Follow us: Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Google+ Follow us on Linkedin Follow us on Tumblr Subscribe to our RSS or Atom feed
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


Our Writers

  • Adam Peck
  • Alan Gordon
  • Alex Kearns
  • Alex Seitz-Wald
  • Alice Murray
  • Allison Korn
  • Alyssa Cagle
  • Amanda Marcotte
  • Amanda Peterson Beadle
  • Andrea Grimes
  • Andrea Lee Meyer
  • Andrew Bowen
  • Andy Brack
  • Andy Kopsa
  • Andy Miller
  • Andy Schmookler
  • Ann Marie Pace
  • Ann Woolner & Leonard Ray Teel
  • Anna Dolianitis
  • Anna Forbes and Kate Ryan
  • Annelise Thim
  • Anoni Muss
  • April Adams
  • April Moore
  • Ariel Harris
  • Armando
  • Arthur Blaustein
  • Austen Risolvato
  • Austin McMurria
  • Barry Hollander
  • Bert Roughton III
  • Beth Ostlund
  • Betsey Dahlberg
  • Bill Caton
  • Bill Hamm
  • Bill Mankin
  • Bill Montgomery
  • Bill Moyers & Michael Winship
  • Bill Phillips
  • Bill Semple
  • Bill Tush
  • Billy Howard
  • Bob Bohanan
  • Bob Pritchard
  • Booth Malone
  • Bootsie Lucas
  • Boyd Lewis
  • Brad Clayton
  • Braden Goyette For ProPublica
  • Brandon Collins
  • Brett Martin
  • Brian Randall
  • Brianna Peterson
  • Bruce Dixon
  • Bruce E. Levine
  • Burton Cox
  • Candice Dyer
  • Carl Kline
  • Carol Carter
  • Carson M. Lamb
  • Casey Hayden
  • Cathleen Hulbert
  • Center for American Progress
  • Chantille Cook
  • Charles Finn
  • Charles O. Hendrix Jr.
  • Charles Seabrook
  • Charles Walston
  • Chelsea Toledo
  • Chelsey Willis
  • Chris Bowers
  • Chris Kromm
  • Chris Wohlwend
  • Christopher Burdette
  • Chrys B. Graham
  • Chuck Collins
  • Cliff Green
  • Cody Maxwell
  • Collin Kelley
  • Craig Miller
  • Crissinda Ponder
  • Dallas Lee
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Daniel Flynn
  • Daniel K. Williams
  • Daniel Palmer
  • Danny Fulks
  • Dante Atkins
  • Darby Britto
  • Dave Cooley
  • Dave Johnson
  • Dave Pruett
  • David Bradford
  • David Evans
  • David Harris-Gershon
  • David Jenks
  • David Kyler
  • David Parker
  • David Roberts
  • David Rotenstein
  • David Swanson
  • Dean Baker
  • Deb Barshafsky
  • Debbie Houston
  • Deborah Chasteen
  • Denise Oliver Velez
  • Dennis McCarthy
  • Desiree Evans
  • Dian Cai
  • Diana
  • Diane Rooks
  • Dina Rasor
  • Dindy Yokel
  • Doc
  • Don Lively
  • Don O'Briant
  • Donnie Register
  • Door Guy
  • Doug Couch
  • Doug Cumming
  • Dr. Brian Moench
  • Dr. Dorothy Ann Boyd-Bragg
  • Dr. Nick De Bonis
  • Dr. Ravi Batra
  • E. David Ferriman
  • Earl Fisher
  • Eden Landow
  • Eileen Dight
  • Eleanor Ringel Cater
  • Elizabeth Shugg
  • Ellen Brown
  • Elliott Brack
  • Erin Kotecki Vest
  • Fatima Najiy
  • FishOutofWater
  • Francisco Silva
  • Frank Povah
  • Fred Brown
  • Frederick Palmer
  • Gadi Dechter, Michael Ettlinger
  • Gail Kiracofe
  • Gaius
  • Georgia Logothetis
  • Gib Ennis
  • Gina Williams
