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Willis Allen Ramsey, 1972 after a pause Burton added, “And most important is to respect the people you photograph.” Throughout his book you can see that respect reflected in the ease the performers felt while Burton worked. There’s Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw lying on a cot, half-looped, saluting you with a cup of who-knows-what. There’s Big Joe Williams at the Victory Grill, a half-finished plate of barbecue sausage in front of him, smoke curling from his cigarette, and a large 7-UP nearby to quench the fire of the hot sauce. It’s a photograph worthy of hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. There’s Frank Zappa backstage admiring a strange armadillo-with-antlers helmet. Or a definitive portrait of Kenneth Threadgill, the man who fused hippies and cedar choppers in friendship through musical jams at his old service station. Threadgill hoists a Lone Star. A few pages later Doug Sahm proffers a Pearl, reminding us of the days when Texans hadn’t been brainwashed by croaking frogs and raspy throated lizards selling Bud, that almost-vanished era when Texans drank regional beers. Perhaps the most arresting group of photographs are those of Mance Lipscomb, a bluesman who affected Burton deeply. In addition to playing authentic Texas Blues, Mance was as close to a Taoist sage as we’re ever likely to get in Texas. For a lifetime Mance worked the cotton fields around Navasota and played local juke joints on Saturday night. He had no expectation of ever being known outside a few wood-planked-floor dives in East Texas. Then one day the famous folklorist John Lomax searched out Mance and recorded him. He was a stringy, strong old cotton farmer when this bit of fame finally found him in his mid 60s. Mance never expected any recognition and was untouched by it. He would sit for hours after a gig playing music and telling stories to the young white kids who sat around, listening in rapt attention. These sessions would end when dawn streaked the sky. Mance’s music was the embodiment of doing something for love, not for recognition and money. It gave him a quiet power that young people recognized. Tary Owens, who has done as much as anyone in Central Texas to preserve classic Texas Music, took Burton to Mance’s Navasota home in 1967. Burton writes simply and forcefully of that first meeting. Mance, who wrote more than 300 songs, could remember the story about each. Finally as the afternoon grew long, Burton asked, “Mance, how do you write a song?” Without hesitation Mance replied, “First you have to start.” In the 1970s, when Mance’s health began to fail, Eddie Wilson organized a benefit at the Armadillo. Taj Mahal, Bill Neely, and others played. It was a rousing success; about $4,000 was raised. Mance was amazed. He confided to Burton: “Four thousand dollars. That’s more than I’ve earned in any year in my whole life.” This is Burton’s second book. His first, Burton’s Book of the Blues, has become a collectors’ item, selling as well in Scandinavia as it did in Chicago. For those fans of music or Austin history, The Austin Music Scene is full of gems. There’s a great shot of Bette Midler, curiously backed by Barry Manilow on piano. There’s a haunting 1967 portrait of a young Johnny Winter, who had just magnetized the crowd and stolen the show from Muddy Waters at the Vulcan Gas Company. Perhaps the picture that best sums up the cultural revolution of the period isn’t even of a musician. Wilson had the perceptiveness to record two side-by-side billboards near where Guadalupe now runs into Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. On one side is a photo of Preston Smith, the chrome-dome conservative Democrat running for Governor, with the slogan “Working for Texas.” On the other is an ad for the psychedelic band Shiva’s Headband, featuring a woolly headed hippie rising out of a moonscape with armadillos and third-eye Masonic pyramids. The artist might as well have added the slogan of head-shop icon Oat Willie, who also ran for Governor at that time”Onward Through the Fog.” Jeff Nightbyrd was national vice-president’ of Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s and currently owns Acclaim, the biggest talent agency in Austin. 12/21/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25