Danny Barton's Narrative

Jug band redux

In 1970 I was back in Austin doing carpentry and mechanic work, living at 91 Red River where Art Osborn and Doug Breeding had partnered up in the used car business. For fun I was playing electric bass with guitarist and conceptual artist Greg Griswood. We played at the sleazy night club at the Howard Johnson's and at parties on 33rd street. Griswood got busted carrying weed and while in jail confessed to every crime he'd ever committed. He went to prison, and I put away the bass.

Armadillo WHQ factotum and fellow Kimball HS graduate Bobby Hederman showed up one day and asked me if I'd come jam with a friend of his who wanted to play jug band music. Allan Melhiser, a fellow carpenter, had married a girl known as Kathy-a-go-go, a former girl friend of Dorman's who missed the childish fun of the jug band jam sessions. Allan dutifully bought a guitar, a nice Gibson, built a plywood box bass, and covered the dirt floor of his garage with clean wood shavings. The first get together at his place really was sort of fun. Ric Speed was recruited, Rikki Moursund played the box bass, Hedderman played harmonica, Yvette Bourgeois played fiddle, kazoos were found, and I borrowed one of Artie's old Gibsons. Paulette Just showed up with her washboard. Allan was really excited to be in a band, and he enthusiastically set about finding places for us to perform. I refused to include Bill Dorman, because I just don't like the son of a bitch.

Hederman and 'Big' Rikki were busy with the Armadillo, and Galen Barber started playing wooden tub bass. One of Galen's friends, Kim Hinkle, was managing a bar on 6th Street while waiting for any money to come in from the film he'd written, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He'd liked the Bonnie's get togethers, and he started booking us on off nights. He advertised 'jug band' in the paper, and it drew a lot of people, most of whom were disappointed. Without Phyllis, who was busy taking care of Jesse Taylor, we didn't have a real singer. Lou Estes began singing with us, but she wanted us to do all gospel songs, and she sure didn't have Phyllis' looks. People stayed away in droves. One loyal fan was Jan Dietrick. She was living with her ex-husband in one of Breeding's houses. I was living at the time in a canvas tent next to his mechanics' shack. Jan started playing the washboard with us and spending more time with me than with her ex.

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