  • Gita M. Smith
  • Glenn Carroll
  • Glenn Overman
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Gregory C. Dixon
  • Gryphon Corpus
  • Hamp Skelton
  • Harriet Barr
  • Heather Boushey
  • Henry Dreyer
  • Henry Foresman
  • Hollis B. Ball III
  • Hugh
  • Hyde Post
  • Ian Kim
  • Ian Millhiser
  • Isabel Owen
  • Ivy Brashear
  • J.A. Myerson
  • Jack deJarnette
  • Jack Wilkinson
  • Jacklyn C. Citero
  • Jake Olzen
  • James Hataway
  • James Marc Leas
  • James N. Maples
  • Janet Ward
  • Jasmine Burnett
  • Jason Palmer
  • Jason Parker
  • Jay Thompson
  • Jaz Brisack
  • Jeff Cochran
  • Jeff Davis
  • Jeff Rayno
  • Jeff Spross
  • Jeffry Scott
  • Jennifer Hill
  • Jesse Harwell
  • Jessica Luton
  • Jim Allen
  • Jim Bentley and Jeff Nesmith
  • Jim Clark
  • Jim Cobb
  • Jim Fitzgerald
  • Jim Newell
  • Jim Stovall
  • Jim Walls
  • Jim Warren
  • Jimmy Booth
  • Jing Luo
  • Jingle Davis
  • JL Strickland
  • Joan Donovan
  • Jodi Jacobson
  • Jody Wegmueller
  • Joe Earle
  • Joe Shifalo
  • Joel Groover
  • Joey Ledford
  • John A. Tures
  • John Dembowski
  • John Hickman
  • John Hickman with Sarah Bartlett
  • John Huie
  • John M. Williams
  • John Manasso
  • John Sugg
  • John Tabellione
  • John Yow
  • Jon Sinton
  • Jonathan Grant
  • Jonathan Odell
  • Joni Hunnicutt
  • Jonna Pattillo
  • Joseph B. Atkins
  • Joseph Gatins
  • Josh Dorner
  • Josh Sewell
  • Joy Moses
  • Judith Stough
  • Judy McCarthy
  • Juli Ward
  • Julian Bond
  • Julian Riggs Smith
  • Julianne Wyrick
  • Julie Ajinkya
  • Julie Puckett Fodera
  • Just Plain Will
  • Kaili Joy Gray
  • Kate Greer
  • Kate McNally
  • Katherine A. Edmonds
  • Kathleen Brewin Lewis
  • Kathleen Harbin
  • Kathleen R. Gegan
  • Kathryn Hoffman
  • KC Wildmoon
  • Keith Graham
  • Ken Edelstein
  • Ken Haldin
  • Ken Hawkins
  • Ken Peacock
  • Kevin Austin
  • Kevin Duffy
  • Kip Burke
  • Kirk McAlpin
  • Kirsten Barr
  • Kos Moulitsas
  • Kristie Macrakis
  • Lacey Avery
  • Lamont Cranston
  • Laura Clawson
  • Laura Smith
  • Laurence Lewis
  • Lawrence S. Wittner
  • Lee Leslie
  • Lee Robin
  • Leon Galis
  • Leonce Gaiter
  • Les Eatwell
  • LikeTheDew
  • Linda Hunt Beckman
  • Linda Jordan Tucker
  • Lisa Byerley Gary
  • Lisa Kerr
  • Lois Beckett, Propublica
  • Lorraine Berry
  • Louie Crew Clay
  • Louis Mayeux
  • Lovell Jones, Ph.D.
  • Lucy Emerson Sullivan
  • Lucy Guest
  • Maggie Lee
  • Maisha White
  • Mandy Richburg Rivers
  • Margi Ness
  • Marian Wang, ProPublica
  • Marie Diamond
  • Mark Dohle
  • Mark Johnson
  • Mark Sumner
  • Martha W. Fagan
  • Mary Civille
  • Mary Elizabeth King
  • Mary Kay Andrews
  • Mary Lee
  • Mary Willis Cantrell
  • Matt Blakely
  • Matt Johnson
  • Matt Musick
  • Matt Renner
  • Matthew Wright
  • Maurice Carter
  • Meg Livergood Gerrish
  • Meghan Miller
  • Melanie Rochat
  • Melinda Ennis
  • Michael Bailey
  • Michael Beckel
  • Michael Castengera
