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Chicago Folk: Images of the Sixties Music Scene Paperback – October 1, 2009
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"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
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›