Judy Clements oral history

Rice University

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0:10 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: My name is Norie Guthrie from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. I am interviewing Judy Clements, formally Judy Stewart of the folk duo, Ken and Judy. Today is November 7th, 2016. This is part of the Houston Folk Music Archive oral history project.

0:32 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Judy Clements: Are we speaking of my childhood early life?

Norie Guthrie: It could be that, or it could just be kind of high school moving on.

1:05 - Meeting Ken Roberts

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Partial Transcript: Judy Clements: And, I guess I was 20, I was, I was not 21 yet, when I met Ken, and he said something about getting together to sing –

1:41 - Being drawn to folk music

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Partial Transcript: Judy Clements: Uh, I suppose because it was the up and coming thing. I mean, before that we would do doo-wop –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – and then folk music's – you know, it just part of a sign of the times I guess.

2:34 - Forming the duo Ken and Judy

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: You said that, um, Ken approached you and, what, what is Ken's last name?

Judy Clements: Ken Roberts.

Norie Guthrie: Ken Roberts – that he approached you about forming –

Judy Clements: Right.

Norie Guthrie: – a duo?

3:31 - Songs they performed

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Partial Transcript: Judy Clements: Primarily, uh, Peter, Paul, and Mary; and Ian and Sylvia; and, oh, what is that, uh, Barry McGuire, uh, he and, I can't remember the other Barry; I can't remember his last name, but they both sang with the Christy Minstrels, and they put out an album –

4:48 - Performing at the Jester Lounge

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: Um, so how did you become associated with the Jester?

Judy Clements: Uh, it was already getting established.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And Ken went out there one afternoon and said, hey, can, can we sing tonight? And the guy, Mack Webster was the owner, and he said, sure.

6:38 - Owners Mack and Barbara Webster

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: Um, so, you said that the owner was, um, Mack Webster; was his wife also involved?

Judy Clements: Say it one more time.

9:58 - Interior of the Jester Lounge

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Partial Transcript: Judy Clements: Uh, it was small to begin with. It couldn't have been – it was probably twice the size of this room.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And the stage was just an afterthought –

14:16 - The Jester regulars

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: Um, so how would you describe the other steady performers?

Judy Clements: Uh, everyone was their own personality.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Frank Davis had what he described as a daddy banjo. It was a tenor snare drum with a Fender guitar neck –

Keywords: Frank Davis, Kay Oslin, Alex Martin, Scott Holtzman, Vivian Holtzman, Sarah Wiggins

16:43 - Recording "Look, It's Us"

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: Um, so can you describe recording "Look, It's Us."

Judy Clements: Uh, we, the song we did, we, we did it and then we did it again just to be sure, and we picked the first cut.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: We didn't get to stay very long. It was perfect. So we said, well that's it, we can't get any better.

17:36 - Performing on "Hoot 'n Holler" and "Midnight with Marietta"

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: Um, all right. Uh, so, you also participated in the “Hoot ‘n Holler” broadcast in 1963.

Judy Clements: That was Channel 2.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

20:17 - John Denver and the Stoneman Family

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Partial Transcript: Judy Clements: John Denver came on his way to somewhere else.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: He sang – I don't know where you go that information, he, he didn't sing there for 3 months.

Keywords: John Denver, Pop Stoneman, Ronnie Stoneman

22:47 - Lightnin' Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: So Lightnin' Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb also played there; especially, Lightnin' Hopkins did.

Judy Clements: Lightnin' for sure.

Norie Guthrie: Um, what were they like?

Keywords: Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb

24:40 - Guy Clark and Kay Oslin

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Partial Transcript: Judy Clements: Well, here we go back being 20 years old again, and we were all 20 years old –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: - so, they were just regulars at the Jester.

Keywords: Guy Clark, K.T. Oslin, Kay Oslin

28:59 - Other performance venues

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: Okay. So, where else did you perform?

Judy Clements: Uh, Foley's would have fashion shows, and we would sing there.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm

30:16 - Life post-Ken and Judy

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Partial Transcript: Norie Guthrie: So, what did you go on to do after Ken and Judy?

