WNKU | Jim Tarbell Remembers Original Ludlow Garage
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10 Dec Jim Tarbell Remembers Original Ludlow Garage


Tarbell: What really made it were the people, the volunteers that just showed up  day after day people walking in the door saying you know this is a cool idea . What can we do to help?


In the late 1960’s a young Jim Tarbell opened the Ludlow Garage . A music venue with big names performing including BB King, Santana, Grand Funk Railroad and the Allman Brothers to name a few.


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Tarbell, now lovingly referred to as Mr. Cincinnati had an instinct about the music scene .Under his direction the Grateful Dead appeared at Hyde Park’s Teen Center in 1968 . Opening of Ludlow Garage seemed like the next step. Tarbell, then 26 years old brought the Edwin Hawkins Singers to Cincinnati  and had them perform at the Cincinnati Zoo to promote the opening of the garage.

Tarbell: Because “Oh Happy Day “ had hit the charts and it was climbing . In fact when they got to Cincinnati, about a month after I booked them it was number one.ludlowgarage5

The attention was on the music, there was no liquor license. After months of preparation Jesse Colin Young and the Youngbloods were scheduled as the first act but the Clifton Town Meeting (Clifton’s political organization) Tarbell says had a distorted image of what the Ludlow Garage might become and put a stop work order on the building.


Tarbell: When “Come on People Smile on Your Brother” was number one on the hit parade just by coincidence, what a great way to open. Well I couldn’t do it because of the stop work order I had to move that concert from the Ludlow Garage to the Emery Theater which is the one under so much discussion right now about its future.


The club finally got off the ground September 1969 and lasted until 1971. Now 40 years later Clifton Native Scott Crawford at the same location has opened a music venue that seats a little more than 260. Tarbell says for some that has rekindled curiosity about the history.


Tarbell: There’s a plaque in front of the garage right now as a tribute to its history recalling significant events in the history of Clifton. Every act that ever performed at the garage is in that plaque.ludlowgarage4