Chamblee54

Where Is That Place?

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Music by chamblee54 on October 28, 2018

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This blog has an email address listed. It is seldom used. The host is a faded internet company that rhymes with booboo. Once proud email has become a spam magnet. The email address there is checked every once in a great while. Yesterday was one of those times. There was a surprise.

Friday, June 5, 2015, 2:52 PM
Do you know exactly where the Agora Ballroom was in the Georgia Terrace Hotel Also I am trying to locate photos of the following locations – Does you any that we can use? Please let me know ASAP – I am on an extremely tight deadline need photos by Monday morning if possible. Exteriors or interiors are great. Please let me know if you have any.

12th Gate Coffee House (located on 10th street in Midtown,) Club 112 (located at Lavista and Cheshire Bridge,) Lenny’s (either or both of their two locations in the Old Fourth Ward,) Great Southeast Music Hall (either or both of their two locations Lindberg Plaza or Cherokee Plaza,) Echo Lounge (located in East Atlanta,) Hedgens (located in Buckhead,) Agora Ballroom (located in Georgia Terrace hotel,) Muelenbrink’s Salon (located at the Underground.) Joeff Davis Photo Editor Creative Loafing

Thursday, July 9, 2015 11:12 PM
Hey I apologize for the tardy answer. I don’t use this email very often
The Agora was at the end of an alley off Peachtree. It was next door to the Ga Terrace Hotel, though not in the Hotel building itself. The ballroom was in a fire in the early eighties, and was torn down. I don’t have any of the pictures that you needed a month ago.

Friday, July 10, 2015, 11:49 AM
Thanks here is the piece we did: That was then, this is now

Friday, July 10, 2015, 1:21 PM
Hey thanks for getting back to me. The article was cool, even without my contribution. This seems like a good excuse for a blog post. I have a some comments about some of the locations listed. For instance, my mother bought groceries at the Cherokee Plaza A&P every thursday for 37 years.. I would like to use your letters, and link to your article, in my post.

Chamblee54 has had posts about four notable Atlanta performance venues: 688 Spring Street, Georgian Terrace Ballroom, The Great Southeast Music Hall, and Richards. Two were on the list of requests. As for the other two, 688 Spring Street, home of Rose’s Cantina and 688, is now a doc-in-a-box facility, Concentra Urgent Care. The site of Richards, across from Grady stadium on Monroe Drive, is now the meat department at Trader Joe’s.

The CL article, That was then, this is now, is fun to look at. There are some good pictures. There are a couple of mistakes in the piece, which this post will try correct.

The Great Southeast Music Hall is the scene of many cherished memories for those of a certain age. The post linked here has more comments than any other Chamblee54 post. There are two google earth images, one for Broadview Plaza, and one for Cherokee Plaza.

In Broadview, (now known as Lindbergh something or another,) the Music Hall was in the corner of an L shaped building. The space is currently a part of the parking deck for Target. According to google earth, the Home Depot takes up almost the entire parking lot of the old shopping center.

In Cherokee Plaza, the space where the Music Hall was is the south part of a Kroger. CL says it was in the parking lot, which simply is not so. This parking lot is too small, which is one reason the Music Hall failed there. In the nineties, the A&P expanded, and took over the space occupied by the theater. In 1998, A&P closed their Atlanta operations. The stores were taken over by Kroger.

The third google earth image is for the intersection of Peachtree Street and Ponce De Leon Avenue. This is the location of the Georgian Terrace Ballroom. This was the setting of Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom and The Agora Ballroom. This facility was in a fire, and torn down. An annex to the Georgian Terrace Hotel was built. This annex is roughly where the Ballroom was.

One of the places CL mentions was Backstreet. A picture of Lang Interiors, on Peachtree Street at Sixth Street, is included today.This is the building that became Backstreet. This building was a series of nightclubs in the early seventies. Backstreet opened in late 1974. It was the premier chacha palace in Atlanta for many years. When the property became valuable enough to attract the money of developers, the city discovered enough violations to shut down the party. (1974 was somewhat of a golden age for Atlanta nightlife. The Great Southeast Music Hall, Richards, and Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom were all in operation in 1974.)

