Another exciting week has come & gone in West Alabama! Just got the news that Frank Tanton has released a new CD called "BLUES YOU CAN USE". You can get it now @ CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/TanTon
For some samples of Frank's sound, check out his myspace page & listen up! http://www.myspace.com/thebopcats
I've received a lot of phone calls and emails from family & friends who are concerned about my son, Christopher. He's going through the toughest time in his life right now and he's finding out that this old world don't slow down for nobody. He's staying strong, staying busy and he's enjoyed catching lots of fish all winter long. We appreciate your concern and your prayers as our family begins this new chapter.
Christopher's been getting out in this cold & catching BIG yellow cat out of the Black Warrior this winter.This is unbelievable!
Lee found this original Chuck Bryan watercolor painting at a yard sale yesterday. As far as I know there are only two of these on THE FACE OF THE EARTH & I now own both of them!
You can sit on the deck behind our office and see this old church one block to the east. I love hearing the bells on Sunday morning.
This old mansion sits catty cornered from our block. It was one of the first big houses to be built in Tuscaloosa after The Civil War. It was constructed in 1901 so it took a long time for anyone to accumulate wealth after the devastation of 1865. The Maxwells probably made a mint during the construction of Locks #1, #2 and #3 during the 1890s. Today you can see this old house from our office's back yard and it's just been repainted.
We're at 2609 University Boulevard. On this old 1911 postcard, you can see the 27th Avenue sign on the 6th Street corner. That's the next block over from us.
Two blocks away from me. This is the old courthouse with the old 1st Baptist across the street.
ST.JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, MONTGOMERY, where Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, and his family worshiped during their residence in Montgomery. President Davis' pew, No. 115, is the only old pew preserved from the original construction in 1855. http://www.stjohnsmontgomery.org/tour/nbr04.html
Reverend Edgar Gardner Murphy was the minister here from 1898 until 1901. Murphy would go on to pioneer reforms to combat the evils of racial discrimination and child labor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Gardner_Murphy
This postcard is probably from the early 1940s when The Speer Family Singers shared the WSFA microphone with a young Hank Williams. Williams occasionally lost his job at the station for coming in drunk.
My how times change! You damn sho' can't say the following about "DEAR LANIER" in Twenty-Ten.
from the back of the postcard:"Sidney Lanier High School, costing nearly two million dollars, is the Capstone of Montgomery's School System. It is Montgomery's proud distinction to enjoy the lowest rate of illiteracy of any Southern City and the best school system in America."
The Tallassee Falls before the building of Thurlow Dam in 1930. I found this description of the rapids in an Alabama Historical Quarterly Lee found at a yard sale yesterday.
Benjamin Hawkins, December 1796~ "Halfbreed Billy.(ed. note: no one knows why Hawkins wrote this name)
I this day paid a visit to the old men at the town house and partook with them of the black drink. I then visited the falls and lands adjoining the town. The falls are at two and a half miles above town house, the river here is after tumbling over a bed of rock for half a mile, formed into 2 narrow channels, one 30 the other 15 feet. The fall is 30 feet in 50 yards, the first part nearly 20 feet in less than 10, fish are here obstructed in their passage up the river.
The rock is a light gray, very much broken and divided, in square blocks of various sizes, fine for building, the best I think I ever saw."
The scenes of The Giant's Cave in the movie "Big Fish" were filmed on the river rocks about a mile below the falls.Danny Miller
, guitarist for Roswell,Georgia band MEN IN BLUES
,shared a few more of his stories with us.You can hear Danny rocking out on his myspace site www.myspace.com/meninbluesband
image courtesy of www.myspace.com/meninbluesbandMISTY WATERS
by Danny Miller
Between 1960 and 1970, Misty Waters Country Club on Candler Road in Decatur, Georgia
was an important entertainment center for Sixties era teenagers in the Atlanta area. Our
subdivision bordered it, so it was a way of life in our neighborhood. I had many fun filled days and nights there. It was owned and operated by Pop and Johnny Childs, and their family.
