Tag Archives: Georgia Music

Boggs Music Hall, Hahira

Hezekiah Rugh Boggs (1928-2020), was the ninth of ten children born to Rand and Bessie Boggs of Breathitt County, Kentucky. His musical interests were developed and encouraged at an early age; he entered and won his first contest at the age of 9 and learned guitar while in his 20s. After service in the Korean War, he worked for General Motors Delco Products, playing gigs in nightclubs around Dayton, Ohio, on the side. He moved to Hahira in 1977 and married Karen Wolff Norris in 1980. Karen, an Ohioan by birth, was a classically trained pianist. By all accounts the couple made beautiful music together and loved sharing their musical gifts with the Hahira community; Rugh had a working knowledge of around 3000 songs. Around 2003, Rugh converted the old garage behind his home into a music hall, where he and Karen played three weekends a month.

Cedar Grove Opry Sign, Laurens County

This big red plastic boot served as the sign for the Cedar Grove Opry, a community gathering place located in the old Cedar Grove School. I’m not sure if the opry is still a thing, but the sign is already a landmark.

Boblo Studios, Brunswick

This unassuming commercial storefront, now little more than a shell, was home to the Boblo Records Studio, an obscure label which actually churned out a few recordings in the 1970s. Chet Bennett designed the studio for owner Bobby Smith, and is credited as producer, as well. One of the best known artists to record here was Jimmy “Orion” Ellis. Two of the first records to bear the Boblo Records label were “Mr. Boogie Man” and “Feel Like Being Funky” by Avalanche.

The studio was relatively short-lived, but its mere presence in Brunswick was quite amazing.

Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters at Fort Frederica

I recently had the pleasure of revisiting and photographing the wonderful Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters at the 2020 African-American Festival at Fort Frederica National Monument. Visit this link to learn more about the history of the ring shout and the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters. As I’ve told nearly everyone who will listen, the Shouters are a real treasure and I encourage all to attend one of their performances if they have the opportunity. I’m presenting these photographs as a gallery, without captions, as I think the photographs speak for themselves.

Tom Darby & Jimmie Tarlton’s “Columbus Stockade Blues”

Tom Darby (l) & Jimmie Tarlton. Real Photo Promotional Postcard, 1927. Collection of Brian Brown.

This postcard came into my possession through the estate of a cousin, who was a great niece of Tom Darby. Largely forgotten today, Thomas P. (Tom) Darby [1892-1971] and James J. (Jimmie) Tarlton [1892-1979] were considered not only legendary bluesmen but pioneers of country music as well. They’ve been called the first country musicians to employ the steel guitar. Their most famous work, “Columbus Stockade Blues”, has been covered by artists ranging from Doc Watson and Willie Nelson to Bill Monroe, Jimmie Davis, and Bob Dylan. When they made the recording for Columbia in Atlanta in November 1927 Tom Darby pressed for a flat payment of $150 but Jimmie Tarlton wanted royalties. The song took off and sold over 200,000 copies in a short time and though the duo recorded 63 more songs dating to 1933, hostilities over lost royalties finally drove them apart. They reunited in 1965 for a symphony appearance in Columbus but no further collaborative recordings were made. Tarlton, always considered the standout of the duo, did make solo recordings in the 1960s. Search Amazon for compilations, which are available and provide valuable insight into the birth of American popular music.



The Parish Family’s “Old House”

The Parish Family Music CD Cover Old House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Whether you’re a gospel fan or country music is your preference, you’ll find a perfect combination of those two styles with The Parish Family’s newest CD, Old House. (I was honored that they used one of my photographs on the cover). Longtime country and gospel fans familiar with the band Shenandoah will enjoy Marty Raybon’s guest spot. The Parish Family is based in Bainbridge and consists of brothers Ronnie & Mark, and Ronnie’s wife, Kesha Parish. All three members are accomplished songwriters and perform largely from their own catalog. They’ve had number one hits and continue to receive numerous awards, but when you listen to their work, you’ll know that they’re not in it for that. There’s no doubting that they love what they do.  To me, it’s like hearing the old-time gospel I remember from my childhood with a slightly modern twist.

Swampland Opera House, 1916, Toomsboro


Originally a dry goods store and bank, this structure has been known for years as the Swampland Opera. In 1975, the late Joe Boone, Jr., started the business as a weekend venue for musicians and each Saturday until 2000, a country, gospel & bluegrass music hoedown was held here.