Athens Rockin Roots Recorded

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Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:25

Music the Way it Was in Athens in the 60's and 70's was revisited in a lively event at the Melting Point on October 7. About 200, some new to the Athens music scene, listened while a panel told some stories about those days. Ron Wetherbee, the volunteer who put the event together for our community, set the stage, followed by a tribute to Athens' musicians who have died by the Voices of Truth Community Choir. CLICK HERE to listen.

You'll hear some gems in the video archive of panelist at Rockin' Roots Revisited. CLICK HERE to listen. Kemp Jones, who has written nearly all his songs at the same address on Prince Avenue, talked about how Athens had and still has all the things a place needed to grow good music.

Donny Whitehead reflected on the 60's as a time of social change and that music "broke the barriers of racial tension." He described the night the Jesters opened for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot.

Brian Burke described the path from real County Music at the Silver Saddle to fame with the Normaltown Flyers and other bands. After opening for Doc Watson at the Georgia Theater "the phone started ringing." You'll have to chuckle when you hear how he got his start--all over someone else's girlfriend.

Talk about getting a start in music, David Blackmon said he started playing violin in the school orchestra in the 4th grade because it got him out of social studies and P.E. His path, described as "tentacles," took him from classical music to bluegrass, then rock. One "tentacle" took him to Tennessee to work with Jerry Reed, another to Athens to play with the Normaltown Flyers, then on to play with many others including Widespread Panic.

Moderator John Straw proclaimed "We've had some great musicians in this town." He talked about the music clubs of the day: Mother's Mustache, The Last Resort, B & L Warehouse, Allen's, The Hedges and more. A bass player with the Acme Blues Band, he also played with other bands as musicians formed in different combinations to grow Athens music scene.

Listen to these stories and more in a four part series. CLICK HERE to enjoy the set from the Normaltown Flyers.

CLICK HERE for the Dodd Ferrelle Band.

Hopefully it brings back good memories of your own music scene when you were coming of age wherever and whenever that was.