I, for one, have stared for more than a moment at the forgotten, peeled paint on the side of the 408 Club building over on 79th Street (just East of King Drive). In mid-seventies hipster font, the ad reads “Sheba Disco”, apparently some sort of disco club. I’ve wondered what manner of elephant bells and Quiana was to be found there in its heyday.
In the mid-’70s, photographer Michael Abramson set his viewfinder on the South Side of Chicago, specifically the many clubs and lounges that served as Hothouses of street fashion (among them, the legendary High Chaparral and the Showcase Lounge). They reflected where blues, soul and disco collided: a dream of grit and gold lamé.
Those photos have been compiled in Light: On the South Side, which is set for a November release by local label Numero Group. The package also includes a 17-track vinyl-only comp entitled Pepper’s Jukebox, featuring various local juke joint luminaries including Bobby Rush and Little Mack. Cratediggers, this one also includes the one-time cockroach of Chicago 45rpm collecting: “I’m a Streaker, Baby” by Arlean Brown. Remember that one? Couldn’t even give that one away, it was so plentiful. Anyway, check out the photo gallery, above (from the forthcoming book). Be inspired. Jive on.
photo by Michael Abramson