The group behind last fall's successful effort to erect a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame historical marker at the former King Records studio is at it again. They're now hoping to memorialize Herzog Studios' contributions to local and national music history.
At a press conference downtown this morning, leaders of the Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation announced plans for a marker at 811 Race St., where in the 1940s and ’50s Herzog Studios hosted recording sessions by Hank Williams, Patti Page, Ernest Tubbs, Flatt and Scruggs and other notable "Country & Western" acts. The first King Records titles were recorded at Herzog before founder Syd Nathan moved the label to Evanston. CityBeat's world headquarters happen to be located on the top floors of 811 Race St.
In fact, 60 years ago Williams recorded one of his biggest hits, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," at Herzog, which was located on the building's second floor. The song put Williams on the top of the charts and led to his invitation to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.
Among the speakers this morning were local musician Elliott Ruther, ex-City Councilman John Cranley and Bootsy and Patti Collins, who are part of the core group that launched the Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation. After years of talk and little action from city leaders, the foundation was able to arrange for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to create and install a historical marker at the former King Records; the marker was installed Nov. 23, and Collins led a celebration of the King legacy that evening at the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. [The New York Times covered that day's events here.]
Ruther announced plans for a benefit concert Aug. 22 at the Southgate House. Musicians will donate their performances of Herzog-recorded songs,
especially Hank Williams tunes, and offer their own originals. Proceeds will go toward funding the historical marker. The lineup is an impressive representation of Greater Cincinnati's Roots music scene, featuring The Hiders, Straw Boss, Magnolia Mountain, The Sally Nixes, The Crick Gypsies, Mack West, Billy Catfish Orchestra, Katie Laur, The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, The Kentucky Struts and Marvin Hawkins. Show details are here.
Sponsors include CityBeat, Shake It Records, Neltner Creative, Guitar
Center and ReinstateHank.Org. Research and song compilations being used by the performing musicians are thanks to Brian Powers of the
Cincinnati-Hamilton County Public Library.