Before VCRs, the internet or even cable TV, people actually listened to the radio for music and went out for entertainment, in this case live music.
There are famous music clubs like the Fillmore East and CBGB’s in NY, The Fox in Atlanta and the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in LA, but Blowing Rock had a club that drew names that any of those OTHER clubs would have gladly had on the stage…
When you mention PB Scott’s to folks in the High Country of North Carolina, the reaction is either, oh my gosh what great times or…what are you talking about?
It wasn’t just the titans of industry, political power brokers or movie stars that flocked to Blowing Rock, a star-studded lineup of musicians passed through PB Scott’s Music Hall…all year long.
The venue was a modular geodesic dome, built in the 1970’s with a state of the art Bose sound system and a capacity of 700 people. And because they would book acts Monday through Thursday it became the perfect mid-week “gas money gig” for big time musicians travelling from DC to Atlanta.
Do the names BB King, REM, Hank Williams, Jr., Gregg Allman, David Allen Coe, Juice Newton, Rita Coolidge, J.J. Cale, Delbert McClinton, Harry Chapin, Tammi Wynette, Ricky Skaggs or Muddy Waters ring a bell? The list goes on.
Former manager Randy Kelly had many highlights during the brief life of PB Scott’s. One was getting to hold “Lucille.” No she wasn’t a performer, not technically, she was BB King’s guitar. He had a new one shipped to him every six months and it just so happened that he received a new Lucille while in Blowing Rock to perform at PB Scott’s.
Another memorable event was putting up a Volkswagen Beetle as collateral pay the $1,500 to book Bonnie Raitt!
Kelly mentioned that a crowd favorite was Papa John Creach. He played there during the last years of his life and seemed to come alive when the spotlight hit him, like he had an on and off switch.
The performer who surprised Kelly the most was Hank Williams, Jr. “Bocephus” took over every instrument in his band during one song of his concert and played each one equally well.
Plenty of performers were known to have a few adult beverages before, during or after the show, but Kelly said that stars like David Allan Coe, who played through the pain, could fall off the stage and still keep in time with the band.
Harry Chapin actually stopped a show at PB Scott’s when people began talking too much to say, “Hey, you paid good money to get in here, please let the people who want to hear the music hear it if they want to!” Chapin then resumed his set.
Regional favorites included the Spongetones, Cruise-o-matic, Super Grit Cowboy Band, and Sidewinder.
Despite its success in booking national acts, various noise ordinance violations, money troubles and a new law that required establishments to serve more food than alcohol doomed PB Scott’s. The club that the beat the odds closed in 1983…but the passion remains. Over 200 folks have gathered every year for the PB Scott’s reunion in Blowing Rock to share stories and relive the good times of a music club that brought the best and brightest to the High Country of North Carolina.
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