Just moved back to Austin after 26 years in SF. We're loving it!
I remember an outdoor festival in '76 or '77 (believe it was somewhere off 183). They had the (then) heavyweights on the bill. Fleetwood Mac, Peter Frampton, and others. Anyone else remember? I couldn't make it - love to find out where exactly it was.
Also, I know a few have left us, but any updates, stories, on Balcones Fault. Must of seen them 50 times in my 3 years in the 70's.
When I first moved to Austin, one of my best friends was a vegetarian. Since I was new in town, I followed him around for awhile. That meant eating vegetarian meals, something very new to the Texas carnivore. There were a couple of places that I recall but mostly it was the "avocado and sprouts on whole wheat" that we would get at Salvation Sandwiches. That was the complete experience: the hippie food, the hippie food vendors, the hippie mentality. All in all, a very proper lesson in the culture of my new home.
Ray Henning's HoT Music... a more mystical place may not exist for the Austin music lover. Consider this. Ray has been central to the Austin music scene since well before anyone knew there was one. I know a member of an Austin 50's doo-wop group (The Slades, compadres of Ray Campi) that remembers Ray running HoT music even back then. Ray gave the starving, strugging, Stevie Vaughn a guitar from the "used" bin that SRV went on to make his career upon. HoT music directly supports road shows and all Austin music festivals with equipment rentals, loaners, whatever. Ray help define Austin as a Guitar Town well before the the marketing guys woke up to it.
Musicians have come and gone in this town but one of the men behind the scenes, who made the music possible more than most, was always Ray Henning.
Update: Well, the end is here. As reported by the Statesman, Lamar Plaza is being gentrified. Here's the final tombstone for a great Austin tradition.
It is said that HoT Music will keep going in their Temple store... I hope so.
Note: Ray doesn't seem to have a website and a lot of folks end up here after searching for him. Here is his information from the phone book:
Heart Of Texas Music
1002 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 9:30am-6:30pm, Sat 9:30am-6pm
Payment Methods: AMEX, DISCOVER, MASTER CARD and VISA
Ray Henning & Family - A Texas Tradition Since 1961
Back in college, starting in 1979, I remember old Bicycle Annie. By that time, she had given up her (three wheeled) bike, and would move slowly around on crutches. She moves so slowly that, you'd see her at one end of The Drag on your way to class, and when you were returning from class, she had finally made her way about six blocks toward the other end of The Drag.
One time, I made the mistake of trying to open the door for her at the Whataburger on The Drag. She screamed at me that, in no uncertain terms, would she accept no help from anybody. I cringed and slunk away like a beat puppy.
Man, she was old. I wonder how much longer she lived or who she really was.
Probably the last time I got to see Willie Nelson live would have been at an event held somewhere out near Lake Travis (at least I think it was - time erodes memories...)
It was an all afternoon and evening event called "The Last Bash on the Hill", and featured all sorts of bands in an outdoor setting. it was an ampitheatre sort of hill, with the stage at the bottom so just about everyone (and their dog - there were lots of those, too) could see and hear easily.
Willie came on just about sunset, doing his ever polished set. And about that time, the full moon rose from behind him! It was fantastic.
I missed one chance to hear Willie here in New Zealand back in the 70s, but nothing since. I can't help but think I got one of the best performances ever that night back outside of Austin.
And then walked back afterward to find that my truck, like the vehicles of many, many other people - had been *towed* for parking something like 3" onto the pavement of the road. Bugger...
Several years ago, I corresponded briefly with Robert Burns, after seeing that he had copies of old Austin posters, and I mentioned that I remembered one very well.
Robert was the art director, I think it was, for the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movie, back in 1973 or so. I need to do another posting about the house for that on its own!
Anyway, the poster that Robert had was of a concert held on the baseball field just as UT was starting up again for the year. I say Sept 1970, but could have been 1971?
Anyway, the lineup for the day was:
The Allman Brothers
It's A Beautiful Day
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (I don't remember them, but that was common for the time...)
It was a *fantastic* day of music, for sure.
While I was writing this up, I came across the following quote from Willis Alan Ramsey that relates to that concert (from http://www.willisalanramsey.com/content/Riverfront-times-review-2000-11-09.htm)
"Willis Alan Ramsey, his one and only album, at once captures that intimate milieu of folk songs and stories, then leaps well ahead of its time, owing in part to Ramsey's idiosyncratic tastes and a fortuitous encounter with Leon Russell. "I was booked into a motel called the Villa Capri in Texas, and staying at that hotel were the Allman Brothers, Leon Russell, It's a Beautiful Day and Pacific Gas & Electric. I saw their show and made it a point to knock on their doors. Leon was nice and receptive, and I was kind of cocky at that point. I thought I was writing some tunes that he should hear. Leon told me to break out my guitar. He and his road manager listened and gave me their numbers in California.
