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I wore The Marshall Tucker Band tee shirt until it was so threadbare that Mom forced me to add it to the rag bag containing old washcloths and underwear we used to wash cars and clean house. In 1973, the Allman Brothers Band released, “Rambin’ Man.” We heard it on the radio, too, and my brother looked at me and said, “Hear that line — ‘I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus, rollin’ down Highway 41?’ That’s our Highway 41!” Today, when I hear Dickey Betts sing the line, “My father was a gambler down in Georgia,” I smile and think of my father who was also a Georgia gambler. I have always been able to relate to the lyrics in Southern Rock because the musicians sang about my beloved South — my beloved people.
On another side note, the Allman Brothers hesitated to record “Ramblin’ Man” because they thought it was a bit too “country” for them. I’m glad they changed their mind. Duane and Gregg Allman (namesakes of the band) adopted Macon as their home (because of Capricorn Studio). They are buried there — sideby- side in Rose Hill Cemetery.
And Lynyrd Skynyrd. What Southerner doesn’t love the chorus, “Sweet home Alabama, where the skies are so blue, sweet home Alabama, Lord I’m coming home to you?” I mourned with others in 1977 when I learned that some of their band had perished in a plane crash.
My final side note is that Lynyrd Skynyrd took their name from a Jacksonville High School PE teacher who strictly enforced the school’s policy regulating male hair length. His name was actually, Leonard Skinner. Ha!
Anyway, all those legends were there at Capricorn recording the songs we love. If those walls could talk.
Capricorn’s glory days were short-lived and the label filed for bankruptcy in 1979. The studios changed hands a number of times, and the building fell into major disrepair in the 1990s. It was reborn as Mercer Music at Capricorn in December 2019, and now artists in the studio are “Macon” music again.
They tell me that the ghosts of the luminaries who recorded there in the Seventies roam the building and help them with their projects.
“There’s definitely magic there — I can feel it,” one musician told me.
I believe it. As for Southern Rock, the music is timeless and treasured and will go on forever. Amen.