Light: On the South Side…Grit and Gold Lamé

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 Abramson224_x600_cl_light18

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About ayanacontreras

i love the transportive powers of sound. i am a radio host/producer, DJ, Sound designer, 45rpm collector, and art lover living in the city of wind. View all posts by ayanacontreras

6 responses to “Light: On the South Side…Grit and Gold Lamé

  • Dishmop from the Low

    This is a great. It shows beautiful people in the depths of their beautiful culture having a swell of a good time. I love this teaser…makes me proud to be a Chicagoan.

  • ayanacontreras

    dishmop, glad you dug it. countdown till november… and jive on!

  • Sweets

    you know this is going to be the S%&@!

  • Light on the South Side Book Release « darkjive

    […] Numero Group presents: A Light On The South Side Release party, Discussion, and Social Sunday, November 1st 2pm – 6pm Chicago Cultural Center […]

  • blakeminnerly

    I know I’m jumping on a 3 year old thread, but just in case someones still listening, I had to comment. I grew up on 76th and South Shore Dr. In 1977, I was fifteen. Abramson’s photos so capture the feel of the fashion and street life of that time and place that I watched the slideshow perhaps ten times, transfixed. Thank you, for giving me that recaptured glimpse of my young life.

    • ayanacontreras

      Very cool. I’m so glad it took you back! I’m also glad you found my little blog… maybe you might find something else here, as well. Jive on!

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