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Funk, R & B, & Soul in the Twin Cities: Venues

A guide to MNHS resources on Twin Cities R & B, funk, and soul from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

About Venues

During this period, it was difficult for African American bands to get gigs at clubs catering to whites.  The underlying segregation during these decades played a large role in the creation of a gigging circuit that revolved around a small number of clubs open to African American musicians.  The following resources found in the MNHS collections document these venues and the musical creativity coming out of these spaces.


A large number of periodicals during this period discuss the issues mentioned above. They also reveal what clubs were popular over the years and where certain bands were gigging and when. A list of periodicals can be found below:

The Insider
1971-June 1978, December 1, 1978-May 1979
A magazine that discusses music news, arts, and lifestyles, documents discussions of clubs open to Twin Cities African Americans, along with radio stations and popular musicians and groups from this scene.  Notable issues include:

"Minority Musicians", Dec. 1978

"Valdons: motown comes to milltown", April 1972

"Maurice McKinnes", November 1972

"Boozing with the Bumblebees", December 1971

MNHS call number: ML1.C62 (1971-June 1974); microfilm 316 (1974-1978); microfilm 1405 (1978-79)

Minneapolis Spokesman
August 10, 1934-December 28, 1995
MNHS call number: available on microfilm
Minnesota Music Directory
A periodical listing clubs, musicians for hire, bands, agencies, producers & engineers, radio stations, record companies, and recording studios.
MNHS call number: ML200.7 M6 M55

Sweet Potato
MNHS call number: microfilm 674

City Pages
MNHS call number: available on microfilm
Minnesota Black Newspaper Index, compiled by Brendan Henehan. 
Partial index to names and topics found in Minnesota African-American newspapers.

First Avenue & 7th St. Entry

First Avenue & 7th Street Entry
This collection documents First Avenue's (otherwise known as the Depot and Uncle Sam's) history since it's inception in 1977.  The band files provide a chronological record of performances at the popular music club during its first 23 years.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid


The Charles Chamblis Photograph Collection
This collection documents many of the music venues from this period.  You can search for photos of clubs from this collection on our photo database Collections Online using club names as search terms (such as "Foxtrot," "the Flame," "Riverview," "Cozy Club," "Taste Show Lounge," and "Kings Solomon's Mines")

Musicians' Links

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Currently open by appointment only.