"They said I should come see them. Greg Allman and Dickey Betts were really nice as well. They invited me to come down and see them in Macon. This was right before the Allman Brothers took off. So I went to see all of them. Greg recorded a demo on me, and then I went out to see Leon, and he made a demo on me. Leon said, "I'm getting ready to tour. If you like, you can stay in my house and record in my studio at night.' That pretty much sold me! It all happened quickly. I was pretty confident in what I was doing, and suddenly I was over my head. I went from playing college coffeehouses and then I'm in Leon Russell's home studio and people like George Harrison are coming over. It was a completely different environment."
Austin was the birthplace of a musical genre that really deserves more attention. During the early 70's, the vibrant Texas rock scene had broken down and moved on. Big name (aka Big Business) acts dominated the music scene. As it always does, Austin responded by reinventing many of the rules and established notions and created the Cosmic Cowboys.
The true leaders of this movement never got the public credit they deserve but are usually cited as major influences by those that did make it big. My favorites are:
Willis Alan Ramsey - huge Austin influence. When you hear early Lyle, your hearing Willis
Michael Murphy - prior to his Michael Martin Murphy, horse riding cowboy days, Murphy kicked around Austin and produced what still could be an anthem for the town: "Alleys of Austin"
Anyone have the lyrics? Update! I found them... see below.
B.W. "Buckwheat" Stevenson - Everyone has heard his "My Maria"
It's interesting to note that those three performers all came from Dallas from around the same period of time. South Dallas has produced quite a list of musical pioneers, SRV notwithstanding. Update: Here's a good listing of Oak Cliff notables. Anyone here heard of the "Oak Cliff 'Oh'"?
Not on my list are big names like Willie or Jerry Jeff. I think that the Cosmic Cowboy theme was already going when these guys showed up. I'm not saying that they didn't make great contribution... they just owe a debt to Austin and the true pioneers.
Alleys of Austin
(Michael Martin Murphey)
Out in the alleys of Austin,
There's a song on the side of the wall,
The bricks and the bottles and the mongrels
Are trying to make sense out of it all,
and the moon looks all too familiar--
The kids say "There ain't no man in there";
While the laid back baboon
By the light of the Texas moon
Is combing his auburn hair.
He's just combing his auburn hair.
"Fat Ron the Beadman" was a feature of the Drag back in the late 60s and early 70s. Back in those days, the street vendors used to be set up in front of the Co-op - just at the point of the main crossing of the Drag. Only some years later was there any regulation, and the move to the side street nearby.
Fat Ron probably wasn't the greatest of craftsman - his reason for being was stringing beads for goodness sakes, which he did well, and was *always* there.
Nothing special to his work - just little coloured seed beads on a string, with that being a widely accepted means of expression.
But Fat Ron was a character, one of those people that now (nearly 40 years later) I remember as being typical of Austin of those times...
Doug was a San Antonio boy but made it to Austin as quick as he could. I can't recall the name of the album recorded live at Armadillo in the mid-70's but Doug told a story from the stage about being in California and "Everyone told me that Austin was happening. So here we are." Doug and Augie did a lot to foster the Cosmic Cowboy genre and their Armadillo and Soap Creek shows were legendary.
The last time that I saw Doug was not at a music show... it was at Dan's Hamburgers on S. Congress around '81 or so. I pulled into the parking lot and parked next to a huge silver Cadillac that appeared to be full of stuff. Clothes, guitars, equipment, paperwork, basically the life support gear for a working musician. At the driver seat was Doug. We said "Hi", he went in and picked up a to-go order and drove away.
If you get here through a search, then you remember something listed on this page. Do us a favor and log-in and record that Austin memory!
Treaty Oak - still there in spite of the attempted VooDoo killing
North vs. South Tug of war - The North won, I believe
The Buccaneer - a seedy bar in the south
The old dinner theaters - on the edge of town... speaking of that!
The Edge of Town - a night club in a converted dinner theater
Dessau Hall - country girl, I think you're pretty
Jalapeno Charlie's - in that strange building on S. Lamar
The Hanging Tree - more S. Lamar weirdness
The Chaparral Lounge - what's this "new Chaparral" bullshit?
The Split Rail - I remember this as a biker bar
Duke's Royal Coach Inn - punk club on Congress... Joe King's homeroom
Maggie Mae's - remember when it was so narrow and one of the pioneers of 6th street?
The Salt Lick - before it was famous. The best Friday lunch was to fill a cooler and head out Camp Ben McCulloch road for the afternoon.
Holiday House - wild animals and burgers!
2J's - good burgers, loyal following
The Draught House - the one before the Draught Horse!
Lone Star Beer sign - stood above the Drag for a generation
Dry Creek Cafe - still kicking and lot's of ink spilt already... add your special experience
Scarbrough building and store - Austin elegance
The Silver Dollar - WAY before Dallas, the night club
The Raw Deal - the original... east 6th back in the day
Update: nice photo show of the old RD
The Poodle Dog - still there I think, as is...
The Horseshoe Lounge - got kicked out of there once