Under the Hood: Marcia Ball on Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin is generally associated with the San Francisco music scene of the late 1960s.  But she was a native of Port Arthur, Texas, and early on she gravitated to the free-spirited college town of Austin.  Louisiana piano woman Marcia Ball was also immersed in the Austin music scene at that time, and she remembers Janis Joplin’s early days.

“One of her big influences along the way was an older man, a musician in Austin named Kenneth Threadgill. He had a bar, and at night by the late 60s, the hippies were hanging out in his bar because he had a little string band that would play in there. And then he was a silver haired daddy with kind of longer, real pretty hair down the back of his neck, which all us hippies could relate to. And he would yodel and sing “all along the water tank.” He was just wonderful. He was an influence, a help to Janis when she lived there. When she was still running around playing her autoharp and singing folk music, that’s where they would hang out.” – Marcia Ball