Judy Clements: I went to work in a bank.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, uh, we were still singing, but the, the extra shows were dwindling –

0:00

Norie Guthrie: My name is Norie Guthrie from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. I am interviewing Judy Clements, formally Judy Stewart of the folk duo, Ken and Judy. Today is November 7th, 2016. This is part of the Houston Folk Music Archive oral history project.

Judy Clements: Okay.

Norie Guthrie: So, could you tell me a bit about your early life?

Judy Clements: Are we speaking of my childhood early life?

Norie Guthrie: It could be that, or it could just be kind of high school moving on.

Judy Clements: Um, well, the first time I sang was at Oak Forest Elementary School.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And I sang "Secret Love," acapella.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, I guess I always liked to sing. When I was younger, I thought I sounded like Roy Rogers, but I'm sure I didn't. But anyway, uh, then high school, acapella choir.

1:00

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, I guess I was 20, I was, I was not 21 yet, when I met Ken, and he said something about getting together to sing –

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – and that's how that started.

Norie Guthrie: All right. And, about what year was that?

Judy Clements: Would've been '62.

Norie Guthrie: 62?

Judy Clements: Well, actually we went on stage in '63. It was the first time we sang at the Jester was February – it was my brother's birthday –

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – it's the only reason why I remember that; but I wasn't quite 21 yet.

Norie Guthrie: Okay. So, why were you drawn to the genre of folk music?

Judy Clements: Uh, I suppose because it was the up and coming thing. I mean, before that we would do doo wop –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – and then folk music's – you know, it just part of a sign of the times I guess.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: Yeah. It was just easy.

2:00

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: I don't know how else to describe it.

Norie Guthrie: Maybe not as many, like, kind of vocal acrobatics kind of things, perhaps?

Judy Clements: Well, you could get creative with it, but it wasn't – you didn't have to pretend at anything.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: When you got up to sing, you just sang –

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – and if you voice was able to modulate –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – then you did. If not, you stayed there.

Norie Guthrie: Okay. All right.

Judy Clements: Yeah. I guess that would answer that best.

Norie Guthrie: All right. Um, so, you said that, um, Ken approached you and, what, what is Ken's last name?

Judy Clements: Ken Roberts.

Norie Guthrie: Ken Roberts – that he approached you about forming –

Judy Clements: Right.

Norie Guthrie: – a duo?

Judy Clements: Right. We were, we – he was an architect and I was, at the time, runnin' around with a lot of the architect students at U of H, and he went there, and knew a lot of 'em; so, we ended up one Saturday afternoon around the swimming pool, and we weren't singing –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – but he asked me if I liked to sing, and I said, oh, yeah; and 3:00so, he said, well let's see what we can do. And he was tenor and I was second alto, so we were almost the reverse of what we should have been voice-wise –

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – and it gave us a different sound.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, okay.

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: Cool. Um, so can you talk about your act, and, maybe you can – what kind of songs you performed, or you liked to perform?

Judy Clements: Uh, primarily, uh, Peter, Paul, and Mary; and Ian and Sylvia; and, oh, what is that, uh, Barry McGuire, uh, he and, I can't remember the other Barry; I can't remember his last name, but they both sang with the Christy Minstrels, and they put out an album –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – and we borrowed a lot of their music.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And, um, that, really those were the, the three that we, we – 4:00we didn't have an opportunity to be that creative because it wasn't that we came in at the tail end of it –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – but they were already established –

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: – and Houston wasn't. That wasn't – so, yeah.

Norie Guthrie: Right, it, it was kind of right before people really started to do songwriting.

Judy Clements: Yeah, it was before the Beatles.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: That was the end of it.

Norie Guthrie: Um, so what were your favorite songs?

Judy Clements: Uh, "If I Had My Way", which a gentleman by the name of Blind Gary Davis was a reverend, and he's originated it, and then Peter, Paul and Mary picked up on it, and then we followed suit.

Norie Guthrie: Um, so how did you become associated with the Jester?