Club 112 catered to an African American clientele. The space had been many businesses over the years, with a Fred Astaire dance studio next door. Around the time Backstreet was getting started, the space was called the Locker Room. A drag show, featuring the Hollywood Hots, performed there. The Locker Room was a “private club,” and was able to stay open on Sunday night. It was the only place open on Sunday, and was packed. The Locker Room was owned by Robert E. Llewellyn, who was later convicted of having a business rival murdered.

The 12th gate was in the middle of the block, somewhere on tenth street. It was not on the corner of Spring Street. A seedy Jim Wallace gas station was nearby. This place was mostly before PG went out much. There is a hazy memory of seeing the Hampton Grease Band there. After the show, Mr. Hampton walked up to PG, holding a thumb and finger making a circle in front of one eye. Mr. Hampton asked PG what sign he was.

By the time Lenny’s was in business, PG was a retired drunk. He seldom went downtown after dark. Somehow, the party went on without him. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This is a repost.

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I Slept With Joey Ramone

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on October 27, 2018


I Slept with Joey Ramone is the story of a six foot five geek, who was only good for singing gabba gabba hey. Jeffrey Ross Hyman had issues. Aside from his goofy appearance, Jeff had severe OCD. He would injure his foot bad enough to require several hospitalizations. Somehow, Jeff got to play in some bands, going glitter as Jeff Starship. Eventually, Jeff Hyman, John Cummins, Douglas Colvin, and Tommy Erdelyi becam Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy Ramone.

ISWJR was written by Mitchel Lee Hyman, Jeff’s younger brother. His stage name was Mickey Leigh. Mickey was the first roadie for the Ramones, and will always be in his brother’s shadow. The two had an intense relationship. Jeff and Mitch went from being best friends to mortal enemies. This sibling rivalry is a key part of the story. The book, despite the commercial title, is about Mickey as much as Joey. The subtitle is “A punk rock family memoir.”

The co-author is Legs McNeil, who assembled Please Kill Me. ISWJR is told through Mickey’s eyes. It is uncertain what role Mr. McNeil played. Some say that Mickey Leigh could not type a page of text if his life depended on it.

Please Kill Me was an “oral history of punk rock,” meaning they taped a bunch of people talking. Mickey was one of the talkers, and Joey was not happy with what Mickey said. Another voice tells about Dee Dee Ramone falling on the sidewalk outside CBGB. Dee Dee said it was not a good idea to get hit in the head when you were drinking… it might cause brain damage. That is not an exact quote. Dee Dee Ramone did not “just say no.”

The Ramones had their fifteen minutes last for twenty years. They went down to the Bowery, and found this bar called CBGB’s. The owner kept his dog inside, and dog shit was everywhere. The Ramones got a following, a record contract, did tours, recorded albums, became sort of famous, started a movement (other than the bar dog’s bowels,) but never had a hit record. This lack of commercial success was highly annoying.

The first taste of big money was Budweiser using “Blitzkrieg Bop” in a commercial. Mickey played an uncredited part in the song. When the Budweiser money started to roll in, Mickey was struggling to pay the rent. Mickey tried to get some money out of the band, which refused. This caused many years of Joey and Mickey not speaking.

For a while the boys in the band (pun intended, at least for Dee Dee) were pals. Then Joey had a girlfriend, Linda. Johnny stole Linda from Joey. Johnny and Joey hated each other from then on. Johnny was always a bit of an asshole, as was Joey. At some point, Tommy had enough, and was replaced by Marky. He drank his way out of the job, and was replaced by Richie.

In 1983, The Ramones played at the Agora Ballroom in Atlanta. PG was in the audience. By this time, the Ramones had been going on for nine years. They was not the next big thing anymore. Somebody played a tape of cheezy Coney Island music, and the band came on stage. Joey hunched over the microphone, tapped himself on the head with a baseball bat, and the band did “Beat on the brat.” The band went through the motions, playing another show, probably identical to every other Ramones show ever played. Punk rock just was not trendy anymore.

It was an all ages show. If you wanted to drink, you had to go up to the balcony. You were on your own going down the stairs. Downstairs was full of young people, many is costume, having a hot time. The balcony was the same rock and roll drunks that were at every show ever produced.

