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Special – 1978 – Rock Music Photography – Lisa Laws on Janis Joplin + Graham Nash On Photography


By the late 1970’s rock n roll had matured to such a point of unparalleled popularity….as the music machine was working at a ping….cuz the world couldn’t seem to get enough of it….which opened he door to the artistry of rock n roll photography…..which began to bloom all over….and being a music genre that breeds outlandish crazies and weirdos….the further out a rock n roll star was….the more the public wanted to see….so, having a vast array of rock n roll crazies from which to choose from during the 60’s and 70’s….and the photography got better and better.   

This video features rock n roll legend Janis Joplin….who although born and raised in Port Arthur, TX ….at least from a music standpoint….Austin considers Janis Joplin to be a hometown music legend…..and I remember Bone Daddy telling stories about going to Threadgils Bar on Wednesday nights back in the day of the 1960’s….to hear Janis perform live….plus he really liked Kenneth Threadgil, the owner of the joint. 

Once a week Janis and her friends would drive to Threadgill’s….a converted gas station on the northernmost edge of Austin….to play music with old-time bluegrass and country players. The bar’s owner, Kenneth Threadgill, had been a bootlegger during Prohibition….and is said to have acquired the first beer license in Travis County after its repeal. He was also a Jimmie Rodgers enthusiast whose jukebox was stocked with old 78’s…and every last one a Jimmie Rodgers record.

Threadgill had purchased the gas station in the mid thirties….and by the mid-40s was selling soda pop and beer out of some old coolers while his friends played guitar, fiddle and sang hillbilly blues….so, by the mid-50s a group of local amateur musicians were showing up every week to play….and Threadgill would pay them with two rounds of free beer….and since there was no stage at Threadgill’s….the performers played right in the middle of the customers. “We all sat around a big oak table reserved for musicians,” recalls Tary Owens, “and there was a microphone and a little amp and someone would sing a song and then pass the mike to the next person.” Over time, though, as the bar became more crowded, “the musicians had to move to the back rooms to wait their turns at the mikes and sound system Threadgill had installed.”

Janis was the star attraction at Threadgill’s….for she was without a doubt the reason it was packed every Wednesday night…..as Bone Daddy says that The Waller Creek Boys were just a little acoustic trio….but Janis would put on a big show  At the end of the night, she’d sing stuff like “Sal’s Got a Wooden Leg” and jump around.

Bone Daddy remembers Threadgil telling him about the first time it hit Janis that people were driving out to Threadgill’s just to hear her saying….“She thought the world had come to an absolute end. There’s never been a wider grin or bigger eyes.”….and BD remembers the excitement swirling around Janis….even though she had not yet developed her own style…. I mean, heck, she was still carrying around her autoharp and singing Joan Baez and Judy Collins songs…but her range and power were just beginning to come into play with songs like Bessie Smith’s “Black Mountain Blues” ….plus the pieces she did in conscious imitation of Odetta.

Bone Daddy recalls Kenneth Threadgill saying that girl was really good the first time he heard her sing….and that he and his wife had really taken a shine to her….which was real interesting….cuz BD recalls Janis as being indisputably the weirdest and wildest student of them all….describing her as sad, dirty, and unwashed….with a bad complexion and matted hair….for she looked as if she’d been wearing the same clothes for weeks….maybe even sleeping in them…..and she had these coonskin caps, ratty old things…so, BD always found it to be just a bit bizarre that Threadgill would have done the daddy thing with her….but his fondness for her was without doubt. 

All that being said….this video seen herewith brings back fond  memories for Bone Daddy of days spent as a student at the University of Texas….which is at the core of why we at ImaSportsphile decided to post BD’s entire awesome library.

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