Atlanta music landmark faces demolition
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.