ISWJR does not have a happy ending. Joey had health problems throughout his life. Being a drunken-coke-freak rock star did not help. He came down with Lymphoma, and was starting to do ok. Then, Joey fell and broke his hip, and they had to adjust his medication. Soon, the cancer was back with a vengeance. Joey and Mickey called a truce to their squabbling before Joey died April 15, 2001. Dee Dee and Johnny quickly followed. The Ramones would have been a great oldies band, if only.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Wonderful Tonight

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on August 25, 2018


Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me is the book for Pattie Boyd. Ms. Boyd has the copyright to herself, with presumed ghostwriter Penny Junor given *with* credit. The former Patricia Anne Boyd has had quite a life.

Ms. Boyd was born at a young age. Her family moved to Kenya, where they had many cool adventures. Her parents split up, her mother remarried, and her stepfather was a horrible man. The Boyds, who by now included several more children, moved back to England. Pattie went to convent school, then went to live in London. She got a job in a beauty salon, when one day someone suggested she try modelling. At times, this story sounds like a movie.

Pattie was working as a model, including some TV commercials. Richard Lester noticed her, and hired her as a school girl in “A Hard Days Night.” George Harrison noticed her, and they were soon an item. Meanwhile, swinging sixties London was in fast forward mode. Pattie Boyd plugged herself into the sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifestyle, and had her share of good times.

George wrote “Something” about his glamorous young bride. His pal Eric Clapton took note, and wrote “Layla.” Eric was in pursuit for many years, writing many beautiful love letters. Finally, as her marriage to George was winding down, Pattie took up with Eric. It was great fun for a while, until Eric’s alcoholism spoiled things. Pattie left Eric, came back, got married to him, and stuck around until Eric got another lady pregnant. (Conor Clapton died tragically in 1991.) The story goes on, and on, until the book was written in 2008. According to wikipedia, Pattie is going strong in 2018. She married Rod Weston, husband number three, in 2015.

Wonderful Tonight is a fun book to read. Penny Junor knows how to tell a story. The life of Pattie Boyd is full of struggle, as well as glamour. Many of the people, including Pattie’s sisters, struggle with addiction. One gets the sense that this, like many autobiographies, puts the subject in the most flattering light possible. There is probably another side to many of these stories. If they can be told as skillfully as this one is, these stories would be worth reading.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. “Winter bathing, Smiths Casino, Miami, Feb. 6, 1921″ W. A. (William A.) Fishbaugh, copyright claimant … No renewal found in Copyright Office.

Coat Of Many Colors

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on August 21, 2018








PG saw a story, and thought about the song, “Coat of many colors”. The b side was by Porter Wagoner, “Coat of many sequins”. COMC is about a woman who is too poor to buy her little girl a coat at the store, so she makes a quilt. The other kids make fun of her, but little Dolly knows that the coat is really made of love.
The song talks about a story in the Bible. PG had heard about the story, but didn’t remember the details. He must have been daydreaming in Sunday School when that story was taught. With the help of google, Genesis 37 appears, as if by magic. Pass the popcorn.

2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age:
and he made him a coat of many colours.
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

Ok, hold on for a minute. Israel had at least two wives. The Biblical definition of marriage must be between a man and two women.
The story gets a bit weird here. Joseph has this dream, where he becomes the boss hog brother. The other brothers decide something needs to be done, that Joseph needs to die. Reuben tries to help Joseph, and has a plan to save him. Joseph is stripped of the coat of many colors, and placed in a pit, with no water. Before Reuben can sneak Joseph out of the pit, a camel caravan comes by. Twenty pieces of silver change hands, and Joseph is sold into slavery. The brothers decide to pull a cover up, and make it look like Joseph was dead. Reuben made another sandwich.

31 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said,
This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him;
Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted;
and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

This feature was originally posted in 2012. The pictures, from The Library of Congress, are 6 years older. Dolly Parton is 6 years younger.







August 16

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on August 16, 2018


This morning brought the sad news about Aretha Franklin. The lady was a national treasure. It is tough to imagine the United States without the Queen of Soul. Rest in Peace.