Judy Clements: Uh, it was already getting established.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And Ken went out there one afternoon and said, hey, can, can we 5:00sing tonight? And the guy, Mack Webster was the owner, and he said, sure.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: So, we sang – and I had just gotten over the flu and, and Ken came over, how you feelin'? Oh, I'm much better now. He said, good, because we're gonna be singin' Friday night; and I went, oh no, I'm still sick. But we did, we sang that Friday night.

Norie Guthrie: How did you feel for that first performance?

Judy Clements: Scared.

Norie Guthrie: Yeah?

Judy Clements: I did not open my eyes the first 3 months that we sang.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, wow.

Judy Clements: I just, I, and, Ken said, whatever it takes, do it. So, I'd sing with my eyes closed. Very, very stage shy.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm. So, then, um, I guess after the 3 months, you just became a little bit more –

Judy Clements: Yeah –

Norie Guthrie: – used to it?

Judy Clements: – I was, yeah, I figured, oh good they're not gonna hit with a tomato, so, so I relaxed a little bit each – it got easier each time.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm. Did you – when you all performed, did you tell, did 6:00you sometimes do some, tell some stories, or –

Judy Clements: Ken –

Norie Guthrie: - do a little bit of back and forth?

Judy Clements: – when Ken would introduce – he really had the rapport with the audience.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And he would introduce the songs and I would add a little here and there, but nothing – I mean, Ken was, he was the leader, and I followed. I don't know how else to, to describe that.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: But he, he was very, he was a funny guy. He kept the audience on their toes, that was good.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, that's good, that’s good.

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: Um, so, you said that the owner was, um, Mack Webster; was his wife also involved?

Judy Clements: Say it one more time.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, you said the owner was Mack Webster; was his wife also involved?

Judy Clements: Right, Barbara –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – uh, was the – she hated it, but he would make her wear, not lace stockings, web stockings.

Norie Guthrie: Oh.

Judy Clements: She had to look like she was a jester; and so finally, she said, –

7:00

Norie Guthrie: Oh, wow.

Judy Clements: – I am not doing this anymore; so she just wore regular clothes.

Norie Guthrie: So she had to wear it motley?

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: The, oh, wow.

Judy Clements: Oh, yeah, well she didn't think so. She hated it.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, oh wow.

Judy Clements: Yeah, it was a little bit.

Norie Guthrie: What was, um, what was he like?

Judy Clements: Uh, he was very easy to get along with. He, he, he ran the Jester, I mean, nobody talked when, when people were on stage singing.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: That was just Rule No. 1; and not only he would tell everybody to be quiet, but the rest of the audience would.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: If somebody started, you know, too many beers, got a little bit loud, shh, shh, shh, you know, so they would – it was, it was a, it was a place that's like no other.

Norie Guthrie: Okay, so kind of, I guess, could be compared to, um, Anderson Fair; which is a bit of a listening room, and so there's – right before it starts, um, Tim Leatherwood gets up on the stage, the owner, and he tells you –

8:00

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: – that you have to turn down your cell phones; that there's no –

Judy Clements: Okay, there –

Norie Guthrie: – like, conversations.

Judy Clements: – there weren't any cell phones back then.

Norie Guthrie: Right, there weren’t those.

Judy Clements: We didn't have that problem.

Norie Guthrie: But, yeah, it's also really quiet.

Judy Clements: Yeah, it's basically the same.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: Same thing.

Norie Guthrie: Interesting.

Judy Clements: Uh, the audience was, they were, they were all of the same age –

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – and so, you know, we, our rapport was easy with them, with them.

Norie Guthrie: Were, were they generally like in their 20s or 30s, or?

Judy Clements: Oh, early 20s.

Norie Guthrie: Early 20s, okay.

Judy Clements: And into their 30s, but, I mean, if somebody was in their mid 30s it was rare.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: It was a young group.

Norie Guthrie: 'Cause I, I, I guess I wondered if some of the people from the Houston Folklore Society might have attended those kinds –

Judy Clements: Well, John Lomax would come out and sing.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: But, uh, I think the, the society really – well, no because 9:00Alan wrote the book, his brother, Alan, uh, but John would come out and, and Lightnin', usually John would bring Lightnin' out.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And then John would, you know, perform also.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: It was really quite an – it's so funny because when you're living the moment, you don't realize what, that, what's going on; it's just another day.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: And it's, and in retrospect, it's, it was pretty phenomenal.

