This week’s blog follows up our Jefferson Airplane coverage with a focus on one of Jim’s big-time rock ’n roll queen crushes: Grace Slick . Just a few years younger than Jim, Grace had it all – looks, talent, charisma, craziness plus the upper crust background (she went to “finishing school” and her Daddy was an investment banker who always wore three piece suits) that, in my opinion, street-kid Jim always hankered for deep down. If you wanted to wrap Jim around your little finger (something I learned a thing or two about though it was two and half decades later) all you had to do was look good and act dangerously -- but in a ladylike sorta way.
We’ve noticed that more than a few of you are interested in San Francisco and its seminal music scene of the late ’60s, a time and place and sound that Jim Marshall is synonomous with, and that he captured with a thoroughness and passion that remains unmatched. We’re kicking off a string of blogs focusing on some of his best work from that era, starting with a couple of blogs on one of Jim’s fave subjects (judging by the quantity of film rolls in the archive): The Jefferson Airplane and, of course, the dangerously talented and beautiful Grace Slick (more on her in the next installment).
As the debut of the Jack & Jim Gallery draws near (next Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011), we wanted to offer some insights about the vignette display cases that were assembled so lovingly by Amelia Davis and Bonita Passarelli in the new Jack Daniels-sponsored gallery at Austin City Limits Live. For those unable to see it in the flesh, the installation of the 30-photo exhibit was movingly captured in this video now on YouTube. The displays illuminate the stories behind some of Jim’s most enduring images via memorabilia that Jim (wisely) hung on to from those times when he was at the height of his professional powers.
What better way to round up our summer celebrating some of the best- and least-known of Jim’s festival work than with these shots documenting one of the first big bluegrass gatherings back in the day: The North Carolina Bluegrass (some tickets and handbills spelled it Blue Grass) Music Festival at Camp Springs, N.C. over Labor Day Weekend in 1969.
An outdoor music festival in the dusty, white-hot heat of Texas in July? Willie Nelson’s reprise of the Dripping Springs Reunion in 1973 was supposed to be a “country Woodstock,” the launch pad for hippies and rednecks to do the whole “kumbaya” thing, musically, socially, and whatever other which way.
Instead, what this sun-baked country music party really launched was the “Outlaw” movement in country music led by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, among others. And Willie’s Picnic has been a more or less annual, inspiring, brain-frying musical happening ever since.
And now for something completely different … Monterey Pop and Woodstock are tough acts to follow, festival-wise, so we thought we’d change it up a bit and focus over the next few weeks on some early and legendary country, western and bluegrass music gatherings, starting with The Dripping Springs Reunion of 1972.
This seminal country music festival, which Jim’s photos document so wonderfully, happened on a ranch near Dripping Springs in Hays County Texas in March 17-19, 1972 and inspired the (mostly) annual Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic.
Today marks the final edition of our Woodstock ’69 coverage and what better way to round things up than with this shot of Jim and yet another gorgeous mystery blonde (noted only as “Sally” on the print which was uncovered and graciously provided to us by Aaron Zych at Morrison Gallery). This shot was taken by musician and extraordinary music photographer in his own right, Henry Diltz.
Henry was working for Michael Lang, one of the Woodstock promoters, and had been in Bethel documenting the festival preparation for weeks before the magical musical madness ensued.
Our next Woodstock ’69 festival installment offers up more rare and unseen images from Jim’s voluminous work generated during those three (well, really four considering it all ended on Monday morning) frantic, freakish and fantastic days in August. I noted in last week’s Woodstock blog that Jim was on assignment for Newsweek, which may go some ways to explaining his extraordinary attention to detail in shooting all the action that was happening around, behind and in front of the stage, as well as the usual suspects kicking ass and taking names (as Jim would say) on the stage.
Though Monterey Pop generated my favorite of Jim’s festival documentation, the most over-the-top festival for social impact, size of crowd, quality of vibe and quantity of mud, plus nausea-inducing porta-potties was (conga drumroll please): 1969’s Woodstock Music & Art Fair. Held Aug. 15-18 on 600 or so acres leased from Max Yasgur’s dairy farm near Bethel, NY (which is more than 40 miles southwest of Woodstock, NY. Guess the “Bethel Festival” just didn’t have the right ring to it.), the Woodstock festival was three days of cultural and musical experimentation, melded with a very, very heavy dose of, well, doses.
OK, you all asked for more, more, more Monterey Pop photos so in this week’s festival fantasia we break out the heavy guns (so to speak), starting off with Jimi offering up his ultimate sacrifice, burning one of his prized Fender Stratocasters at the climax of his incendiary version of “Wild Thing,” changing his career, and quite possibly the world, in one hot, feedback-drenched stroke.