Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where the Legends Sang

Category: News

"We did it, Cincinnati!" R&B and funk superstar Bootsy Collins proclaimed. "We did it! We did it!!"

What was the bass player of P-Funk so excited about? The erection of a plaque about a hillbilly.

A crowd stood outside 811 Race Street in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday (11/22) afternoon as a plaque commemorating the location of Herzog Studios, the legendary studios that saw recordings by Flatt & Scruggs, the Delmore Brothers, Homer & Jethro, Cowboy Copas, Patti Page, Rex Allen, and many others, was unveiled.

The Herzog Studios marker

The other side of the marker salutes one recording star in particular: Hank Williams. Hank's "Lovesick Blues" was recorded at Herzog Studios in December 1948, and eight other sides were recorded in August 1949. With the tunes recorded at Herzog, Williams became an established superstar in country music.

The marker discussing Hank
Williams' recordings at Herzog

Among the distinguished guest were Zella Nathan, widow of King Records founder Syd Nathan, Debby Delmore, daughter of Alton Delmore of the Delmore Brothers, Cincinnati music ambassador and native Bootsy Collins, and Bucky Herzog's son Buck, who read the side of the plaque about his father's studio to the crowd.

Following the unveiling a reception was held on the second floor, which housed the Herzog Studios for a decade. Photos and stories of the acts who recorded at Herzog adorned the walls and a band played several songs that were cut there. Cincinnati Public Library music librarian and King Records historian Brian Powers put tape on the floors, working from a diagram provided by a studio musician who had worked there, to indicate where the control booth, storage room, and other elements of the original studio had been.

Congratulations to Brian Powers, who lobbied long and hard to have the Herzog Studios officially recognized as an historical site by the city of Cincinnati. Congratulations, too, to the "Queen City" for celebrating its rich musical heritage.

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