Since You'll Probably Never Get to Go Inside 508 Park Ave., David Dennard Tours It For You
The makeshift studio in which Robert Johnson, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys and the Light Crust Doughboys, among others, recorded in the mid-1930s
Photos courtesy David Dennard
It would seem 508 Park Avenue's been heavy on my mind of late, even more than usual, what with Robert Johnson's just-passed 100th birthday and First Presby's not-just-yet-sealed-deal purchase and Friday's flashback to the sounds of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys cut at that very same spot two years before Johnson came to town. And then, out of nowhere, unsolicited, I get this email from my old pal David Dennard with the subject heading "Photos from inside 508 Park Ave." Well, all right.
If you're curious about what it looks like inside 508 Park Ave., here are a few snapshots taken several years ago when the Glazers allowed us to enter the building one Saturday for an exclusive tour. I brought an appropriate "period" guitar and bottleneck slide, and William Williams and I sat in the same studio and played RJ songs to feel the vibe. It was palpable ... spooky even. This is the same room Clapton filmed in, BTW.
I had interviewed Smokey Montgomery briefly during my Big D Jamboree research about his recollections of that day, and he remembered running into a lone black man ascending the stairs with a guitar on his way to the studio to meet Don Law as the Doughboys were loading out. Talk about ships in the night! Wow!
More photos follow, including one of that very staircase.
David's one of the few musicians who's been able to play there since those '30s sessions. Eric Clapton got to play there too. John Mellencamp wanted to but was told he couldn't.
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