Norie Guthrie: Yeah, I mean, it –

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: – that and the Houston Folklore Society kind of sowed the seeds of all the folk music that came out for the next –

Judy Clements: Uh huh.

Norie Guthrie: – 20 years.

Judy Clements: Uh huh.

Norie Guthrie: So. It, it is really interesting.

Judy Clements: Yeah, it's, it's very interesting. I wish Guy was still with us. I'm, I miss him terribly.

Norie Guthrie: What did the Jester look like inside?

Judy Clements: Uh, it was small to begin with. It couldn't have been – it was 10:00probably twice the size of this room.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And the stage was just an afterthought –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – I mean it wasn’t even that high.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: He had a red light and a blue light –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – for our lights, and a microphone, obviously, uh, and you had to step over people to get to the stage, until the fire chief came out and said, this can't happen anymore. So, but it was that packed that literally you had to step – they were sitting on the floor.

Norie Guthrie: Floor – okay.

Judy Clements: And, um, so, then, Mack decided to make it bigger and it lost its charisma.

Norie Guthrie: Mm.

Judy Clements: It's weird. Course also, The Beatles were comin' on about that time too.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: And now I understand, maybe it isn't anymore, but it became a Mexican restaurant.

11:00

Norie Guthrie: Oh, okay.

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: So, were, was there any seating, or was there just people sitting on the floor? Were there chairs?

Judy Clements: No, there were tables with the –

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – with your candle, the red candle –

Norie Guthrie: Uh huh.

Judy Clements: – yeah, to, I guess take care of the smoke, and, and, yeah, there were, there were just small tables everywhere.

Norie Guthrie: Okay, and then people would just kind of fill in the spaces to sit down.

Judy Clements: Yeah, well, until the fire department said, you can't do that. So, they would have to wait outside when some people were leaving to, you know, however many were leaving, those, that many more can go, could go in.

Norie Guthrie: And, so –

Judy Clements: It's really, it was amazing when I think about it.

Norie Guthrie: – And yeah, so, it was open Fridays and Saturdays, or more days?

Judy Clements: Uh, it was open every night.

Norie Guthrie: Every night.

Judy Clements: Sunday night was, uh, open mic –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – and it was our only night off really; we were open Friday night and – well, during the week until midnight, Friday night until 2:00, 12:00Saturday night until 3:00.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And then open mic for anybody.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: They said I was never there, so, it's all hearsay, but they said Janis Joplin sang there.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And I –

Norie Guthrie: During, during an open mic?

Judy Clements: Right.

Norie Guthrie: Okay. Um, so, it did serve beer, and then I read that you could also bring in mixers if you wanted to.

Judy Clements: Yes. You brought your own bottle.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: I mean, this was back in, when Houston didn't have open, you didn't have drinks over the counter.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: You know. It was funny. We were a very backward town.

Norie Guthrie: It was dry, dry then?

Judy Clements: Well, it wasn't dry –

Norie Guthrie: Not dry –

Judy Clements: – they, they sold beer and they sold wine –

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: – and they sold setups, but you had to bring your own whisky.

Norie Guthrie: Okay. Okay.

Judy Clements: Mm hmm. It was, yeah.

Norie Guthrie: All right.

Judy Clements: It's Houston in early 60s –

13:00

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: – so what can I say?

Norie Guthrie: And then, do you know about the time that the Jester closed?

Judy Clements: Uh, probably, I think probably early '64.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: I mean, it, when The Beatles came, that, I mean, it just, it was one night packed and then the next night, where is everybody.

Norie Guthrie: Mkay.

Judy Clements: It was weird.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: But, anyway.

Norie Guthrie: 'Cause I think, I assume then after that, Sand Mountain then popped up?

Judy Clements: Sand Mountain, yeah, picked up the slack, but it never, it never packed 'em in either.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: I mean, it just, The Beatles did a number on us.