The Misty Waters complex offered something for everyone, and consisted of a man-made lake partially surrounded by a white sand beach, an Olympic size swimming pool, a concession area, a skating rink, and a golf course. Family owned, water recreation parks were common in the 1960s. There was Lake Spivey, Joy Lake, Sun Valley Beach, Clifton Springs, Glenwood Springs, Venetian Country Club, etc. I loved to swim, and personally spent time in every one of them. Being a Pisces, I'm naturally attracted to any body of water. In those days, many of us on the East Coast were fascinated with the magical California, Florida, and Hawaii beach/surf lifestyle. Beaches and the ocean were the "in" thing, and the locations around Atlanta offered us a little bit of that paradise right in our own neighborhood. The beach at Misty Waters was a short walk from my house. Hot fun in the summertime. People from all over Atlanta went there, and I made many good friends.
In the daytime, I would swim and sunbathe at the beach and pool, and hang out around the
jukebox and socialize with the many lovely young ladies there. The lake featured a diving
platform with 3 levels. I loved to dive and always dove off the highest one. The pool featured both low and high diving boards. I watched some amazing divers. There were gymnastic bars nearby and the local gymnasts would dazzle us with their feats. The concession area served a drink called the Misty Waters Special. It was Coke, Sprite, Grape, Orange, and Ginger Ale all mixed together in an icy cup. It was delicious. I spent a lot of time at the lake, pool, and concession area, but I never skated or played golf.
On Tuesday and Saturday nights, local rock and roll radio
station WQXI,would sponsor dances in the skating rink. The dances drew large crowds and were
hosted by disc jockeys Pat Hughes, Red Jones, Tony The Tiger Taylor, and/or Paul Drew (The
Baldheaded Beatle). Live music was king in those days and they brought in the very finest bands.
There was a great music scene happening in Atlanta in those days. It was the segregated south
in those days and Misty Waters was white only, but the most popular style of music was always
soul music. Go figure. I saw Ronnie Milsap, Sam The Sham, Joe South, Travis Wammack, Wayne Laquadice and The Kommotions, The Tikis, Billy and The King Bees, The Bushmen, The Roemans, The Englishmen, The James Gang, The Apollos,
and others, as well as the greatest band I have
ever seen in my life, still to this day-The Candymen
. The natural acoustics of that skating rink produced a fabulous musical sound. It was one of the best rooms I ever played in. It was
especially good for guitar players. It didn't matter what kind of guitar or amplifier you were using, everyone sounded basically the same, but it was a very desirable sound. You wished you could sound that good everywhere. Unlike many venues where the acoustics work against the
performers, the sound of Misty Waters enhanced and improved the overall sound of the music. It was a rectangle with a low ceiling and the stage was set back into the wall. It was a perfect
situation-great bands in a near perfect venue. My period of attendance there was 1964-69, and
I played there in 1967-.68. It was a learning experience as well as the scene of a lot of good
times. In 1967, my band opened the show there for British Invasion stars Peter & Gordon
. That was exciting. It was a learning environment for guitar players, and I soaked up the music played there like a sponge.
There was no alcohol or drugs, and I never had any hassles with anyone.
For an aspiring teenage guitarist with raging hormones, who loved days at the beach and loud, live music at night, Misty Waters was THE PLACE
.I could do all the things I loved in one location near my home. It was a special time, at a special place, with special people.January 5, 2001THE HUT by Danny Miller
It has been 30 years since I last visited The Hut. It no longer exists, so I feel
compelled to write a tribute, while I can still remember, to a place that provided us a
lot of good times many years ago. It is commonly believed, by our circle of friends, that
we were the luckiest teenagers in the Atlanta area in the 1960s. I tend to agree. It was
a special time with special people. Music was the center of attention in those days, and
everyone was tuned in. Our side of town was particularly musical and we had Misty
Waters, Glenwood Springs, Clifton Springs, Lake Spivey, and the infamous Hut.