  • Michael Ettlinger
  • Michael J. Solender
  • Michael Linden
  • Michael Lux
  • Michael W. Twitty
  • Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro
  • Mike Copeland
  • Mike Cox
  • Mike Handley
  • Mike Lofgren
  • Mike Ludwig
  • Mike Williams
  • Mimi Skelton
  • Moni Basu
  • Monica Smith
  • Murray Browne
  • Myra Blackmon
  • Nancy Melton
  • Nancy Puckett
  • Nancy Robinson
  • Nancy Rogers
  • Neill Herring
  • Nelly McDaid
  • Nikki Gardner
  • Niles Reddick
  • Noel Holston
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Overman & Senn
  • Pamela Sumners
  • Pat Garofalo
  • Pat LaMarche
  • Pat Norman
  • Patrick Andendall
  • Patrick L. Ledford
  • Patsy Dickey
  • Patti Ghezzi
  • Paul Buchheit
  • Paul Krupin
  • Paul Rutledge
  • Paul Thim
  • Pete & Jack
  • Peter Crawford
  • Peter Turnbull
  • Phil Gast
  • Phil Noble
  • Philecta Clarke Staton
  • Philip Graitcer
  • Phyllis Alesia Perry
  • Phyllis Gilbert
  • Piney Woods Pete
  • Polly
  • R S
  • R.L. Miller
  • Rafael Alvarez
  • Randy Conway
  • Randy Schiltz
  • Ray Bearfield
  • Raymond L. Atkins
  • Reagan Walker
  • Rebecca Sive
  • Ric Latarski
  • Richard Eisel
  • Righton C. Willis
  • Rob Chambers
  • Rob Coppock
  • Rob Douthit
  • Robert Allen
  • Robert Dardenne
  • Robert E Hunt Jr
  • Robert Jensen
  • Robert Lamb
  • Robert M. Williams, Jr.
  • Robert Mashburn
  • Robert Weiner & Richard Mann
  • Robin Marty
  • Rodney Adams
  • Roger Gregory
  • Ron Feinberg
  • Ron Taylor
  • Rose Aguilar
  • Rose Weaver
  • Rosemary Griggs
  • Russ Wellen
  • Sam Morton
  • Sao Magnifico
  • Sara Amis
  • Sarah Ayres
  • Sarah Bufkin
  • Saralyn Chesnut
  • Scott Anna
  • Scott Borchert
  • Scott Keyes
  • Scott Wooledge
  • Sean Manion
  • Seth Cline
  • Shane Gilreath
  • Sharon M. Riley
  • Shay Dawkins
  • Sheffield Hale
  • Sheila Barnard Nungesser
  • Sigrid Sanders
  • SoniaTai
  • Sonya Collins
  • Soraya Chemaly
  • Spencer Lawton
  • Stephanie Taylor
  • Stephen Lacey
  • Stephen Wingeier
  • Steve King
  • Steve Krodman
  • Steve Valk
  • Stuart Liss
  • Sue Sturgis
  • Sujigu
  • Susan De Bonis
  • Susan Soper
  • Susan Wilson
  • Suz Korbel
  • Tammy Andrews
  • Tammy Ingram
  • Tanya Somanader
  • Ted Kooser
  • Terri Evans
  • The Barnacle Goose
  • Thomas A. Bledsoe
  • Tiger Liliuokalani
  • Tim Oliver
  • Timothy Freeman
  • Timothy Hurst
  • Tom Baxter
  • Tom Crawford
  • Tom Ferguson
  • Tom Millsop
  • Tom Poland
  • Tom Walker
  • Travis Waldron
  • Travis Waldron & Pat Garofalo
  • Trevor Stone Irvin
  • Tricia Collins
  • Troubadour
  • Valerie Evans
  • Viveca Novak
  • Waldron, Somanader & Garofalo
  • Walter Rhett
  • Wanda Argersinger
  • Wayne Countryman
  • Wayne Johnson
  • We The People
  • Will Cantrell
  • Will Nelson
  • William Cotter
  • William Hedgepeth
  • Yana Kunichoff
  • Yasmin Vafa
  • Zack Beauchamp
  • Zack Ford
  • Zaid Jilani
  • Zaina Budayr