Norie Guthrie: Did you ever play at Sand Mountain?

Judy Clements: Uh uh. Ken did.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, okay.

Judy Clements: But I didn't.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm. All right.

Judy Clements: In fact, I knew John Carrick, and his mother was the one that opened it.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: So, but –

Norie Guthrie: Yeah, Ma Carrick as she's referred to? I see online, it's Ma Carrick.

Judy Clements: I did not know that.

14:00

Norie Guthrie: Yeah.

Judy Clements: Oh, that's funny.

Norie Guthrie: It seems like that's the way that she's referred to in general.

Judy Clements: Huh. Okay.

Norie Guthrie: Yeah.

Judy Clements: Back then, it was Mrs., but. Funny times, times are funny.

Norie Guthrie: Um, so how would you describe the other steady performers?

Judy Clements: Uh, everyone was their own personality.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Frank Davis had what he described as a daddy banjo. It was a tenor snare drum with a Fender guitar neck –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – and it was very loud, but a lot of fun, and he, his voice was not Vaughn Monroe –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – so it went well with his daddy banjo. Uh, Kay had an absolutely beautiful voice.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: She was soprano at, at the beginning; now as KT Oslin, she – well, she had a register that went everywhere.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: But, she lowered the register –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – range. Uh, Scott and Vivian; Vivian wasn't on stage that 15:00much. Scott was on quite a bit. They were remarkable songwriters.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, one time, I don't know, it was Scott and Vivian, and Ken and I got on out on stage, we'd never done it before, but we sang "Oh Great God You Done Given Me Pain" –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – which was one of their songs.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, and the audience was, wow, we didn't know, you know – who's that lady; and that lady was Vivian.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, wow, okay.

Judy Clements: Yeah, it was fun. It was time out of time.

Norie Guthrie: Right. Right.

Judy Clements: Yeah. ‘Kay, one of the other regulars there was Alex Martin, and he was from Marathon, Texas, talked about it quite a bit; but when he would talk about it, he would stutter, and the audience was, was hanging on every word 16:00until he finally got it all out, and then he would strike the guitar, and just the most beautiful voice. He would sing "I Am a Pilgrim", primarily that Jimmy Rogers-type music.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Not really western and not really folk.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Just in between.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And he was, he was quite an attraction for the audience too. There, they, Sarah Wiggins made the comment, "It's like we came out of the woodwork all at the same time, and then we all went away." It was funny.

Norie Guthrie: Um, so can you describe recording "Look, It's Us."

Judy Clements: Uh, we, the song we did, we, we did it and then we did it again just to be sure, and we picked the first cut.

17:00

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: We didn't get to stay very long. It was perfect. So we said, well that's it, we can't get any better.

Norie Guthrie: What was the song that you selected?

Judy Clements: Um, what song was it, Baron? What's the song on the album?

Other Speaker: "Santiano."

Judy Clements: Oh, "Santiano."

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: “Maximillian's daughter has my love,” okay, I won't sing it.

Norie Guthrie: You can if you'd like.

Judy Clements: No, that's all right. I need Ken.

Norie Guthrie: Um, all right. Uh, so, you also participated in the “Hoot ‘n Holler” broadcast in 1963.

Judy Clements: That was Channel 2.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And Mary Jane Vandiver was – I don't know what she, I don't think she went by that name. She was the princess lady –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – for the little kids, and every once in awhile, like Thanksgiving, the program before Thanksgiving Day, it was aired for Thanksgiving, we sang one time; Jenny, uh, Pais, [sp.]I guess at the time, had a show, and we sang one time at her's; and Marietta was, had a, Marietta Marich had a show –

18:00

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – at midnight –

Norie Guthrie: Ok, okay.

Judy Clements: – at Channel 2 called “Midnight with Marietta”; and she would ask us to come over, you know, between sets, because at the Jester on Friday night, we sang until 2:00 and Saturday until 3:00. It was a long weekend.

Norie Guthrie: Yeah.

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: That's, that's really late.

Judy Clements: Well, yeah, well, when you're 20 years old, yeah, it's a little different.