The Hut existed from 1966-71 and was located in the woods, by a lake, on private property owned by Barry Gladden's Grandmother on Panthersville Road in south DeKalb county. It was
basically a humble 3 room shed, next to an open pavilion with a fireplace out in the
woods. Some might refer to it as a clubhouse, sanctuary, escape, or retreat, but we just
called it The Hut. The perfect location for the 18-23 year old college crowd at night. I
don't think we realized how lucky we were at the time. Barry Gladden was our host. That
funky little shed in the woods provided many good times for many people. It was quite
secluded and was our version of "Animal House". It was a lovable place and an example
of getting the most from the least. It was an informal, unofficial fraternity of old
friends, male and female, from DeKalb County, and entrance was by invitation only. I
don't remember anyone being turned away, and many lifetime friendships and more than
a few romances began there. Companionship was never hard to find in those days. The
Hut was Party Central. There was no initiation ritual or dues to pay. Just come and enjoy
yourself, and remember-"Whatever happens at the Hut, stays at the Hut." We were big
on privacy and discretion. Everyone who went there loved it. Our theme song was "Let
It All Hang Out."
While other local teenagers had to rent a party place, we had one for
free. If I didn't have a gig or a date on a Friday or Saturday night, I would organize a
psychedelic jam with my musician friends, and we would set up under the pavilion and
play until we got tired. Some great music was made there. Parties were frequent, often
both nights every weekend. We would usually decide on Friday morning if we were going
to have a party that night and begin spreading the word. It never took long. People would
start arriving after sundown, and it was common to have a hundred people or more. It
was loose and free and was a BYOB situation. If someone overindulged, they could
spend the night. There was never any trouble. The police never came. Everything was
cool. The Hut wasn't always about partying. Often, I would stop by during the week to
just hang out and talk or watch television. Our favorite shows were "Laugh In," "Gomer
Pyle," and "I Spy."
One thing I really miss about the 1960s is the long, deep
conversations we used to have about the events of the day. We would sit around for
hours and talk and solve all the world's problems. It was back in the day when we were
college students and knew everything. It was intellectual and fun. I'm glad that we had
The Hut and it's memories exist forever for those of us who were there.
July 19, 1986A MOST UNUSUAL MUSICIAN
by Danny Miller
I have met countless musicians in my lifetime, but the most unusual of them all was
harmonica player I met in a club on Ponce De Leon in Atlanta in 1982. A guy came up to the
bandstand and asked me if his friend could sit in and play harmonica with us. I told him it was fine and his friend stepped onstage with us. We began playing a blues tune and I signaled him to take a solo. I was unprepared for what I saw. He was a good player and it was a great solo. However, he played the harmonica with his throat instead of his mouth. He had a small tube sticking out of his throat from a tracheotomy operation years ago. It's how he breathed. He simply placed the harmonica over the tube in his throat and played flawlessly. I was amazed. His name was Richard and he was great. I have never seen him again.
by Danny Miller
We were playing a dance one night and the air conditioning in the place went out and it
soon became pretty hot in the room. The people didn't seem to notice or care. They just kept on
dancing and having a good time. It's a party, and a little sweat never hurt anyone. There was one
gentleman, wearing a cheap toupee, who was dancing enthusiastically and sweating heavily. He
was pretty drunk but he was having a ball. Obviously, he didn't have his toupee securely attached, and as his scalp sweated, the toupee began to slowly slide backwards on his head. The more he sweated, the more it scooted. Soon it was dangling from the back of his head and he never noticed. People were pointing and laughing. Finally, his drunk wife noticed it and told him about it. He reached to fix it and it fell onto the dance floor. By then, everyone had noticed. He scooped it up and ran outside with his wife staggering behind him. W edidn't see them anymore that night.
REDNECK HONKY TONK BATHROOMS
by Danny Miller
I have played many redneck honky tonks in my sophisticated musical career, and have
noticed that those kind of places usually have the funkiest bathrooms anywhere. They are often
filthy, smelly, and in poor repair with plumbing leaks and overflowing fixtures. I guess it gives it
a certain earthy ambiance. Club owners never seem concerned about them. They will spend
money on everything but their restrooms. I have only been in the men's bathrooms and I hope the women's are better. I played one club where they laid 2 X 4 boards across the always flooded
floor. You had to balance yourself on these makeshift, urine soaked "bridges" to get to the urinal
which was a large communal trough. If you slipped off, as many did, you would get your feet wet.
