Enjoyed a great talk at the Funk Heritage Center last week when Steve Goodson of the University of West Georgia came to speak about the origins of country music. The story that everyone knows is that in 1927, Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company visited Bristol, Tennessee, placed ads in the local paper for musicians, and recorded those who turned up. This represents the “Big Bang” of commercial country music in the United States, and Bristol is proud to claim that it is the birthplace of country music. But Goodson pointed out that the first commercial country hit, Fiddlin’ John Carson’s “Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane,” was recorded in Atlanta for Okeh Records back in 1923. For various reasons Atlanta was completely eclipsed by Nashville as the country music capital of the United States, but 152 Nassau St., where “Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” was recorded, is still with us – for now! It is currently being threatened with demolition to make way for a Margaritaville restaurant. Apparently Jimmy Buffett is unconcerned, but If you object, feel free to sign the petition.
It was good to see Steve Goodson again, who was last on campus in 2007 as a speaker at that year’s Phi Alpha Theta induction, at which he spoke about the songs of Hank Williams as a window into Southern white working class culture.