Atlanta mu­sic land­mark faces de­mo­li­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY DON SCHANCHE JR.

At the edge of down­town Atlanta’s his­toric core, a non­de­script brick build­ing holds a lit­tle-known 94-year-old tie to mu­sic his­tory — it’s the spot where a song that many deem the first coun­try hit was recorded.

But that phys­i­cal ves­tige of Fid­dlin’ John Car­son may be in jeop­ardy be­cause a de­vel­oper wants to raze it and build a restau­rant linked to a more mod­ern Southern mu­si­cian: Jimmy Buf­fett’s Mar­gar­i­taville.

Now, the city is try­ing to pre­serve the place where a ground­break­ing record­ing en­gi­neer and tal­ent scout cap­tured the sound of a rough-hewn Ge­or­gia moun­tain fiddler on the cusp of sum­mer in 1923.

The briefest of en­coun­ters ties the two-storey of­fice build­ing to a mu­si­cal le­gacy, ac­cord­ing to a bi­og­ra­phy of mu­sic pro­ducer Ralph Peer by au­thor Barry Ma­zor.

In mid-June 1923, Car­son, who came from the moun­tains but lived in Atlanta, played an old min­strel tune called “The Lit­tle Old Log Cabin in the Lane’’ for Peer of Okeh Records, then a ma­jor record­ing label.

To ev­ery­one’s sur­prise, it was a hit — even Peer is said to have called the record­ing “plu-per­fect aw­ful.’’

Then last Au­gust came an an­nounce­ment that Or­lando, Fla.-based Jimmy Buf­fett’s Mar­gar­i­taville planned to de­velop a restau­rant in Atlanta.

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