Atlanta Folk Music Club, 1102 West Peachtree St. NW  
 
tarted in 1965 as an Italian restaurant by Bill Remington and Tom Hayward, The Bistro soon discovered that the “folk singers” drew considerably more customers than the food.

“We yanked anyone in (off the streets) that could play more than three chords on a guitar” Hayward remembers. “Then we discovered gold by booking Ray Whitley” (a local songwriter who had composed “Run, Run, Look And See” for Brian Hyland, then four or five smash hits for the Tams including: “I’ve Been Hurt”, “You Lied To Your Daddy” and “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy”.)

After buying out Bill Remington in 1967, Hayward set about making the sound system “state of the art” for that era. Entertainers loved the room because it was run like a theater with excessive talking being discouraged.

In 1968, the Bistro participated in local television Channel 11 changing their call letters to WQXI-TV by presenting a “live” 3-1/2 hour music and comedy special entitled: “Atlanta Swings-68’. The Bistro supplied several local musical artists plus TV star Pat Paulsen from the “Smothers Brothers Show”.

That same year an Augusta Georgia Bistro was franchised to Jim Duffy and Dave Partain. Using the circuit performers already being booked by Hayward into The Raven Gallery in Detroit, The Flick in Miami and The Red Horse Inn in Louisiana.

By the middle of 1969, one of the Bistro’s close friends, Bill “Oliver” Swofford had a #1 hit with “Good Morning Starshine” a song from “Hair” by Rado, Ragne and McDerrmott. Out of kindness and personal friendship, Bill asked to appear at the Bistro for a full week and created lines of more than a hundred people around the block. “It was the first time we ever had to suggest that people leave so others could get in to see the next show.”

Over the next five years the Bistro was extremely fortunate to start many musicians on their way to stardom and host already famous artists looking for attentive audiences.

Rumors persisted over the years about the upstairs of the club being haunted by a spirit affectionately named “Rachael”. Whether the late night noises were caused by pigeons in the attic or genuine poltergeists, many artists refused to sleep on premises and at least one seance was held by John D. Loudermilk (composer of Tobacco Road).

Upstairs at the Bistro became a recording studio (Nova Records) and publishing company (Tone Deaf Music-BMI) in 1970 and many live performances were recorded as well as single records and albums.

The Bistro was sold to a rock-music publisher in late 1974 as an act promotion room, but customers weren’t happy with the drastic change and it was resold to a local group: “Whiteface”.

Sometime in 1984, a drummer fell asleep upstairs in the studio with a cigarette in his hand and the old building burnt to the ground. Ron Hudspeth of The Atlanta Journal declared it: “the sad end of an era”.


Silverman, a trio composed of Ron Norris, Deborah McColl and Carl Cuseo, performing at The Bistro.

You are listening to "The Bistro" - music and lyrics by Reuben Morgan

Musicians Appearing At The Bistro

Abner Jay
Al Cooper Of Blood, Sweat And Tears
Bittersweet
Billy Edd Wheeler
Bobby Goldsboro “Honey”
Bob Shane Of The Kingston Trio
Bruce Hampton
Carolyn Hester
Cheyenne
Chuck Mitchell
Danny Cox
David Peel
Doc and Merle Watson
Duckbutter
Earl And Randy Scruggs
Elizabeth (Liz) Corrigan
Ellen McIlwaine
Flood
Gabe Kaplan Of Welcome Back Kotter
Gamble Rogers
Gove Scrivenor
Jeff Espina
Joe South “Games People Play”
Jimmy Buffett Of The Coral Reefers Band
John Bassette
John Hartford “Gentle On My Mind”
John D. Loudermilk “Tobacco Road”
Jose Feliciano
Len Chandler
Louden Wainwright III “Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road”
Manchild
Michael Nesmith Of The Monkees
Mike And Barbara
Oliver “Good Morning Starshine”
Pat Paulsen Of The Smothers Brothers Show
Paul Mitchell Trio
Rainmaker
Raun Mckinnon
Ray Whitley “I’ve Been Hurt”
Ron Kimble And The Arrangement
Ron Kickasola
Russ Kirkpatrick
Sammy Johns “Chevy Van”
Sandalwood Candle
Silverman
Scotchmen
Steve Goodman “City Of New Orleans”
Talisman
Tam Duffill
The Cumberlands
Vince Martin
Warner Porter Warner
Wayfarers
Walter Forbes


Tom Hayward and Danny Pinkard from RCA welcome Chi Coltrane (with her hit record: Thunder and Lightning) to Atlanta.


Tom Hayward at The Bistro Recording Studio


Deborah McColl and Jimmy Buffett
(who also used to play the Bistro) taken in the park.


Bittersweet, a duo featuring
George Corrochano and Don Dunaway

Some Of The Valued Employees We Remember

Tom Hayward
Sandy Hayward
Lee Whidden
Sandy Bledsoe
Doris
Burl
Jimmy McDonald and Nancy
Lannette
Jody
Wayne Daniels
Bill And Shirley Remington
Carolyn Crockett Whidden
Reuben “Flash” Morgan
Fitzpatrick
Ozzie
Karen
Debbie Welch
Les Duncan
Sue
J. C. McCall

If you have memories of The Bistro or would like to contact us, please fill out our contact form below.
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