark, and RCA record labels. Ronald D. Cohen is the author of "Folk Music: The Basics" and "A History of Folk Music Festivals in the United States" and a professor emeritus of history at Indiana University. He lives in Gary, Indiana. Bob Riesman is the author of the forthcoming biography "I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy." He lives in Chicago.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Raeburn Flerlage, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 86, was as much a record man as he was a photographer. His decades of work in writing about, promoting, distributing and selling records gave him both an insider's collection of contacts and a fan's undying love of musicians and their music. Moving to Chicago in the mid-1940s he placed himself at a well-traveled crossroads for touring artists and, later, ground-zero of the electric blues revolution. He began studying photography in the late-1950s and was given his first assignment (a session with Memphis Slim that found placement in a Folkways record booklet) in 1959.

Flerlage worked primarily as a freelancer, capturing musicians and their audiences at Chicago's music festivals, concert halls, theaters, college auditoriums and clubs. He was welcomed into rehearsal halls, recording and radio studios, hotel rooms and even musicians' homes. His photographs appeared in promotional materials, magazines (most notably, Down Beat), and illustrated books that included Charles Keil's Urban Blues and Robert Palmer's Deep Blues. In 1971 he started a record distributorship and mostly stopped taking photographs. When his company closed in 1984 he found the demand for his photos increasing, and spent his "retirement" fielding requests from all around the world.

In 2000 ECW elevated Flerlage from photo credits to photographer with the first book dedicated to his photos, Chicago Blues: As Seen From the Inside.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 50 REVIEWER on November 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Photographer Raeburn "Ray" Flerage was still living when the book of his photos "Chicago Blues: As Seen From The Inside" was published in 2002. This new volume features over 150 more photos of performers characterized as "folk", who Flerage captured as they came through the Windy City during the 1960s. Most were not based in Chicago but played the major folk venues like The Gate of Horn or one of the many area "folk festivals". Flerage's photos have appeared on many album covers and other books but the ones included here were selected by compilers Ron Cohen and Bob Reisman from the archive of previously unpublished images.

The book begins with an 11-page bio of Flerage by Cohen that tells of his relocation to Chicago and his involvement with the organization People's Songs, where he met many of the performers who he came to know as friends.

The performers shown fall with the broader caption of the "folk scene". There are blues artists like Sunnyland Slim and Country performers like (the Grand Ole Opry's) Stringbean. There is also poet Carl Sandburg. The Staples Singers are here as well as actor (and activist) Brock Peters. The giants of the folk scene are here too: Dylan, Baez, the Weavers (both with, and without, Pete Seeger). Some images capture the performer in situations we are not used to seeing them in. A photo of African singer Miriam Makeba in an evening dress is just one.

Beyond the biographical essay there is little text in the book, other than captions identifying the subject, place and date of the photos. And, therein, lies the weakness of the book. There are many photos of performers unknown outside of Chicago (and probably today unknown within Chicago); names like Arvella Gray, Fleming Brown and Stu Ramsey.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hihyooka on August 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Having been a young Chicagoan captivated and spending excessive time in the "folk scene" , knowing many of its participants during the era coverage by this book I found it severely lacking in its purported mission to convey a sense of the Chicago folk era hayday. Any tome that fails to include the basics, i.e. WFMT's Midnight Special, Ed and Fred Holstein, Jim Post, Michael Smith and the Earl of Old Town , to name but a few, fails in its quest to give an adequate exposition. If you find it for a buck buy it, otherwise, check out your local library. Hopefully, someday someone will write an indepth account.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary J. Deysach on April 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is filled with great images of performers now much older or passed on. I have given it as a gift.
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