(Editor's Note: This is pretty much word for word what Gordon sent me via
email. Initially I thought I would paraphrase the stories and put them in my
own words, but after reading the note through several times, I decided to leave
it as is with only minor modifications (very minor). There are references to
Townes and B.W. drinking. My hope is that those of us who knew and loved these
guys will not be offended by any of the story. What follows is a
treasure and a very good representation of what those early years at KFF were like. -- Doug Coppock
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I'm Gordon Henry Barth
I played Kerrville in 1973 as a new folk artist. I was reminiscing about
those days and decided to google things and came up with your web site.
I was nineteen at the time and was going to Texas Tech. Allen Damron
was playing tunes at a place in Lubbock called The Brookshire Inn where I
earned money for school. He sat me down in the apartment where he was staying
and made a tape of me and sent it in for the New Folk entry.
Back then, it was pretty rusty. I remember playing on the grounds of the
Schreiner Institute. Bill and Bonnie were front row. It was pretty
relaxed at that time and if I knew that Kerrville would turn into something
BIG...I might have put in a little effort into the deal. It was pretty
informal and relaxed back then. If I remember correctly, they didn't
have "winners or losers". The deal was that if there was a
good artist, he or she would get to play at the concert at the auditorium that
I went to the first festival in 1972 at the auditorium and was wowed by the
excitement of the deal. My cousin wanted to go to the States arts and
craft fair at the Schreiner and when we went, there was advertisement for the
music festival so we decided to go. What magic!
Today, I get to play tunes at places around the South Texas area. I've
become friends with Jack Motley and his Sister, Mary Martha.....they are some
Kerrville die hards. I get to play with Jack at times when he invites me
to sit in. (Ed. note: Jack is host at Camp On This and a dear friend of mine
as is Mary Martha - Camp on This is what I consider my home at KFF)
Most of my time is spent being a Family Practice Physician in the town where I
was born....Yorktown, Texas. I went to Medical School in the Dallas Fort Worth
region and turned into a dedicated Doctor instead of a musician. I decided music
was not my first true love.....but it still remains my second. I love
Jack's zeal for keeping the spirit burning and cherish the times I get to sit
in with him.
This is a little story about the days back in 1972-1974. I never was a
STAR but was invited to play at the cabins north of Kerrville where the top
artists were staying and was known as a backup player for Bill and Bonnie,
Allen Damron, Jerry Jeff, Bobby Bridges and Townes (he was pretty drunk back
then). Those days were the original campfires. I was staying in a tent
with friends at the state park back then and I remember EVERYONE stayed up all
night playing tunes. This was before they moved the festival to the
ranch. Music was played 24 hours a day. I can't remember the name of the cabins
where everyone was staying but it was up the road on the Guadalupe. I wish I could
have remembered more but to me it was just playing and jam sessions and there
was a "Woodstock" feeling of peace and love at that time. A time of
magic. This is a semi accurate account of what I remember.
Side note. B.W. Stevenson came to Lubbock about that time and Allen sent
me back stage to talk to him to tell him to come to the Brookshire Inn (now
known as Gardski's Loft) B.W. was staying in the Holiday Inn in
Lubbock, so we went to pick him up to take him to the Brookshire to meet with
Allen. He was pretty drunk at the time and he came with us. He had
opened for the Doobie Brothers back then. Michael Raphael told us not to
"abuse BW" and he was laying in the 2 double beds that the four
member group was staying. B.W. spent about an hour and a half
entertaining us with an audience of about 30 people. Went back to
Allen's apartment to play some tunes but B W drank about a liter of Wellers
bourbon and passed out in the bathtub. We stayed up till about
dawn and I never knew what happened to B. W.
......pretty exciting times for a 20 year old going to Texas Tech and getting to play with some of these guys.
Just thought I would send my memories of some events in those early days of the Festival. It's my story of those days and it really was a Texas Magic back then.
Sorry to see Allen D. pass away, he was always so good to me.
Dr. Gordon Barth