August 16 has been a busy day for the grim reaper. In 1977, Elvis Presley met his maker August 16, 1977. Other famous people to die on August 16 include Robert Johnson, 1938, Babe Ruth, 1948, Margaret Mitchell, 1949, Bela Lugosi, 1956, and Idi Amin, 2003.

As a partial replacement for Elvis and Aretha, Madonna was born August 16, 1958. Other births on August 16 include T. E. Lawrence, 1988, Charles Bukowski, 1920, Fess Parker, 1924, Eydie Gormé, 1928, and Julie Newmar, 1933

August 16 “is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar.” On August 16, 1858, “U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal forces a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Richards

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Music by chamblee54 on August 1, 2018

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A comment at a recent post mentioned “Jenning’s Rose Room, a classic poor white juke and dance hall … where Trader Joes now sits.” PG had been in that building when it was called Richards. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

There is no telling what the original use of the building at 931 Monroe Drive was. It was across the street from Grady Stadium, and adjacent to Piedmont Park. The railroad tracks that became the beltline ran behind it. The parking lot was primitive, with a marquee sign built at some point. (PG drove by that sign several nights and saw that Lynyrd Skynyrd was playing.)

There was another nightclub building on the hill behind JRR. One night, PG went to see a jazz band there, accompanied by someone who lived in a nearby house. After seeing the band, PG was led to a horse stable behind the bar. The horses were not well maintained … you could see the ribs sticking out. There is a story of a goat getting loose from the stable, and being chased out of the jazz bar during happy hour.

Jennings Rose Room was before PG’s time. There is a story that some men had lunch there, and made a bet. The idea was to hit a golf ball from the JRR parking lot, and putt it into a hole at Piedmont Park. A biscuit was used as a tee. The first shot went across the street, onto the field at the stadium. Eventually, the ball was hit across Tenth Street, onto a green, and into the cup.

At some point, Jennings Rose Room closed. A gay club called Chuck’s Rathskeller was opened in that location. A rock and roll club or two did business there. Then Richards opened.

The first time PG was in the house was after a Johnny Winter concert at the Fox. There were rumors of visiting musicians dropping by Richards to play after their shows. Mr. Winter was only onstage for a couple of minutes after PG got there.

The most memorable trip to Richards was during the summer of 1973. The headliner was Rory Gallagher, who was ok but not spectacular. The opening act was Sopwith Camel, one of the forgotten bands of the seventies. They performed a novelty hit, “Hello Hello”. Someone in the audience liked it, and paid them to do it again. The band wound up doing “Hello Hello” five times, and said that was the most money they made in a long time.

Average White Band was making the rounds that fall, and had a show at Richards. A lot of the audience was black, and they hit the dance floor in unison when “Pick up the Pieces” was played. Fellow Scotsman Alex Harvey was in town, and joined AWB to sing “I heard it through the grapevine”.

Muddy Waters played at Richards one night. The band did most of the playing, with Mr. Waters tossing in a few licks on bottleneck guitar. He might have sang a couple of times.

About this time, Iggy Pop played a few shows at Richards. One night, someone snuck up on him, and gave him a hug. It was Elton John, wearing a gorilla suit.

PG saw three more shows (that he can remember) at Richards. Richie Havens was worth the two dollar admission. Soft Machine played in the winter of 1974. Larry Coryell played a show that summer, with the Mike Greene Band opening. PG got to talk to Mike Greene that night. The National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (who do the Grammy Awards) had a President named C. Michael Greene at one time. PG thinks this is the person he talked to that night.

Two friends of PG went, as their first date, to see Spirit at Richards. They were married a few years later. Towards the end of 1974, Richards was running out of steam. They advertised a New Years Eve show starring B.B. King, and sold high priced tickets. When the crowd showed up for the show, they found the doors locked. Richards had closed.

The next tenant for 931 Monroe Drive was going to be Cabaret After Dark, a gay club. There was a fire the night before the grand opening. The building was never used again. Eventually, a shopping center was built on the site.
UPDATE: Here is an article, from the Great Speckled Bird, about Richards. The 010975 edition of the Bird had an article about Richards closing. This is a repost.

