Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Beginning,Elkin NC, Old Elkin Water Plant

Back in 1971 in Elkin NC there was a man who had a vision. His name was Ab Crater and he was over the Elkin Parks and Recreation. He wanted a place for the young people and teens to go to and have a good time and hang out. He took the old Elkin water plant and made a place called “The Beginning” or the coffeehouse as it was also called. Back in the 1970’s I was playing in a band called “The Caboose.” All of The Caboose members went to Starmount High School and consisted of Robbie Hall, Kim Pardue, Dick Steelman, Chris Shore, Kathy Fleming, Bobbie Jane Moxley, Diane Graham and myself Keith Hall. Most of the people who came to The Beginning went to Elkin High School and we made a lot of friends from that school. The bands would set up on the top floor to perform and the walls in the water plant were painted many different colors with sayings from that era. Slogans of Earth Day which began in 1970, War, Peace Symbols, Chicago, Three Dog Night, Sly and the Family Stone, Lobo, The Beatles were painted on the walls. The Vietnam War was going on and the rock festival Woodstock had taken place in 1969 so the paintings and drawings were centered on the events of that era. The paint used on some of the walls was fluorescent and glowed when placed under a black light. Some of the rooms had blacklight bulbs in them and glowed in the dark especially where the bands would perform. Parents could trust leaving their kids there for a while and later come back to get them. Ab Crater would make sure they were safe. We also lived in a different era back then and a lot of things we worry about today didn’t happen too much back then. There was a small admission charged to get in to help pay for the bands and it was up to each band to take up their own admission. My mom would sit there at the door with a cigar box and take up the money. I believe we performed all of the songs of the drawings on the wall. We would play Joy to the World by Three Dog Night, Dance to the Music by Sly and the Family Stone, some Joe Cocker and Grand Funk Railroad to name a few. About a year ago I was wondering if those old paintings still exist. I contacted Adam McComb of the Elkin Park and Recreation Dept and he said that they were still there. The rest is history. Here are a few of them and I hope you will enjoy. We had some real good times back then with some good friends, time to reminisce.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sacketts Night Club, Radford Va, The Shotgun Band

Back in the mid 1980's I played electric bass in a band called the Shotgun Band. We were based out of North Wilkesboro NC. The members of the band were Bruce Evans, Mike Beeson, Keith Hamlin and my self Keith Hall. One of the many interesting places that we performed at was called Sacketts in Radford Virginia. Its motto was the New River Valley's #1 Hotspot and truly it was. Radford was a college town and Sacketts was the place where many would go to hear some of the area's top bands perform. There was bands like Streetfeet, January Rose, Cimmaron, Blackwater, Southern Cross and of course Shotgun. I have performed a lot in my day and I have never saw so much beer consumed in one place in my life. When the night was over I never saw so many long neck Budweiser's lined around the dance floor one right after the other and in the restrooms there were about 50 or more in each stall on the tanks of the toilets. We would leave from North Carolina and travel our two hour drive to Radford Va and from the first time that we went there they fed the band member's real well. There was a restaurant attached to the night club called the Stationhouse Restaurant serving Mexican Food and

some of the best shrimp and prime rib that I have ever tasted. I had to stop eating the shrimp however because after peeling all of those shrimp and playing the bass the smell got kind of fishy on those strings. We opened one weekend with the national recording artist Ozark Mountain Daredevils. They brought their instruments and sound man and used our sound system. What I can remember was that while Ozark was playing some drunk was trying to give their sound man a beer and he ended up spilling it into our sound board and the sound kept going on and off the rest of the night. The sound system worked good on Saturday night after it had dried up and never gave any more problems. One weekend we left North Carolina for Radford in the Shotgun mobile which was a Charles Chip panel truck converted to carrying our sound system and all of the band and that particular weekend we hit a terrible snowstorm going up Interstate 81. The Shotgun mobile at first didn't have a good heater so with Bruce's ingenuity he used a kerosene heater inside that moving vehicle and I don't know why it didn't catch on fire or turn over but it didn't. You have to know Bruce not only was a lead singer and guitarist he was also a good mechanic. Later he solved the heater problem and hooked up a heater that was used under a school bus seat and we then had plenty of heat. We had a pretty good crowd that night with all of the snow but we were forced to get a room in Christiansburg Va and stayed there to perform again on Saturday night. In between the band's sets they had a DJ and one of the most liked songs at that particular club was Mony Mony, Billy Idol's version. Shotgun decided to learn Mony Mony and perform it at all the other clubs that we performed at. It was a good choice to get the crowd hopping. It seemed that every other band in the Carolina's began to perform Mony Mony and to think it was Shotgun who brought it back to the Carolina's from Sacketts. We got our foot in the door at performing at Sacketts because the owner's fired a band for a New Year's performance and they ask us to come at the last minute and that was our start in Virginia. They didn't mind giving you a fair pay at Sacketts because they had the place full every time the doors were opened. I am writing this hoping some of you can remember Sacketts in Radford Virginia even though it was 27 years ago to me it seems just a few years ago.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Martin's Bake Shop, Jonesville NC, Yadkin County

As a young boy growing up in Jonesville NC in the early 1960's I lived over on Bridge Street and we would walk to Jonesville School which was about half a mile. There were two treats that we would have on our walk and one was the Martin's Bake Shop. They always had fresh Hot N Now doughnuts in the window when we would walk by. Krispy Kreme didn't have any thing on Martin's fresh doughnuts. They were five cents a piece when I was growing up and other's have said they can remember when they were two for five cents. Martin's was a very successful business in Jonesville at that time and even there after. I can remember in later years they made some of the best Fried Pies that I have ever tasted. Every country store around sold Martin's Fried Pies. They did real well evidently in the distribution of the fried pies. I will have to hand it to Thad and Leon Martin they had a good product. There is nothing like it today. Today we have preservatives and corn syrup in every thing we buy. That is where the real taste has disappeared. I wished someone had their old recipes laying around somewhere. Jonesville misses you Martin's Bake Shop.