Venue notes: Sweetbay Studios, Tallahassee FL
Sweetbay was a recording studio and performance space
located at 1313 Jackson Bluff. It
was opened in 1973 by Burt Norton, who owned a music
equipment shop next door at 1317. Here's a more detailed account, from the
Florida Memory site:
Norton's store was Tallahassee's only music equipment store for a decade.
In 1976,* after acquiring three adjoining stores, he opened Sweet Bay
recording studios. For the next 10 years, Sweet Bay studios recorded
dozens of local rock and country music groups. Among those who cut songs
or albums at Sweet Bay were LaBamba/Flipside, Meisburg and Walters, Bill
Wharton, Drew Reid, BB Jam, Dixie Drive, Rainbow Band, Tallahassee Band,
McKenzie Brothers - and a teenage country singer from nearby Quincy, Billy
Dean, who went on to national fame. In the early 1980s, Norton turned a
portion of the store into a nightclub, which attracted local artists and
occasional national performers, such as former Box Tops singer Alex
Chilton. In 1986, amid growing competition from other music stores,
Norton closed the store and took a job with the state. Norton died in
January 1995 at age 52.
* Kenny Lee Norton, Burt's younger brother, who worked at both Norton Music
and Sweetbay Studios, provides the following correction in 2023: "Sweetbay
Studios was actually opened near the end of 1973." He confirms that his
brother "passed from this earth on 19 January 1995."
Alex Weiss, who promoted the 03 Jun 1985 Hüsker Dü show at
Sweetbay Studios, writes in 2014:
Sandwich Inn was a tiny sub shop (where Mike's Pizza is in the
photo). The owner of
that place also owned a recording studio next door that had two studios.
Studio A was a small traditional recording room. Studio B was set up to
do live recordings. The entrance to Studio B was where the entrance to
the bike shop is in the photo. It was a great sounding room. I did a
quite few shows there that summer and fall. Black Flag was going to
record what eventually became Who's Got The 10 1/2 there.
Unfortunately the owner had to close the studio in the fall of that
year and they ended up recording elsewhere.
That day was incredibly hot. The bank sign down the street was
showing the temperature at 104 degrees around 5pm that afternoon.
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