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Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on July 25, 2018


A few weeks ago, PG was at the library. He had a story to take home, before going over to the biography section. There he found Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. At least with fiction, you know you are dealing with a made up story. With biography, you have to use judgment.

It is a familiar story. Joni was born in the frozen north, was a rebellious girl, and got pregnant. She gave up the daughter for adoption, only to be reunited many years later. Joan Anderson gets married to, and divorces, Chuck Mitchell. Joni sings, writes, tunes her guitar funny, becomes a star, gets too weird to be popular, makes and loses money, smokes millions of cigarettes, and becomes an angry old lady. There is a bit more to the story than that. Reckless Daughter fills in a few of the blank spots.

Millions of cigarettes might be an exaggeration. Joni started smoking when she was nine. When she was a star, she was almost as well known for her constant puffing as her pretty songs. When Joni was in a Reagan era slump, she was going through four packs a day. Just for the sake of statistics, lets call it two packs, or forty fags, a day. Multiply forty by 365 and you get 14,600. If she started at 9, and had her aneurysm at 72, that gives you 63 years of nicotine abuse. If you assume that there were forty fags a day for 63 years, that gives you 919,800 smokes. IOW, while seven figures is not out of reach, it is rather unlikely that Joni smoked more than 2,000,000 cancer sticks.

The author of Reckless Daughter, David Yaffe, is a problem. He talks about the mood of America in 1969, four years before he was born. Mr. Yaffe goes to great lengths to show us that he knows about making music. Some readers will be impressed. There are mini-essays on Joni songs from her golden years, the time between “Ladies of the Canyon” and “Hejira.” And gossip, gossip, and more gossip. Joni is well known for her celebrity lovers.

We should make the point that PG enjoyed Reckless Daughter. The inside stories are fun, and pages turn over without too much head scratching. Maybe this is a statement about the career of Joni Mitchell. You enjoy the music for many years, and then complain about the details. Reckless Daughter follows the trajectory of other celebrity biographies. The star is born, takes up a craft, gets a break, becomes successful, goes over the mountaintop into a long decline. With Joni, nothing after “Mingus” was well received. The chanteuse was broker, and angrier, by the minute.

On page 13, Joni hears Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff. This is the piece that makes her want to be a musician. One page 129, we learn the story of A&M studios in Hollywood. At one time, The Carpenters were in studio A, while Carole King was recording “Tapestry” in studio B. Joni was recording “Blue” in studio C, which had a magic piano. One time, Carole King learned of a break in the studio C booking, and ran in. Three hours later, “I feel the earth move” was recorded.

A few years later, Joni was on the Rolling Thunder tour with Bob Dylan. One of the concepts was support for Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, whose story can be found elsewhere. Joni became disillusioned with Mr. Carter. When Joan Baez asked Joni to speak at a benefit concert, Joni said she would say that Mr. Carter was a jive ass N-person, who never would have been champion of the world. Joni later got in SJW trouble for posing in blackface, for the cover to “Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter.”

On page 251, we learn that Bob Dylan does not dance. Other items include “Free man in Paris” being written about David Geffen, and Jackson Browne writing “Fountain of Sorrow” about Joni. Mr. Brown is a not-well-thought-of ex of Joni. As for Mr. Geffen…. Joni stayed at his house for a while, at a time when Mr. Geffen was in, and out, of the closet. Did they make sweet music together?

So this book report comes to an end. Joni is recovering from a brain aneurysm, and will probably not produce anything else. The book is going back to the library, and PG will move on to something else. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

688

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Music by chamblee54 on July 19, 2018

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There was a comment at Chamblee54. “Steve Loehrer – So tell me what you know about Rose’s Cantina. I booked the music there from 1978-80 – Thorogood, Delbert, The Thunderbirds, The Fans, The Razor Boys and on and on. I was the one that did it. And I probably know you.” This blog has previously published features about the Great Southeast Music Hall, Richards, and the Georgian Terrace Ballroom. One more music venue post is not going to hurt anyone, and will be a good excuse to post some more pictures, from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This is a repost.

