Friday, April 16, 2010

The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s by Dean Milano

I arrived in the Chicago area in the early 1980s, just after the period detailed in The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s by Dean Milano. Still, I heard several of the musicians that Milano included in his Images of America book. We have even had a couple of them play for our library's concert series. Turning through the photo-filled pages, I wish there was an accompanying iPod loaded with music from all the identified singers, instrumentalists, and bands. I'd then get a good lesson in Chicago folk, blues, country, jazz, and rock.

Milano is a veteran musician himself and appears in a handful of the photos. His presence in them helps make a point about Chicago musical acts - the lineups were always changing. Bands would often change singers, lead guitarists, or drummers. A substitute bass player might be needed for a gig at a jazz club. Some talented musicians appear in several sections of the book with folk, jazz, and rock acts, as they often crossed the fuzzy lines separating the musical genres. The word "fusion" is used by Milano several times.

Like other books of the Images of America series, The Chicago Music Scene is 128 pages of photographs with captions, telling a broad story of a place through pictures. In such a book, the writing of the captions is critical, and I wish Milano had had a little more editing. I am confused as to who the individuals are in some of the group pictures. I am not certain Milano himself knows in every case. Still, he takes us back to a time and place that some of us would like to visit. The Chicago Music Scene is a good addition to Chicago area public libraries.

Milano, Dean. The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s. Arcadia Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9780738577296

1 comment:

Dean said...

Thanks for the nice review, and yes you are correct that in some cases I wasn't aware of exactly who was who in certain pictures, mainly because the band member sending the picture didn't provide that information.
However, the new edition of the book has over 50 corrections, so some of the text has now been updated.