In 1969 and 1970, the first Ann Arbor Blues Festivals brought together the greatest-ever selection of blues performers - an ermous blues party that seemed to feature every big name in the world of blues. The Ann Arbor Blues Festival was just that: a festival and celebration of city blues. It helped to mark the discovery of modern blues music (and the musicians who made that music) by a much larger audience. The festival, however, was something more than just a White audience discovering Black music. Never before had such a far-reaching list of performers been assembled including the grandfathers of southern country blues and the hottest electric bands from Chicago. These groundbreaking festivals were the seed that grew into the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, which was continued annually for many years.To name just a few of the dozens of artists who performed at the festival: Luther Allison, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Hound Dog Taylor, Big Mama Thorton, T-Bone Walker, Sippie Wallace, Junior Wells, and Mighty Joe Young, among many others. Stanley Livingston, a professional photographer from Ann Arbor, captured these legendary performances onstage - as well as the goings-on backstage. Livingston's thousands of photographs from these festivals - previously unpublished and kwn only to a few - are among the finest candid blues shots ever taken. Together with editor and archivist Michael Erlewine's text accompaniments, these photographs comprise a visual history and important keepsake for blues aficionados everywhere.
Stanley Livingston is an award-winning photographer living and working in Ann Arbor. Michael Erlewine, also from Ann Arbor, is a renowned archivist of popular culture and founder of the All-Music Guide (allmusic.com) and editor of a number of books on blues and jazz.