Norie Guthrie: Right. It's just that, it's still is, even to this day, I mean, that's a pretty – 'till 3:00 a.m. is a pretty light, late night, for a club to be open.

Judy Clements: Yeah, well, and the club had, had to shut down the liquor –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hm.

Judy Clements: – at midnight, but it would serve coffee; and people really came to hear the music. They didn't come to drink.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Which probably disappointed Mack, but, he, he made a little bit 19:00up front, what, the $5.00 entrance fee, but that was it.

Norie Guthrie: Okay. Um, oh, so back to that “Hoot ‘n Holler” broadcast; um, what was that like? You know, we don't, you know, we have, uh, the audio for it, but we don't have the video, so, it's really unclear, like, what's happening, what kind of sets there were, that kind of thing.

Judy Clements: Okay. We would sing to the camera –

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – because there wasn't an audience there.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: So we had to, you know, you're the audience, –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – and, and then they would play it during “Mary Jane's Magic Castle” time.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And/or “Midnight with Marietta”; but that was usually, uh, uh, “Midnight with Marietta” was a live show.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: Mary Jane's was video.

Norie Guthrie: Okay. Um, so, I've read that non Jester Lounge regulars would 20:00sometimes use the venue as a place to work on their craft. Um, so, two things that I saw that were mentioned was that, um, Pop Stoman, um, Stoneman had come for around 6 months and then that John Denver same to the club for about 3 months.

Judy Clements: John Denver came on his way to somewhere else.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: He sang – I don't know where you go that information, he, he didn't sing there for 3 months.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: I mean, he sang there one night and he was –

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – John Dieseldorf.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: He hadn't even gotten the Denver name yet.

Norie Guthrie: Right. Okay.

Judy Clements: I mean, he was just starting out.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm. Okay. And then, Pop Stoneman, though, was there?

Judy Clements: The Stoneman Family.

Norie Guthrie: The Stoneman Family.

Judy Clements: Yes, they were established, but they were from, I think they were from Kentucky, and they were just touring the southwest I suppose.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And stopped at the Jester; and I guess they sang maybe three weekends.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, okay. All right. So, did you learn anything for them, from 21:00them, or interact with them at all, or?

Judy Clements: Uh, interacted with them, but I – when you're 20 years old you're not thinking to yourself, well, I wanna learn from this guy; you just didn't.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: But, the interaction was good between – John Denver, we just went, mm, I don't think so because somebody commented backstage what a nice guitar he had, and he said, thanks, I got it off a blind pawnshop owner; and we thought – but he had just come off the stage saying, be kind to your fellow man.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And we thought, you're a hypocrite. We were not impressed with John Denver.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Anyway.

Norie Guthrie: And, and then Stoneman, what was the family like?

Judy Clements: Uh, they, they were Pop Stoneman – Ronnie played a banjo that, this was a girl, I mean, she could play a banjo, uh, and I think there were two 22:00brothers, one played the stand-up bass, the other played guitar, one of the girls played mandolin and, and I can't remember her name, but Ronnie impressed me 'cause, I mean, she would just do that –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – and you're just, you're mesmerized watching her fingers go and the music that she produced was incredible. In fact, later on, she was on the, uh, “Roy Clark Show.”

Norie Guthrie: Oh, okay. Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: But he didn't give her the airtime I thought she deserved because I think there was a little bit of professional jealousy there because he played banjo.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: It was very interesting.

Norie Guthrie: So Lightnin' Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb also played there; especially, Lightnin' Hopkins did.

Judy Clements: Lightnin' for sure.

Norie Guthrie: Um, what were they like?

Judy Clements: Very, um, this is the early 60s, I'm gonna say very humble.

23:00

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Uh, they, now Mance Lipscomb to my knowledge never played at the Jester.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: We went, we went to Stephen F. Austin –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: - one night because he was scheduled to sing there for one of their big folk music evenings, and he got sick, so they called – well at the time the Rum Runners were there also; they said call Ken and Judy and see if they can come up; so, we went up and filled in –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: - for him, which I considered it a compliment.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: 'Cause he was established.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Anyway.

