Country music wasn’t always mainstream as it is today. In 1923 the genre stood on the breakout brink, and a major influence in that breakout was a song titled “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane.” The building where that song was recorded is about to be destroyed with the city of Atlanta’s blessing, although there is an effort to save it. Pop icon Jimmy Buffett also has a profit-seeking hand in the destruction.
Wide Open Country reported on plans for a resort and restaurant in the same neck of the urban woods where the CNN center and other corporate sites are located:
“Since 2017, Atlanta residents and country music historians have fought to save the site where, in 1923, Okeh Records’ Ralph Peer recorded Fiddlin’ John Carson‘s “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane.” The recording from a makeshift studio at 152 Nassau Street became the first hit record that we’d now define as country. In the bigger picture of country music history, it proved the commercial possibilities of the developing genre’s better-known “Big Bang“–Peer’s more famous 1927 sessions with Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family in the twin cities of Bristol, Tenn. and Virginia.”
Kasim Reed (D), former mayor of Atlanta who served two terms, was in office when the deal called “a golden ticket” by The Atlanta Journal Constitution was made. Reed has been ensnared in allegations involving scandal and corruption. Construction contracts are a matter of interest for federal authorities.
While private property belongs to the owner, it’s sad that the developers and those interested in preserving history can’t come to some sort of terms over the building.
Fiddlin’ John Carson is a historic figure in roots country, not to be confused with today’s pop country. It would be nice to see some token of acknowledgement regarding his groundbreaking tune and producer Ralph Peer who had an equally important role in country’s breakout into America at large.
Architect Kyle Kessler started a petition in hopes of saving the building. I signed it this morning, in hopes there can be a meeting of the minds beneficial to both the developer and to history lovers. You’d think singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett would be willing to sacrifice a few bucks to protect such an important legacy, since his Margaritaville resorts have already contributed to his incredible financial success. Some of the resorts are franchises.
You can listen to the original recording of Fiddlin’ John Carson’s “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” at the YouTube page titled BBYMRLCCOTN.
(Kay B. Day/Aug. 5, 2019)