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Ludlow garage going back to live music roots

CLIFTON, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- For the last seven years, Scott Crawford has run Olives on Ludlow out of the Ludlow Garage.

But on Sunday, he will close the restaurant and remodel. He plans to take the building back to its live music roots and reopen as the Live at the Ludlow Garage.

"It's actually been a thought since I bought the building," Crawford said Thursday.  "This is going to be a place you can come and sit, have dinner, have a waitress, listen to music. It could be all genres: blues, bluegrass, rock, country. We could have comedians sometimes," he added.

Crawford grew up in Clifton and remembers the Ludlow Garage when it featured up and coming bands that would become national acts.

"I would come to Ludlow Ave. on Saturdays with my mom and go to the grocery. And Mom would say 'stay away from Ludlow Garage' because the hippies were all up here. And of course the first thing an 11-year-old does is go right to the Ludlow Garage," Crawford said.

In the late 1960's and early 70's, the Allman Brothers recorded the album "Live at the Ludlow Garage" here. Up and coming acts such as Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper, Neil Young and Santana performed along with B.B. King. It was Jim Tarbell's creation.

"It was unique to say the very least. It was a very exciting time," Tarbell said.

For two and a half years, Tarbell brought bands to Cincinnati. He called it a "powerful" time. Tickets to some of the shows cost only $3.00. But, Tarbell said the music industry has changed since then.

"To do that today on a venue that size, to have names like that, not likely. That doesn't mean that you can't do a really good club with live music," said Tarbell.

Crawford said the basement of his building will be redesigned and a stage will be built. The upstairs restaurant will be gutted and a new restaurant will open in its place. He has big hopes for Live at the Ludlow Garage. He hopes to book big acts such as James Taylor.

"I think it's a real distinct possibility we'll have national acts in here," Crawford said.

All of the items in the restaurant will be sold at auction.

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