Lansing is holding its annual Blues Festival this weekend in Old Town, but it likely would not be happening unless the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival had taken place. Long thought to be the seminal event in kicking the blues into the modern era, the Ann Arbor event was recently memorialized in the book, “The Blues in Black and White”, by photographer Stanley Livingstone and music historic Michael Erlewine.
Just a few weeks ago I was talking with Stanley for an article in Lansing City Pulse and for Mittenlit.com. We talked about his remarkable photographs of every major blues musician, but he also invited me to Ann Arbor to look at the photos he tool at the Free John Sinclair Rally which had John Lennon and Yoko Ono in attendance. Those photos have never been seen.
It will now be up to his spouse and daughter to make that happen. Stanley died of a heart attack on Wednesday. It was announced on the U-M Press blog which had published his photos of the blues stars. I would suspect that the book was one of Stanley’s proudest moments. He was an incredible photographer.