688 Spring Street is a nondescript building, located down the hill from the Varsity. At one time, a company called Southern Tailors made wine jackets there. It is currently a Concentra Urgent Care Center. In between, it was the site of two rock and roll nightclubs, Roses Cantina and 688. One block over, at 688 West Peachtree, is a Catholic Construction management office.

House manager Rose Lynn Scott is quoted as saying “You know, we really aren’t sure exactly when it all started and ended,” Scott said. “Honest to God, we weren’t paying that close attention.”PG first knew about it around 1977, and really didn’t go very often. There is a running list for this post, and whenever a new band sinks into the mush, it is duly noted. Some band did “Love Gun,” which sounds remarkably similar to “Amphetamine Annie” by Canned Heat.

The punk rock revolution did not completely pass Atlanta by. A band called the Fans said they were making the pop music of the eighties. PG saw them twice and Roses, and they might be the only time he ever paid to get in. They were an impressive outfit, doing Velvet Underground and Telstar. Later, they opened for Talking Heads at the Agora, and were pretty awful. Much, much later, PG shared an apartment with the brother, of the drummer, for the Fans. Also living there was the brothers wife, a cable guy, seven snakes, a ferret, and a cat.

Back to the words of Rose Lynn, “It was a dive bar supreme and proud of it.” The stage was in the middle of the house, with a game room behind the stage. If you liked to shoot pool and listen to bands, this was the place. As for drinking, PG might get a beer or two, but mostly got bombed at other spots.

In those days, PG would go rambling from club to club, often accompanied by his friend Dinkson. One night, they stumbled in on a three piece band. They did a song called “Madison Blues”, with the guitar playing slinging riffs, and the bass playing playing the same notes over and over, never changing the look on his face. This was George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

One other night, PG stumbled in on the last few minutes of a show by the Brains. They wrote a song called “Money Changes Everything” that Cyndi Lauper did well with. This is another great local band that never seemed to get a national audience. Another night, some old black man, possibly John Lee Hooker, was playing guitar.

Around about this time, PG decided to either grow up, or take his childhood seriously. He wound up in Seattle WA. That wore off after a while. On the greyhound bus going home, PG talked to a young lady, who said something about a punk rock club in the Roses Cantina space. This was the 688.

A few weeks later, Iggy Pop did a week at 688. Here, through the miracle of copy paste, is the story. It isn’t plagiarism when you wrote it yourself.

At any rate, by the time PG got back from Seattle, some brave investors decided to have a punk rock club at 688 Spring Street. Soon, Iggy Pop would be playing a week there. In the seventies, the bands would play for five days at the great southeast music hall or the electric ballroom, two shows a night, and if you were really cool you would go on a weeknight before it got too crowded. Soon after that, it was one night in town only, and you either saw it or you didn’t.

PG had a friend at the Martinique apartments on Buford Hiway. There was someone living in the complex known as ZenDen, who sold acid. You would go to his place, wade through the living room full of grown men listening to Suzi Quatro, and purchase the commodity.

On to the the 23 Oglethorpe bus, and downtown to 688 Spring Street. Before anyone knew it, the band was on the stage. A veteran of the Patti Smith Group, named Ivan Kral, was playing bass. Mr. Kral sneezed, and a huge cocaine booger fell across his face. He was not playing when the show ended.
There was a white wall next to the stage, and someone wrote the song list on that wall. That list of songs stayed on the wall as long as 688 was open. “I want to be your dog” was on the list, as well as the number where Iggy pulled his pants off and performed in his underwear. Supposedly, in New York the drawers came off, but the TMI police were off duty that night.

The show was loud and long, and had the feel of an endurance event…either you go or the band does. Finally, the show was over, and PG got on the 23 Oglethorpe bus. You got the northbound bus on West Peachtree Street. You could look down, from Fourth street, and see the Coca Cola sign downtown. Freeway expansion sent that section of West Peachtree to old road hell.

Twenty years after that, PG worked in a building at that corner of Fourth and West Peachtree. If he had known about the future of working for Redo Blue, PG might have jumped under the 23 Oglethorpe bus, instead of getting on it. The Coca Cola sign was long gone by then.

