Walls, floors and ceilings show signs of wear or damage. Rossley said the house needs extensive updating inside, though the red brick exterior with a handsome white cornice is in good shape.
When he died four years ago, Ross was hailed by not only the Reader but the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times for his work getting better royaly deals for Black musicians who had signed contracts that underpaid them.
While in college at the University of Wisconsin and law school at the University of Illinois in the 1960s, according to the articles, Ross supported himself in part by booking bands for concerts. When he was a young attorney, known for his music connections, blues musician Muddy Waters asked him for legal help. Ross went on to do legal work for Willie Dixon, Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, Koko Taylor and others.
“Most if not all of these musicians, despite their fame and success, had suffered from more than just the typical predatory business practices of the music industry—many began their careers during the Jim Crow era,” the Reader’s Yana Kunichoff wrote, “and institutional racism made them more vulnerable to exploitation at every turn. Black artists were far less likely to have access to legal education or advice, and because they were disproportionately poor, they could more easily be manipulated into signing bad deals that gave them money up front but sacrificed their copyrights and royalties.”
Ross once told the Tribune, “Most of the work I did involved going after the people who weren’t paying my clients royalties.”
Ross also helped export Chicago’s house music to Britain and other places in the 1980s, and in 1991 he negotiated a lucrative pay-per-view deal for James Brown, according to the obituaries.