The danger with communal troughs in crowded restrooms is when men drink a lot of beer, they
often have "the splits." As they are standing there doing their business among other men, half
their stream goes into the trough and the other half on the man beside you. It has happened to
me. There were no doors on the stalls. When you sat down to do your business, everyone could
see you. There was no privacy. I guess that adds to the "we are family" atmosphere. Drunks love
to throw up in the restroom. I walked in one night and saw a man sitting passed out on a toilet
with his head down and his elbows on his knees. Someone threw up on the back of his neck, and
he was so drunk he didn't even notice It. Another time, I was standing at a urinal and an old man
next to me started throwing up in the urinal. The threw up his false teeth and they clanked around in the yellow water. He retrieved them, rinsed them off by flushing the urinal, popped them back into his mouth and smiled at everyone. You just can't buy entertainment like that.
May 4, 1988MAMA SAID TO GET HER A T-SHIRT
by Danny Miller
In addition to featuring live music, many night clubs also feature wet t-shirt contests
to attract business on slow nights. It certainly works and attracts many unique individuals. Often, we band members are commissioned to judge the contest. All we ever wanted to do was play and sing for the folks, but I always comply with their wishes and give them more than they are paying me for. It's just one of the many services that we working musicians offer to the club owners of the world, and it's fun. Anything to keep them happy. It always makes me feel like a game showhost. For those of you out there who have lived sheltered life and have never seen a wet t-shirt contest in person, here is the sequence of events.
The willing female participants sign up when they arrive at the club. When the big moment arrives, they are given a wet, tight fitting t-shirt to wear for the contest. Then, they go into the ladies room and remove their blouses and bras and put on the wet t-shirts. Then they stand in front of the stage for all of the patrons to see. It gets pretty intense as the girls begin to line up. One by one, as I call their name form the sign up list, they step forward and strut and shake their boobs for the crowd. It drives the men wild. The winner is chosen based on audience applause. It is applause only, and no yelling or screaming is
permitted. The winner is the girl who gets the most applause and the prize is usually $100 or
more. Not bad money for a little booby shaking. The contestants come in all sizes, shapes, ages,
and levels of intoxication. Some are quite lovely and some are not. In fact, some are downright
ugly as well as very drunk, but they are the most fun because they try harder. It's a hoot.
Once, we were playing at this funky club that had a wet t-shirt contest every Thursday night. It drew a large crowd, and I believe every fat girl in the county came there to participate. Sometimes there were some real "dolls," but usually it was "pork city." Lot's of overweight females. One night 3 fat sisters and their fat mama came in. The sisters, all seasoned wet t-shirt veterans, were there to participate in the contest. Mama was there to observe and to offer moral support to her girls, and possibly enter the contest herself. It all depended upon how much alcohol she consumed. Midnight arrived and it was finally time for the contest to begin. Wet t-shirts were handed out from a bucket of water, and the eager contestants ran into the ladies room to change into them. The excitement was building in the place. There was electricity in the air. The sisters had their shirts but Mama hadn't made up her mind yet. She followed her girls into the bathroom to make her final decision. As 2 of the sisters walked out of the bathroom toward the stage, the remaining one stuck her head out the door and yelled, "Mama said to get her a t-shlrt." Hallelujah, Mama had made up her mind. They quickly obliged, and soon all the fabulous contestants were lined up in front of the bandstand for everyone to admire. The thin, wet shirts under the stage lights displayed all of their virtues. I was standing on the stage behind them. I felt like the quarterback behind the offensive line of the Chicago Bears. There were some large ladies in front of me. One by one, they stepped forward, strutted their stuff and shook their boobs for the wildly cheeringcrowd. They really put on a show. Mama and her girls were pitiful but enthusiastic. One of the sisters turned around to me, pulled up her t-shirt exposing her massive breasts for my approval, and smiled at me with a mouth full of rotten teeth. It was a Kodak moment. I guess she was trying to win my vote. It didn't work because I'm a judge of integrity, and anyway, stretch marks really don't tum me on. I don't remember who won the contest, but it wasn't Mama or her daughters.
They were disappointed but said that they would be back next week to try again. I think Mama
liked all the attention. They were good sports and a reminder that the family that plays together
stays together. I think I'll add game show host to my resume.