Earlier this year, soul and music history fans across the country were saddened to hear that Bob Abrahamian of SittingInThePark.com had taken his own life. Bob was a passionate record collector and deejay who was known for his endless knowledge of Chicago South Side soul as well as his kindness. Elderly African-American musicians, forgotten by most and preyed upon by exploitative recording contracts and unscrupulous record collectors, found a friend in Bob; he would pay them fair prices for their collections, track down lost recordings, listen to their life stories, and even help them with practical issues like housing and navigating a new confusing digital world.
Jake Austen (Roctober, Chic-a-go-go, Promontory) wrote a moving and beautiful profile of Abrahamian for the Chicago Reader. After learning that Bob’s family needed funds to properly archive his immense collection of music, photos, interviews, and ephemera, he organized a funky night of soul performances at the Empty Bottle’s sister club in Hyde Park, The Promontory. A $10 donation is requested; you can buy tickets here.
Friday, September 26th – 8pm @ The Promontory
Sitting in the Park Forever: Bob Abrahamian Memorial Record Hop
w/ Windy City Soul Club and appearances by Reggie Torian (The Impressions), Cliff Curry (The Notations), Doug Shorts (Master Plan, Inc), Keni Rightout (Center Stage), Holle Thee Maxwell
Reggie Torian began his recording group with the Enchanters, entertaining South Side audiences at the High Chaparral on Stony Island, until his fine falsetto earned him a 1972 invitation to replace Curtis Mayfield as the lead singer of the Impressions, a position Torian still holds today.
Cliff Curry formed the Notations in the 1960s, and their classic 1971 single “I’m Still Here” made them one of Chicago’s most beloved sweet harmony acts. The Notations continue to tour the world.
Doug Shorts recorded 1970s private stock soul singles that can now command $1000 each on eBay. He re-launched his career in 2012 with critically acclaimed soul/dance 45s on the Cherries label.
Keni Rightout recorded in the 70s as a member of Center Stage, whose singles were produced by local legend Donny Hathaway, before launching a solo career in the 80s on SalSoul records.
Holle Thee Maxwell proved herself to have one of the most distinct voices in Chicago soul when she recorded for Constellation, Star and Curtom in the mid-60s as Holly Maxwell. Thee Original Black Blonde Bombshell continues to enjoy international success as a blues and Northern Soul artist.