The Great Southeast Music Hall - Good music, Beer by the Bucket and some great musical acts before they were so famous.
I have written before about the wild days in the 1970's, but not all the memories area about a life on the wild side. Atlanta in the 1970's was still a relatively small city by national standards. It was also a time when we had many small music venues where musicians and comedians came to practice their trade.
I was fortunate to see many future stars in a small setting where we sat on the floor and watch some "some soon to be greats". The venue was the Great Southeast Music Hall.
GSEMH was in the corner of the Broadview plaza.(1969-1976) It was a relatively small place with a stage in the front. My memory is fuzzy but others remember it as a rectangular room that held somewhere around 500 people, which is quite small compared to today's
concert halls. That seems extremely large to me now but I guess at the time crowds did not bother me as they do now. There were few chairs or seats, you sat on the floor and they served big Pretzels and Beer by the bucket. There also were no floor staff; you had to go to the back concession to get you buckets of beer and food.
Like any good business, it needed to grow to survive and eventually moved on to a larger place where they could seat a larger crowd. Many lamented that move but any good memory is based partly in the fact that "IT WAS JUST NOT THE SAME". One of the lessons of life is that all things change and we must adapt, adjust and overcome.
I was able to see many acts there and the list would be too long to list here but here are a few in alphabetical order. GSEMH was only at the Broadview location for six years before it moved on to a larger venue. It is closed now but I suspect that Atlanta still has a few places where you can see acts. It still surprises me when you can look up almost anything on the WEB and find pictures and reference articles.
They had a reunion in 2010 for patrons of the GSEMH. I did not attend but have been told that everyone had a great time telling stories of old..
The tickets were simple, just a stamp showing who was playing and the day and time of the show
The owner just recently passed away. He was one of the original music promoters in the Atlanta area and brought many of the entertainers listed above and below to the Music Hall before they became big stars. In the early nineties, Jack owned The Old Post Office, a popular live music venue on Hilton Head Island that often featured the early years of Hootie and the Blowfish, and Widespread Panic, to name a few. His name was Jackson Williams Tarver. 12/8/2021 CORRECTION, SEE COMMENTS BELOW FOR INFORMATION ON OWNERS ETC. BY SHARON POWELL
Here are some advertising clips from those days and a partial list of some of the performers before they hit it big.
1. B.B. King
2. Billy Joel
3. Buffy Sainte-Marie
4. David Allan Coe
5. Doc & Merle Watson
6. Don McLean
7. Doug Kershaw
8. Emmylou Harris
9. Harry Chapin
10. Jerry Jeff Walker
11. Jim Croce
12. Jimmy Buffett
13. John Hartford
14. John Stewart
15. Linda Rondstadt
16. Martin Mull
17. Muddy Waters
18. Neil Sedaka
19. Ronnie Milsap
20. Steve Goodman
21. Steve Martin
22. Ron Kimball
There is an old saying: "THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM THE PAST ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT".
Well, if that were true, I could be back at the Great Southeast Music Hall drinking beer form a bucket and watching some new comer musicians who may be destined for fame and fortune. Alas, it is not to be.
I was not surprised to see that GSEMH even has a Facebook presence where we can digitally gather once again and brag about seeing this or that performer there. It reminds me of Hank Aaron's 714 home run game. The stadium was full with over a "million people"
to see that record-breaking homerun. GSEMH could go down in history right up there with the Hank's 714 day except thousands gathered in that little 500 seat capacity room to drink beer from a bucket and see some great acts.
My favorite local bar now (Jack's)is 45 miles north of Atlanta. It has singers on the patio to from time to time. I have given up alcohol but I often go to see my "barroom buddies" and drink my "Cranberry Juice-Sans". It is still a great attraction where we can gather to win the war again, tell stories of old and see some cheap entertainment. I am amazed that they allow some of us old farts still gather there, but the fact is that the owner is about 60 year old and knows that the old guys will be there through thick and thin.
Most of the young bartenders and waitress are in their early twenties and it is fun to watch them look at us old guys with amusement. They have nicknames for most of us (Mayor of Braselton) and do not believe it when I tell them "Someday when you get old you will look back on this time and say the same things we say now. Enjoy it while you can."
They even have a bus to take you home if you get carried away. The bus is also used to carry patrons to various concerts in Atlanta now. I have not taken advantage of it but I am told that the trip back is very interesting, but I don't believe it any more than most readers don't believe my old stories of the wild 70's.
One of my current drinking buddies who has not seen the light yet told me his wife complained about him going to Jack's to show his ass. Well of course I could not let that opportunity pass without making a statement. This is "TT" after I presented the trophy to him.
The bartender called me at home one afternoon and told me that old "TT" had gotten too deep into the Patron and needed a ride. I put on my chauffeur's hat and made up a sign. When I got him home his wife asked what was wrong, I said he was overserved and I had a good long talk with the bartender about that.
I never knew that you could have such a good time without alcohol. I guess there were a few non-drinkers back in my drinking days but I hope to hell they don't have any pictures to tell the story.
I SEE THEY SAVED MY SPOT. SEE YOU LATER!
All pictures except the Jack Pictures are from the Facebook page: I remember the Great Southeast Music Hall