Listen, Spartanburg’s music history neither begins nor ends with the day that Animotion came to town. No, Hub City proudly claimed the chair that Elvis sat in until about ten years ago when the steakhouse downtown closed and the owners auctioned it off.
But there’s more than that, too. In fact, Spartanburg has enough musical history to justify their own music trail, which makes for a nice walk through downtown.
Here are some of my favorite notes in Sparkle City’s musical history, but there’s plenty more:
“She Knows How To Stretch It,” Pink Anderson. Anderson is most famous for inspiring half of the name Pink Floyd*, which is a mixed blessing. The notoriety keeps his name alive, but I’d much prefer people remembered him for his tasty Piedmont blues.
“Can’t You See,” Marshall Tucker Band. The biggest band ever to come out of Spartanburg. I’m not exactly in love with their catalog, but this cut kicks ass.
“Black Slacks,” The Sparkletones. One of my favorite live bands in the mid-eighties was The Accelerators, who did a great version of this Sparkleburg classic.
“Feudin’ Banjos,” Don Reno and Arthur Smith. You know it as “Dueling Banjos,” but this is the original and that’s the Piedmont’s own Don Reno picking away with Clinton, South Carolina’s Arthur Smith.
“Remedy,” The Black Crowes. You’re right –the Black Crowes were a Georgia band, but Chris Robinson attended Wofford College in Spartanburg so he gets an honorary nod.
“It’s Tight Like That,” Clara Smith. Here the Queen of the Moaners seems to contradict Pink’s assertion above.
“Sugarfoot Rag,” Hank Garland. Damn that guy could play, and no guitar face! Those old cats were cool, daddy.
So that’s the rundown from my home town. What about yours? I’m listening.
*Can you name the “Floyd” in “Pink Floyd”? One lucky correct-answer-giving-person gets a copy of Keep On Stomping: A Why It Matters Chapbook.