What do musicians Sam Cooke, Corky Siegel, Jim McGuinn (later known as Roger), Ramsey Lewis, and Dean Milano have in common? They all played Chicago clubs in the 1960s and 1970s, when there were many venues offering a variety of live music in the Chicago area. Milano, with his guitar and laptop in hand, lovingly described the time in a slide presentation as a part of our spring Elmer Kennedy History Lecture Series.
Milano, as author of Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s, has amassed a large collection of photos to accompany his fond memories. Many of the images that he included in his presentation were from his 2009 book, but he had some extras that he included while recounting the intersecting circles of folk, country, rock, blues, and jazz musicians. Showing an old musical friend on the screen, he often stopped the narrative to sing a verse and a chorus from one of that artist's songs. Most of them were instantly recognized as national hits, such as Sam Cooke's "Cupid" or the Buckingham's "Hey, Baby, They're Playing Our Song."
Milano has taken his presentation to numerous libraries and organizations around the Chicago area. We were glad to get him. I know I went home wanting to hear more music from old CDs or YouTube.