There was band called Human Sexual Response in those days. PG caught their act at 688. They had three vocalists, wearing matching outfits, and sang a lot of lyric happy songs with really cool harmonies. The problem was, PG was not familiar with those oh so witty lyrics, and did not know what it was all about. At least he got out of the house.

Kevin Dunn played guitar for the Fans. (He had an ad for guitar lessons on the bulletin board at Wax and Facts. It said that raising racing turtles was more profitable than playing guitar.) One night at 688, he performed with his band The regiment of women. They opened for someone, possibly the Plastics, who we will get to in a minute. So, this guy plays guitar and sings, and a woman plays a drum machine. No skin pounding drummer, but a lady who twisted the knobs on a machine.

The Plastics were from Japan, and did a killer version of “Last Train to Clarksville”. It was about this time that PG got a job, and decided that he liked sleeping better than hanging out downtown.

One night, about 1983 or so, PG made an exception. The band that night was Modern English. Before the show, PG ate three z burgers from the Zestos on Ponce de Leon. During the show, the singer rubbed his stomach, and said to feel the music. About this time, the z burgers were making their presence known, and PG could feel something, but it wasn’t the music.

The last show PG saw at 688 was Hüsker Dü. The best guess is February 14, 1986. There was a totem pole, made of old TV sets, in the front part of the club in 1986. Here is the story.

Hüsker Dü means “do you remember” in Danish and Norwegian. PG saw them sometime in the eighties. It might have been the metroplex, but it might have been the 688. There is a list of shows they played, and the metroplex is not on there.

PG saw a show at the Metroplex the next night. The band is forgotten. The metroplex was a dark spooky building on Marietta street near the omni. The balcony was very dark, with everything painted black. PG tripped over a bench.

688 was a different story. PG saw a bunch of shows there, both as 688 and Rose’s Cantina. HD may have been the last show PG saw before they closed. PG was well into the work/sleep lifestyle that preoccupied his life after a certain point, and just didn’t make it out much anymore. A friend won tickets to the show or he wouldn’t have made it.

PG didn’t get into the show very much. HD was a trio, with the later-outed Bob Mould as the guitar g-d. For all of his musical skills, Mould is not much for onstage charisma. PG felt that if he had been more familiar with their music, he would have enjoyed it more. Some bands you can see without hearing their records and get into it right away, where others need a bit of familiarity.

Jesus PTSD

Posted in Library of Congress, Music, Religion by chamblee54 on July 18, 2018

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Annabelle is a song by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. It is quite lovely. Annabelle is the daughter, and the one bright spot in a hard life. This life of toil lasts until we “go to Jesus.”

PG has had a tough time with Jesus. Rudeness, disrespect, verbal abuse, and humiliation have been landmarks on the journey. When you don’t agree with the plan for life after death, you wonder if the bad parts of Jesus are worth it. To PG, the negatives overwhelmingly outweigh the positives. Just hearing a passing reference to Jesus can set him to brooding.

This morning, PG wondered if it was always going to be like this. When people talk/sing/act out for Jesus, is it always going to remind him of the pain? The Jesus worshipers have so much fun with their noise, that they scarcely notice the discomfort of others. They usually don’t care. .

Some youtube listeners felt the same way. gotohellgoogle2223 i just wish the words weren’t religious. 001Bigred @gotohellgoogle2223 I don’t find this religious except in the aspect that it tells the TRUTH. You can’t have all things to please you til you go to Jesus. Hope you find Him.

PG has found Jesus, in the words and deeds of his believers. It has been one of the worst experiences PG has known. When you decide that Jesus was killed for being a trouble maker, and his death has nothing to do with what happens to you when you die… it takes away the one justification for all the abuse. Maybe one day there will be no Jesus, and PG will know peace.

This is a repost. Pictures from The Library of Congress.

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Page 99

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on July 1, 2018


PG woke up one Sunday morning, and started to look in his archive. He found a post from July 2009, Genius And Heroin Part One. The G&H book had been mentioned in a couple of blogs, The Page 69 Test and The Page 99 Test. Both of these blogs are still publishing nine years later. The idea is to critique a book by what is on page 69, or page 99.

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell is a book PG adopted from the Chamblee library. A journalist had a series of interviews with Joni, and morphed a book out of it. Maybe a look at pages 69 and 99 will give us some text to go between the pictures.

