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Event Summary

Singer/songwriter Sidney Barnes drove the legendary Chicago 1960s psychedelic soul band Rotary Connection and on Sunday, July 21, he will return to Record Row for an afternoon of conversation at Overflow Coffee (1449 S. Michigan Ave). Barnes’ musical life has been an incredible journey, which he details in his memoir, Standing On Solid Ground. He sang doo-wop in the 1950s and ’60s before becoming George Clinton’s friend and writing partner (Barnes co-wrote Funkadelic’s “I’ll Bet You,” “That Was My Girl” and many others).

Moving to Chicago, Barnes fronted Rotary Connection at Chess along with the incredible singer Minnie Riperton and innovative producer Charles Stepney. This group blended new movements in rock with soul, folk and classical experimentation—becoming widely influential in the decades that followed. His voice and songs were featured on most of their albums, especially his socially conscious messages on 1968’s Peace. He kept active after leaving the group, including collaborations with Donny Hathaway, Riperton and Deniece Williams during the 1970s. And his jingle for a local furniture company became a cult hit in the U.K. (“The Embers Song”).

All of Barnes’ songs and adventures are loaded with a sense of humor and eye for the absurd that is uniquely his own.

For this event, Barnes will tell his story onstage alongside author Aaron Cohen and journalist/ singer James Porter. He will also sell and sign copies of Standing On Solid Ground. DJ Debbie Benjamin-Koller of the Heart Of Chicago Soul Club will spin many of his vintage tracks. Come enjoy an afternoon of good conversations and zero proof cocktails and coffee available for purchase at Overflow Coffee Bar. 


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