  • Writer Login


    sights & sounds

    Paul McCartney, The Druggist And The Devil On “The Funky Side Of Town”

    by | 0 | Dec 15, 2014

    Miller's_Rexall_DrugsIt’s the second week of January 1999 and the McCartneys are visiting Atlanta. But not for a concert. On this trip, Heather McCartney is unveiling her line of houseware items at the America’s Mart, and Paul is there to guarantee his daughter ample media play. After helping to promote Heather’s rugs, cushions and other items arrayed with designs inspired by the Huichol and Tarahumara tribes of Mexico, Paul and his son, James, make a smooth exit to explore the side streets of Atlanta. According to Paul, James, then 21, wanted to “visit the funky side of town.” So into the car they climbed; it would be a short ride.

    It’s likely the McCartneys had already seen enough of America’s Mart, one of the smothering eyesores designed and built by John Portman for Atlanta’s downtown. Most of Portman’s Atlanta buildings rise, bloviate and squat. On the outside, they turn their backs to the streets. On the inside, they are vast — sometimes creatively utilizing space, but appearing cold and stark. Taking in such monstrosities had the McCartneys looking for an Atlanta not promoted by the Chamber of Commerce. Less than two miles away, they found it.

    James and Paul got out of their car near the corner of Broad Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. When Dr. King was alive, this funky part of town served as the hub of Atlanta’s commercial activity. Its great department store, Rich’s, sprawling over 5.15 acres, dominated the corner, but there were other retailers in the area doing solid business as well. The south side of Atlanta’s downtown continued as a shopping and dining destination for blacks and whites into the early ’80s, although white flight and the “malling” of the suburbs cut into the area’s prosperity. By July ’91, Rich’s closed its iconic downtown store, taking jobs and traffic out of Atlanta’s urban core. Naturally, things would get funky.

    The urban exploring would do the McCartney men good. Linda McCartney died of cancer the previous March, shortly before she and Paul would celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary. Her passing was devastating to Paul and their children but they were striving to keep busy. While in Atlanta, Heather noted, “It’s obviously been a very difficult time for us this past year, but we’re drawing on the energies and moving forward.” For Paul McCartney, moving forward meant creating new music. In less than two months, he would begin work on a new album of ’50s rock and roll songs, with three new songs of his own thrown in for good measure. Since 1989’s Flowers in the Dirt album, McCartney had rebounded from the musical lethargy that so polluted most of his ’80s material. And less than two years before he started work on the ’50s rock and roll album, he released Flaming Pie, a critically acclaimed work that would become his best-selling album in the United States since ’82’s Tug of War. So McCartney would move forward, and as he ambled down Broad Street, he may have been hoping for some inspiration, something that would result in a new song or two.

    0018329_run-devil-run-bath-and-sprinkling-salt_300On the surface, it looked as if there was no inspiration to be found at Broad and MLK. Rich’s was long gone from the vicinity and despite the 5,000 employees working in the Sam Nunn Federal Center at the old Rich’s property, the streets were quiet and forboding. Crack dealers and their customers made Broad Street even more frightful for those going to the dentist’s office near by. Neither were they good company for those headed to the corner liquor store for a bottle of Duggan’s gin. Clearly, the area could use some purging — maybe an exorcism. Braving the nefarious surroundings, Paul McCartney stopped in front of Broad Street’s long-established Miller’s Rexall Drugs and saw something intended to ward off Satan. “I was looking in the shop window and I saw this bottle of bath salts called ‘Run Devil Run,'” McCartney said in a press release. “I thought that was a good title for a song. So I was on holiday after that, I started thinking of words for it and it came quite easily.”