On page 69, Joni is a young lady, performing in Miami Beach. She has had a baby, left her husband, and is trying to make it as a musician. One night in a club, David Crosby saw her, and saw the future. The two became a couple, which did not last very long. Joni and David went to California, where David introduced her to some buddies in the music business. David produced Joni’s first album, and apparently did not know what he was doing. Both of them moved on.

On page 99, Joni has put out her second album, and is gaining momentum. It is 1969, and America is in turmoil over Vietnam. The author, David Yaffe, goes into some detail about the mood of America in 1969. Mr. Yaffe was born in 1973. Why does he discuss the mood of 1969?.

Pictures, for this Sunday morning space filler, are from The Library of Congress. The Montana photographs were taken by Marion Post Wolcott in August, 1941.

The Kinks

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Music by chamblee54 on June 20, 2018

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Dangerousminds brings the sad news that Pete Quaife, the original bass player for The Kinks , passed away yesterday. He was 66, and had been in dialysis for several years. Maybe it is time for Chamblee54 to do a post about The Kinks. This is a repost.

Battling brothers Ray and Dave Davies are the core of The Kinks. (The name is pronounced like the american Davis, as though the e did not exist). Ray was the vocalist, writer, and rhythm guitar player. Dave was the lead guitarist, and sparring partner for his brother. The fisticuffs were not restricted to the brothers. This led to the band being barred from performing in the United States between 1965 and 1969. The sixties happened anyway.

There were several hits in the early days, most notably “You really got me”. (This later became a signature tune for Van Halen). The band had numerous adventures, but never became the superstars that other British bands of that era did. Ray Davies developed as a songwriter, with many witty tunes, full of social commentary and britishness.(spell check suggestion:brutishness)

In the seventies The Kinks kept trooping on. They did an album called Preservation Act, which became the basis of a theatrical presentation. The next album was called Soap Opera, with a theater like production. This is where PG got to see The Kinks.

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It was sometime in the spring of 1975, at the Atlanta Municipal Auditorium. Elvin Bishop was the opening act. The Kinks had started when PG arrived, buying a $4.00 balcony seat. Alex Cooley was in the box office counting money, and broke open a roll of quarters to make change for a five.

The band was playing “Celluloid Heroes” when PG walked into the auditorium. There was no one on the door checking tickets, so PG walked onto the floor and found an empty seat on the 13th row. The next number was “Lola”.

Ray Davies introduced the song by saying
” If you are a man, sing LO. If you are a woman, sing LA. If you are not sure, clap your hands”. The next number was about demon alcohol. There were lights shining on the crowd during this number, as Ray Davies asked if there were any sinners in the audience. The band did several more songs, ending the first half of the evening with “You really got me”. Dave Davies got some spotlight time with a rave up intro to this number.
The second part of the show was a theatrical presentation of “Soap Opera”. The band wore rainbow colored wigs, and stood at the back of the stage while Ray Davies told the tale. “Soap Opera” was about a rock star who traded places with Norman, who lived a boring life. The flat Norman lived in has pictures of ducks on the wall, which drove Ray/Norman to scream
“I can’t stand those f*****g ducks”. This led into a rocking ditty called, predictably, “Ducks on the Wall”.
As the show dragged on, Ray/Norman was embarrassed by the mess he was in.
“You can’t say that in front of The Kinks, they are my band, and that is my audience.” The audience lights were turned on again, and the band played a medley of hits from 1964.
Finally, the real Norman came back to reclaim his wife, put the ducks back on the wall, and kick out The Kinks. The band gave up on theater before much longer, and were popular for the rest of the concert happy seventies. Ray Davies was the babydaddy for Chrissie Hynde . Eventually, the band quit performing, and continued to cash royalty checks.

Pictures are from the “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Amazing Grace

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on May 25, 2018

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This story was originally posted by Gartalker and chamblee54. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. It is probably fiction.
Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play my bagpipes at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Kentucky back-country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost; and being a typical man I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight.There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, and we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I was opening the door to my car, I heard one of the worker say, “Sweet Mother of Jesus, I never seen nothing like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

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