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I moved to Austin in 73 after I graduated from High School. I remember living on Shoal Creek close to downtown. (some of my memories might be off - its been a few years!) I remembering walking downtown and seeing all the old buildings and walking down the street where you could look up and see the capital building.

There was a water hole we went to and then of course we would go to hippie hollow.

I remember the original Night Hawk restaurant and going to a club down the street to watch local bands.

I had some family problems and had to move back to Dallas a couple of months later but I've always thought about that time in Austin.

I've been back several times over the years and watched Austin grow up. I tried to find where I lived but it wasn't familiar enough to locate.

Sept 1970

Outdoors | Scenes

Disch Field start of school concert: leon Russell, allman Bros band, PG&E, Its a Beautiful Day


Bars | Bands | Scenes

Austin and South By Southwest (SXSW), talk about your love/hate relationships. As I recall SXSW started as a townie, insider-only deal that took advantage of everyone being out of town instead of the global destination towards Austin that it is today. Back in the Spring Break of those days, local bands played in near-empty bars to dedicated local folks. It was Louis Black and The Austin Chronicle folks that got the good idea of a one-ticket, all access festival.

I think it was the third year of operation that I heard my first "South By is just too crowded now!" complaint... they hadn't seen nothin' yet.

If anyone has images from those early days, post them here!

Janis Joplin at Greg Gym

Bands | Scenes | UT

I took pictures that night, but this is one I captured off of the web, from earlier in her career. Kindly and I were just swapping text about that concert on FaceBook last month. She had tickets, and we went together on a friend 'date'. JJ was with her Full Tilt Boogie band, and was cranked that night, on Southern Comfort and whatever she had left from the plane trip. She was best on stage, and was the 'in betweens' that took her from us later that same year... She never found the love she sang about, but left us all with blues in the night. Kindly Kay and I stood on the folding chairs like a couple of teeny boppers. ;-) Farnham

Pajama Parties


does anyone remember the pajama parties held at the house at 1000 Baylor in the 80's. That house that sat at 10th and Lamar....I was a part of those as we lived there. We had great times and just seeing if anyone remembers being involved.

Beer Joints

Bars | Scenes

I had the need to drive up Burnet Rd. the other day and I was brought back in time to a place that was but is no longer: the Char-Ex Drive Inn. You know the place, it was on the corner of Old Keonig and Burnet (that's "ole KAYnig and BURnet" to you newbies... get it right) Their chili was outstanding, their beer was cold, the people there were old school Austin. Today, the building is still there but it has the look of a flea market instead of a respectable beer joint.

What happened to the beer joint? These days, there are notable hangers-on such as Deep Eddy and Ginny's Little Longhorn but the vast majority of the neighborhood taverns have vanished. Austin's reputation for live music has always depended upon the beer joint venues (you don't hear Austin music here)

The people and places that have always been there to define the true Austin culture are starting to get very rare.

Dry Creek Cafe


I haven't been there in over ten years, and I don't even know if it's still open, or a McMansion has been built in it's place. Out on Mount Bonnell Road . . . you walk in, can buy a pickled egg out of a jar on the counter (they floated around in an ominous green liquid), then get your longneck beer and head to the deck upstairs. The old woman who owned the place would always yell at you, "Bring your damn bottles back down here when you're through with them!" Best sunsets in Austin, better than the Oasis, because it was just you and a few other people up there watching.

Cosmic Cowboys

Bands | Hipsters | Scenes

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.

Free Clinic


I'm not sure if it is still functional, but the Austin Free Clinic started in a church hall, I think it was, to the west of the UT campus. I do think it moved a few times, but I remember it down in a basement area of small partitioned off rooms.

The clinic provided a really necessary service back in those days, and did it with a sense of purpose and non-judgemental care.

Pat Larkin worked there, I remember, a well-known character of the Austin housing co-op scene among other things in those days. I've often wondered where Pat ended up - he was a very straightforward (almost said straight - not the same thing in the context of those days...) and genuine sort of guy.

It must have been sometimes pretty frustrating work, with the transient population, the exotic drug use and the health issues brought about through little care for hygiene. I'll pay a long overdue vote of thanks to the people who started the clinic back then!

Christmas In Austin

Outdoors | Scenes

Austin has always struggled for a mainstream Christmas tradition... the Zilker Tree, the Trail of lights, Congress Ave. lights. However, there has also always been a counter-culture season tradition as well.

- Take, for example, the (now!) well known "Hippie Christmas" on 37th street. Started off weird-as-you-please but it didn't take long for the Westlake set to start cruising through in Explorers with the windows rolled up.

- When was the first time that you saw a wild cedar tree on the side of the road in full Christmas decoration? Pretty common now.

- Before the Continental Club went legit, you could always count on them being there AND open.

- Christmas Tamales and Tamaladas: one of many Tejano traditions that I first experienced in Austin. Remember when they called it "Austin style Mexican food"?

- The town getting empty. Remember when the UT students leaving town made a significant dent in the population? Suddenly, everything was empty and the folks remaining had the bond of true Austin kinship.

All is not lost. I hear that there is a very healthy chapter of the Santa Rampage here in town. Good for them.

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