From the Annals of the Troubadours – In 1987, legendary Austin country singer and tavern owner Kenneth Threadgill passed away. Threadgill was instrumental in creating the Austin music scene. Born in Peniel, he moved to Austin in 1933 and began working at an old service station on North Lamar across from the DPS Headquarters. Threadgill had been performing on and off for years and was legendary for his yodeling prowess which he learned from imitating Jimmie Rodgers. He soon bought the service station and renamed it Threadgill’s Tavern. He still sold gas and food but cleverly obtained the first beer license in Austin after the repeal of Prohibition. Threadgill’s became known for its Wednesday night hootenannies, at which university students and local residents congregated for beer, country music, yodeling, and the “Alabama Jubilee,” the song that would usually get Kenneth to dance his patented shuffle. Bill Neely and Janis Joplin were among the many performers who began their careers performing at Threadgill’s. Threadgill gained some measure of national celebrity himself when he acted and sang in the Willie Nelson movie Honeysuckle Rose (1980). He sold the tavern in the early eighties and it was taken over by Eddie Wilson. After being closed for quite some time, the original Threadgill’s Old No. 1 on North Lamar is back and Threadgill’s World HQ on Barton Springs remains an Austin institution – complete with live music.
Photo of Threadgill and Janis Joplin from http://austinot.com/threadgills-Austin