Category Archives: music

The 1927 Mississippi River flood disaster had a far-reaching social impact, inspired timeless music, influenced policy that includes what happened during Hurricane Katrina, and received its due in at least one very interesting book. It even roused the laissez-faire federal government … Continue reading

As the tumultuous late Sixties and early Seventies retreat into history, the zeitgeist is steadily sanding the many rough edges off John Lennon in order to enjoy his music without all the bummer stuff. But Lennon in his own time … Continue reading

On this day in 1947, the City of New Orleans made its first run between the Chicago and the Crescent City on the Illinois Central line. The City traveled the early 921-mile route in the daytime in those days. The Panama Limited was … Continue reading

Longing for that down home music? Looking for a shot of brilliance? Tryin’ to forget that you asked for water and your woman/man gave you gasoline? Then you must be celebrating the 100th birthday (or it might be the 102nd birthday) of McKinley Morganfield, … Continue reading

You can’t have Women’s History Month without musician-genius Clara Rockmore (left in the photo). The appropriately named Rockmore was a master of the theremin, that haunting/creepy sound-maker that entered our consciousness through 1950s science fiction films, “Good Vibrations,” twentieth-century electronica, and by inspiring the Moog synthesizer. The … Continue reading

Excerpted from Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics, by Jean Freedman Peggy had written some mildly feminist songs, such as “Darling Annie,” about an equal partnership between a man and a woman, and “Nightshift,” about a woman’s … Continue reading

The Chinatown opera house provided Chinese immigrants with an essential source of entertainment during the pre–World War II era. But its stories of loyalty, obligation, passion, and duty also attracted diverse patrons into Chinese American communities Drawing on a wealth … Continue reading

February 7, 2017, marks the approximate, not to say the exact, date of a landmark in Illinois rock and roll. On this day (more or less) in 1979, the Rockford band Cheap Trick released its walloping success of a long-play, Live at … Continue reading

Awards season continues with one of our already-lauded books receiving another prize. L. H. Stallings‘s Funk the Erotic: Transaesthetics and Black Sexual Cultures has won the Alan Bray Memorial Book Award, awarded by the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association … Continue reading

May Irwin reigned as America’s queen of comedy and song from the 1880s through the 1920s. A genuine pop culture phenomenon, Irwin conquered the legitimate stage, composed song lyrics, and parlayed her celebrity into success as a cookbook author, suffragette, … Continue reading