Athens native William Auten Carlton, with a photographic memory, has become a beloved fixture in the city’s music scene and its array of nightspots, even without any overt musical ability.January 21 died in He was 73 years old.
Carlton, known as “Ort”, died in hospice at St. Mary’s Hospital after a bout of illness, according to close friends.
News of Carlton’s death went viral on social media, reviving old photos and sharing memories of a man who had been socializing with vinyl records, cold beer and live bands since the 1970s.
“I was in high school and visiting Athens as a timpanist on the UGA music school program. Don Whittaker of Virginia wrote on Facebook, speaking about the situation many experienced during their chance meeting with Ort.
man and memory
Such was the case with those who were simply amazed at the man’s mental genius.
Kurt Wood of Athens, who met Carlton “over a box of records” as a UGA student in 1977, said he was basically Any place and zip code in the United States could be named.
Carlton amassed a collection of “tens of thousands of vinyl 45 records,” said Wood, a longtime friend of his. “I took it to heart. I have about 45,000 45 in my collection.”
Carlton’s extroverted personality, his ability to associate zip codes with towns, his ability to provide call letters and frequencies for AM stations in the South, his ability to name small-town eateries and name beer brands across the country. , was extraordinary.
“When I meet him, I am overwhelmed at first. I have no idea what this person is saying,” recalls Chris McKay, an Athenian musician and professional photographer. “Then you get to know him even a little bit and he becomes like your best friend. It’s so weird.”
DIY musicians:Local rock musician Sara Zuniga embodies the DIY spirit of old Athens.
former:Athens hip-hop legend Ishues returns to the top with new album and listening party
Carlton was born in Athens, graduated from Athens High School, received a degree in Communications in 1980, and attended the commencement ceremony at Sanford Stadium with Wood. His father, William M. Carlton (from Worchula, Fla.), his professor of botany at UGA, died in 1973, and his mother Betty, a stay-at-home mom, died in 2001. Ultimately, he ended up living where he grew up in the Homewood Hills subdivision.
According to Wood, he lived in Athens most of his life, but lived in Nashville, Tennessee from 1986 to 1990. In the early 1970s, Carlton ran his own record shop, Olz His Oldies, on College His Avenue next to what is now Starbucks.
ortho as inspiration
“I met him on the first day in Athens in the fall of 1972,” recalls Danny Beard, owner of Atlanta record shop Wax ‘N’ Facts. When Beard moved to Athens to attend his UGA, he remembered going record shopping at Ort’s Oldies.
“That was the day I met Fred Schneider, who worked in Ort and ran the store.” He talked about Schneider, who had just appeared.
Beard credits Carlton for his own business of selling vinyl records.
“It inspired me to start a store here, and 46 years later, I’m still here. I told him about it, and he appreciated it,” Beard said.
Chris (Laz) Rasmussen, who owned Chapter Three Records in Athens in the late 1970s, said he met Orto in 1972 at Underground Records on College Avenue.
“If you’ve known him for 50 years or 20 minutes, he will give you the same level of warmth.” I didn’t believe it.I opened the phone book and said the number and he gave me the person.It’s amazing to have such a complete recall.”
When the 40 Watt Club first opened on College Avenue, Rasmussen said Oat was hired as a doorman.
“He was always there. He had a vibrant voice and commanded the area around him,” Rasmussen said.
According to Rasmussen, Carlton narrated the 1986 documentary Athens, Georgia: Inside/Out.
“The B-52 made Athens famous, and REM stayed here. They were the band that brought people here, and the movie made everyone think the city was a cool and interesting place.” he said.
stand shoulder to shoulder with giants
The documentary also made Carlton “a known figure outside Athens, and people coming to Athens for the music scene wanted to see Ort,” Rasmussen said.
Carlton was known to famous and not-so-famous music producers in Athens, befriending the B-52 and REM. He once reported to Athenian journalist Chris Starz that he was attending his REM show for the first time in the city, and described it as “magical”.
In the same 2014 interview, Carlton said:
He maintained a long-standing friendship with Pylon member Vanessa Briscoe-Haye.
Carlton was also a popular columnist for Flagpole magazine.
Pete McCommons, publisher of Flagpole, said Carlton, who wrote columns on food, beer, and his travels for the publication, was heavily involved in the early days of Athens’ music scene.
“He was at every house party before there were music venues. Told.
During his frequent travels, Carlton sampled locally brewed beers and reported on them in his column.
“He was happy to talk to me about any music group or brewery,” McCommons said.
In the process, Carlton became the subject of the widely known artist Terry Rowlett, who painted Oat in a pose somewhat echoing the famous paintings of abolitionist John Brown. “Ortho” clutches a cane and a notepad instead of a bible and a gun.
Rowlett said he will never forget meeting him.
“I remember thinking that this man knew more than anyone I had ever met.
“He was a humble man. Even though that was just him, he didn’t seem to know everything,” Rowlett said.
Professional photographer Lee Matney of Williamsburg, Virginia, was working on Art Rosenbaum’s art exhibition in Athens last year when he saw a friend of his walking into a Manhattan tavern on Hull Street. The times had wrapped a noose around a man moving slowly in the shadow of his own mythology.
“I had a long conversation with him.
Athenian musician Gregory Saunders grew up in Atlanta and saw ortho in the movie Inside/Out as a teenager.
Around 2015, Sanders was in Athens working in a bar at the Trapeze pub when he met the real man. One time, he recalled, they started singing Roger Miller songs during his slow hours at work.
Knowing that Sanders is a fan of old music, Ort wrote down on a napkin the songs he wanted his new friends to hear. Eventually, Sanders launched his Facebook page where he posted music recommended by his friends. He called the page “Ort’s Oldies”. The page is still active with handwritten notes and photos.
“When I stopped working at Trapeze, we fell apart. There was no one like him,” said, like many others, hiding the story of a man called Orto. A man said
“That’s my story,” Sanders said. “I’m just the guy he met at the bar.”