    Paul McCartney “Run Devil Run” Album

    Paul McCartney “Run Devil Run” Album

    McCartney took some snapshots of the store, but preferred photos taken by a professional. He got them, planning to use one for the cover* of the ’50s rock and roll album he would call Run Devil Run, to be released later in the year. Run Devil Run extended McCartney’s hot streak, his rock and roll sensibilities firmly in place. As did John Lennon on his ’75 Rock ‘n’ Roll album, McCartney approached Run Devil Run as a tribute to the 50s rock and roll pioneers who had such a strong influence on his musical life. He wasn’t interested in knocking off an “oldies” collection to fill time until he completed a dozen or so of his own new songs. Neither was he interested in pulling from the same ’50s grab bag and then recording the selections rotelike. On Run Devil Run, McCartney filled the old songs with new passion.

    Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” is embellished with a rollicking Cajun flair — Southwestern Louisiana meets Liverpool, England. The southern region of Louisiana was represented twice more with McCartney’s renditions of two outstanding B-sides by New Orleans natives Larry Williams and Fats Domino. McCartney delivers a fevered “She Said Yeah,” the flip side to Williams’ “Bad Boy” (one of three Williams songs recorded by the Beatles between June ’64 and May ’65). Domino get his props on “Coquette,” a song he covered in ’58, thirty years after Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians made it one of their first hits. McCartney’s take on “Coquette” is delivered with brio, just as Domino did with “Lady Madonna,” one of the more soulful songs McCartney wrote as a Beatle.

    Other highlights on Run Devil Run include a driving take on the Elvis Presley classic, “All Shook Up,” the Ricky Nelson hit, “Lonesome Town,” and two McCartney originals, “Try Not To Cry” and the album’s title song.

    McCartney takes the soulful longing and regret conveyed by Nelson up a notch or two on “Lonesome Town;” whereas Nelson’s approach was pensive and soft, McCartney’s is one of sorrow verging on devastation. McCartney’s vocal on “Lonesome Town” calls to mind his performance on the Beatles’ “Oh Darling.”

    “Try Not To Cry” could very well be McCartney’s best straight ahead rocker of his solo career. Yes, we are reminded, this is the same guy who so commanded “I’m Down” and “Helter Skelter.”

    “Run Devil Run” is an intense number, the sort McCartney belted from the stage years before the term Beatlemania entered the lexicon. Upon a casual listen, the song seems just another rock and roll run-through with snappy chatter that rhymes just so the guys can play fast and hard. But McCartney obviously picked up on something when he looked through the window of Richard Miller’s store with its homeopathic medicines, herbs and talismans. So “Run Devil Run” tells a story of a “holy roller with a mission on her mind.” She spreads the word and screams “to keep her demons away.” The woman’s story may not have differed much from the memories of customers visiting Miller’s Rexall, particularly after it just opened in 1965.

    Well by the middle of the summer they were back at the shack
    Picking cotton for a living keeping on the right track
    Visiting the neighbors trying to spread the good news
    Singing gospel music with a hint of the blues
    All of them determined to deliver the goods
    Man you hear the music coming out of the woods

