Ludlow Garage 50th Anniversary

August 24th, 2019  |  Published in Summer 2019

Though the Ludlow Garage was only open for eighteen months, it has cast an outsized shadow upon the history of music in Cincinnati.  At a time when underground and what we would now call “DIY” rock clubs were at their height of popularity, the Ludlow Garage could book acts that normally played much larger venues than the relatively small Garage.  The Garage’s prominence allowed founder Jim Tarbell to bring the largest hippie/counterculture acts of 1969-1971 to Cincinnati who would otherwise play Bill Graham’s Fillmore size ballrooms.  Formed initially as a community center, the Garage soon became primarily a music venue; a non-exhaustive list of the performers would include: Santana, The Kinks, The Allman Brothers, Frank Zappa, BB King, James Gang, Mountain, Tony Williams Lifetime, Humble Pie, Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Reportedly, Alice Cooper wrote his frost top forty song, “I’m Eighteen” in the Garage’s dressing room after a show.

Both the Allman Brothers and NRBQ recorded popular live albums entitled Live At The Ludlow Garage.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ludlow Garage, large exterior panels have been commissioned to create a mural of performers from the venue’s history.  These 10′ high flat aluminum figures will be enlarged from prototypes created by seven local artists.  Maquettes of these figures were displayed at Off Ludlow Gallery, and the project is a collaboration between Clifton Town Meeting Arts & Culture Committee and the Ludlow Garage. The artists and the performers they have been chosen to portray are:

James Gang – John Maggard

Iggy Pop      – CF Payne

Albert King – Brandon Hawkins

Ricky Lee Jones – Gabrielle Siekman

BB King   – David Michael Beck

Captain Beefheart – Ellina Chetverikova

Judy Collins – Jenny Ustick

John Maggard’s James Gang depiction is an amazingly skillful 1970’s style illustration with exact lines and perfectly precise depictions of Jim Fox’s drum kit and Joe Walsh’s tilted Marshall Super PA.  David Michael Beck’s BB King is shown in the middle years of his life, playing his signature guitar standing under a spotlight with every crease and fold of his jacket delineated.  In contrast, Ellina Chetverikova’s Captain Beefheart portrait is a moody, reflective head-on take of Don Van Vliet in hat and scarf, with his usual dour expression.

The portrait mural will be dedicated October 5.

Ludlow Garage 324 Ludlow Avenue

Cincinnati Ohio

Off Ludlow Gallery 3408 Ormond Avenue

Cincinnati Ohio

–Will Newman

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