Norie Guthrie: And then a, do you have any kind of interesting Lightnin' Hopkins stories, or anything that you kind of took away from your interactions with him?

Judy Clements: Well, this didn't pertain to me; Vivian –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: - had beautiful nails, and she would, her finger polish was pearl white.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hm.

Judy Clements: And, one of Lightnin's friends brought, I guess they weren't 24:00bongos, they were, and they weren't kettle drums, but they were stand-up drums –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: - and she was doing that on the drums backstage, and they were just mesmerized watching her because her nails were so pretty anyway; she had pretty hands. And, that's what I remember, going, wow.

Norie Guthrie: Um, so during your time as a Jester Lounge regular, you played with other people that were there most, many times, and they went on to major careers, like Guy Clark and KT Oslin. How would you describe them at the time?

Judy Clements: Well, here we go back being 20 years old again, and we were all 20 years old –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: - so, they were just regulars at the Jester.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: I mean, it wasn't – at that age, you don't project into the future.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: You know, and so, we were all just there singin' at the Jester for $5.00 a night, $7.50 on the weekends.

25:00

Norie Guthrie: Well, did you, did you guys hang out after, um, 'cause, I guess the, we had mentioned this earlier, that the parking lot was a place to kinda hang out.

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: Did you guys hang out there, or go to other places?

Judy Clements: We would, we would, we would go out there because – well, first of all, there was no place to practice –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: - so, we would practice out, out by the cars, but, and it wasn't that we were stealing the audience 'cause there were other people playing –

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: - but a lot of times the audience – we would gather –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: - people while we practiced.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: I mean, the other place we used to practice a lot was right – there's a bench right where the, the fountains are at the Mecom Fountains –

Norie Guthrie: Oh, yeah?

Judy Clements: - and we used to go there and practice singing there a lot.

Norie Guthrie: Wow.

Judy Clements: And it was fun.

26:00

Norie Guthrie: That's interesting.

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: Hm. Why, why did you guys choose that spot?

Judy Clements: Well, because we figured nobody could hear us. It was, it was different.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, and we liked the, the idea of, hey, let's go sing over there, you know. Well, when you're 20 years old, you do funny things.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, not even funny, I just think it's just, it's just an –

Judy Clements: It's different.

Norie Guthrie: - but it, but it's a really peaceful place.

Judy Clements: Oh, yes.

Norie Guthrie: Right, and so, and I –

Judy Clements: Even with the cars going by it, it created, it was a quiet –

Norie Guthrie: – Right. No, because it, I mean, it, Mecom Fountain is kind of an interesting little spot.

Judy Clements: – Uh huh.

Norie Guthrie: You know, and so, no, I could see that that would be –

Judy Clements: Yeah, it was a –

Norie Guthrie: – a place to practice.

Judy Clements: – fun thing to do.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, interesting. Um, do you have any, um, just to kinda push you on this a little bit, um, do you have any kind of stories about Guy or Kay Oslin?

Judy Clements: Uh, Kay and I – Kay lived, okay, I lived on Briarglen, she lived on Bancroft, and we decided we were gonna walk to the grocery store and get a baking potato, lettuce, and tomato, and a steak and take it back and, and have our early dinner.

27:00

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: So, we're cooking, and we were at Kay's apartment, and we're watching “Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal” while we were cooking our food, and we interrupt this program to bring you an important message, John F. Kennedy has been shot; and we were just, whoa; we didn't know what to do. We ended up walking from her apartment all the way over to Highland Village.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: 'Cau – we just didn't know what to do with ourselves.

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: It was very interesting. I think everybody remember – if, you probably weren't born yet –

Norie Guthrie: I wasn't born yet, but, as, as –

Judy Clements: – Yeah, you wouldn't remember.

Norie Guthrie: – I, I’ve had experiences yeah.

Judy Clements: Yeah.

Norie Guthrie: Like 9-11, that kind of thing, yeah.

Judy Clements: Yeah, be the same thing

Norie Guthrie: Right. Um, you had mentioned, um, before we started recording 28:00that Guy Clark had lived with, um, Ken.