    McCartney_DisplayWhen Richard Miller’s uncle, Donald Miller, opened his Rexall on Broad Street nearly 50 years ago, integration, with the force of law in the United States, was just kicking in. The Rexall was truly a pharmacy at the time. A decade or two would pass before national retailers departed urban corners such as Broad and MLK (in ’65 it was Broad and Hunter). There was still hope that the changes so many risked their lives for would be widely accepted. That certain vicinities wouldn’t be abandoned. That more and more people would embrace the words of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech as opposed to rejecting them. It made sense to a lot of us, perhaps more starry-eyed than realistic. The soundtrack of those times was provided by Bob Dylan, Otis Redding and the Beatles. In fact, the Beatles played less than two miles away from Miller’s Rexall Drugs in August ’65, at the newly-built Atlanta Stadium. 51 days later Dylan would play in Atlanta’s Municipal Auditorium, also less than 2 miles from Miller’s, as was the Royal Peacock Club on Auburn Avenue, where Otis Redding, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Sam Cooke and others admired by Dylan and the Beatles performed on multiple occasions. It was a time for hope. After all, Cooke sung of how “A Change is Gonna Come.” Picking cotton for a living, as McCartney phrased it — for little more than sustanence and warmth at the shack, was an honest day’s work by those worthy of their hire. It could also be exploitative, part of the long journey from Middle Passage to I Am Somebody. A change couldn’t come soon enough.

    Give My Regards To Broad Street …. But when disappointed over dashed hopes, to insure sustenance and warmth — at the shack or in the subdivision, people deal with the changes, good and bad. Richard Miller has hung in with the changes on Broad Street, where too often he has heard of a neighborhood turnaround in-the-making that eventually fizzles. For the second time in a quarter century, a new football stadium for the hapless Atlanta Falcons is being built in close proximity of Miller’s Rexall. Since nearly a billion dollars of taxpayer dollars will eventually be spent on a billionaire’s stadium, it is proclaimed that jobs and revival will come to the southern edge of downtown Atlanta. Miller isn’t holding his breath on rejuvenation, though. He’s aware of how the wealthy team up with local politicians who claim
    to be looking out for the people but are actually just lining up the next round of campaign contributions.

    The new stadium for billionaire Arthur Blank’s Falcons angers Miller as much as anything he’s seen since his uncle’s store opened in ’65. Miller, a guy who goes to work everyday in a struggling neighborhood, continues to be amazed at how the community is pushed around when a rich man wants his way. He has a lot to say about that:

    “…the new Blank Stadium. First they show us drawings of how and where it will be. They show a continuous MLK Jr. Boulevard and a continuous Mitchell Street (as it is today) connecting us to the stadium. Joining us to the prosperity. Then they take our tax dollars and when they start building, the street disappears. Why? Because the building needed more room. For what? More parking lots that do nothing for revitalization. Oh, by the way, the price of the stadium just went up another $200,000,000.00; whoops.”

    Whoops. We’ve seen this before. Promises made to neighbors when the 1991 Falcons stadium opened. Promises broken. Promises made to merchants, including Miller, along the South Broad Street area when new transit stations were built. Promises broken.

    The bath salts sold by Miller called “Run Devil Run,” just like McCartney’s song, may purge some demons and cleanse the spirit, but in Miller’s neighborhood, aka “the funky side of town,” the Devil, along with his friends, Arthur Blank and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, is still in the details.

     

    ______________

    * Given the litigious society we live in, the cover shot of Run Devil Run was altered so that Miller’s Rexall Drugs became Earl’s Quick E Drugs. But Richard Miller holds no grudge. There’s a Paul McCartney shrine of sorts on a display shelf. Miller just wishes McCartney would come by and check it out the next time he needs some extra potent bath salts.

    ###
    • Images: The photos of Miller's Rexall Drugs were taken by the author, Jeff Cochran; the album cover is a promotional image; and the bottle Run Devil Run bath salts is a promotional image from LuckShop.com.

    Jeff Cochran

    Jeff Cochran

    Jeff Cochran worked in advertising at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 27 years before accepting a buy-out in the Summer of 2008. In the seventies/early eighties, he handled advertising for Peaches Records and Tapes’ Southeastern and Midwestern stores. He also wrote record reviews for The Great Speckled Bird, a ground-breaking underground newspaper based in Atlanta.

     

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

     

  • Worthy of Comment






  • Bruce Springsteen Sings "Robert Mueller's Comin' to Town"



  • Come Back, Barack - SNL



  • Indivisible at One

    Green Day - Back In The USA



  • The Most Honest Three Minutes
    In Television History


  •  
     
     
  • %d bloggers like this: