Carlos of Surplus of Options (a smokin’ hot Antique/Resale shop full of curiosities here in Chicago) found these pictures… in fact, he picked up dozens of them… at a West Side Junk shop for almost nothing. I was immediately struck by the photos, both for their composition and tone. I bought the pictures from him with the promise that I’d share them with Darkjive readers.
All of the photos came from the same lot and are presumed to have been taken by one Wilbur Holmes (who apparently had a way with the ladies, based on the subject matter of many of his shots). A good number of his photos had West Side subject matter, such as the Garfield Conservatory and Malcolm X College. At first, the photographer was a mystery. Only one shot (not pictured here) had his name embossed in the corner.
A bit of research turned up that Mr. Holmes worked for the post office for 40 years (as well as being a self-employed photographer).
I found some of his shots published in Jet Magazine, during the 1970s (image below from the March 4, 1971 issue).
He was a First Lieutenant in the Army in World War II, and he died in 1991. If you know/knew Mr. Holmes and have more info, please share it here in the comments section. I’m so grateful that Darkjivers are so good at sharing…
(photos: Labor Day 1936 at 31st Street Beach, Chicago) found at bvikkivintage
I love “I’ll Never Forget You” by Nolan Chance. Released here in Chicago in 1969, its creation was a collaboration between Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, and Leroy Hutson (arguably the patron saints of Chicago Soul for the decade that was to come). The song has aural dream sequences: One moment, Nolan is reminiscing the sand-in-shoes good times spent with his lost love. The music is floaty, featuring dreamy keys and a güiro, the same scraping percussion instrument in the Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk”.
The next moment, Nolan is snapped back into reality and the music features rhythmic, ebbing horns that recede like the tide. It makes me want to go to the beach. Enjoy the pictures and the music….
NOTE: Nolan Chance (born Charles David) was raised in LaGrange, IL, and was at one time a member of the Artistics. Another record of his that I picked up based on my love for “I’ll Never Forget You” is “I’d Like to Make it With You”, the B-side of “Sara Lee” (released in 1972, and NOT the same song as the similarly titled “Make it With You” by Bread). Great sassy Chicago brass and pulsating rhythm. Jive on.
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. The resulting photos have been compiled into the book A Light on the South Side.
The Numero Group presents: A Light On The South Side Release party, Discussion, and Social
Sunday, November 1st 2pm – 6pm
Chicago Cultural Center
Discussion with Michael Abramson and Rick Kogan in the Claudia Cassidy Theater
Reception in the G.A.R. Rotunda
Following the talk there will be a book signing and reception where Intelligentsia Coffee will be serving a special Numero-inspired creation, the 24-Carat Blend, and the Numero staff will be playing South Side classics in the G.A.R. Rotunda.
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 inLight: 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.