Judy Clements: Ken, yes.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And they lived across the street from my apartment.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, Guy always, he didn't wear 'em on stage, but if he wasn't on stage, he wore flip flops. It didn't matter what time of the year it was or, and that was before flip flops were in.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Anyway, but, I, I just, I don't know why I fixated on that, but it, I did. What're you doin' in those funny shoes. I didn't say that to him, but – Guy was a nice, nice person.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Very, very nice, and so was Ken.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: We – actually, there wasn’t anybody at the Jester that, that wasn't a decent person. All of them were. It was kind of a good combination of everybody.

Norie Guthrie: Okay. So, where else did you perform?

29:00

Judy Clements: Uh, Foley's would have fashion shows, and we would sing there.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And we Rallied for the Alley was trying to do matching funds with the Ford Foundation to build the new Alley Theater –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – back then. Um, so we would sing at different shopping malls to get the crowd to contribute to Rally for the Alley.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Uh, that's really basically – “Midnight with Marietta” and, well, that's really the only place – there weren't that many places to sing in Houston back then.

Norie Guthrie: So, how long did you and Ken stay together as a duo?

Judy Clements: Uh, probably right at 2 years, maybe 2 and a half –

30:00

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: – because the Beatles came about that time, and it really shut folk music down. It really did.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Very sad.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But – that was the end of that.

Norie Guthrie: So, what did you go on to do after Ken and Judy?

Judy Clements: I went to work in a bank.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, uh, we were still singing, but the, the extra shows were dwindling –

Norie Guthrie: Right.

Judy Clements: – so, the extra money was dwindling. So, I went back – what I did, was get the phonebook out and, and do my bus route. I didn't have a car at the time. Did the bus route at every bank that was on my bus route.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And I'd call up, are you all hiring; and Central National Bank was. So, I got on the bus, went, and went down there and got hired. So that's where I worked for quite awhile.

Norie Guthrie: Okay. Until the 7, sometime in the 70s, or?

Judy Clements: Uh, when Baron told me I didn't have to work anymore. Well, after that, I went to work at Caudill Rowlett Scott, an architectural firm.

31:00

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, I guess I worked there almost 4 years.

Norie Guthrie: Okay.

Judy Clements: And then Baron said, you don't have to work anymore if you don't want to and I went good.

Norie Guthrie: Well, is there anything else that you would, from that time period, that you would like to talk about?

Judy Clements: Well, okay, life goes on, and it's almost Christmastime, and Baron said to me, what would you like for Christmas? Well, I had a horse when I was a teenager.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And so I said, hmm, I think I'd like to have another horse. So he said, okay. And, so he found a horse, a black colt, 2 year-old colt, went to, told the man he'd take him. He was gonna wait to go, you know, to make arrangements to have him –

32:00

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – brought to the barn where I was gonna stall him; and when he went to pick him up, he had sold him out from under Baron; and Baron was quite upset and so was I, but it was kinda like, that's okay, we'll find another horse.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And I found a sweet little chestnut Arabian filly; and her name was Finale; and the reason being was she was the last product from her sire.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And, that was the final baby that he had. And she was wonderful. She was, uh – it went from there to one horse, two horse, three horse, three, four, and then finally Baron said, you know, we're payin' a lot of money, we need to get a farm. So, we bought a farm up by Brenham.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, okay.

Judy Clements: And, it wasn't like I had thought it would be. I saw myself sitting on the porch drinking my mint julep while the horses were out grazing in 33:00the manicured pasture, and we didn't think about cleaning the stalls, and bringing the horses in, but that's what it amounted to; and it was good work. It was, it was good work.

Judy Clements: Oh yeah. We showed.

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: And one horse in – well, two horses in particular, one was English Pleasure, and the other was Western Pleasure –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – and both of 'em – we went to, we went to the Nationals with the English Pleasure, didn't, we didn't take Flash to the Nationals, I don't know why, but anyway, we were, I have a whole bucket full, it's a, it's a copper cook- the crab thing –

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: – it's full of ribbons.

Norie Guthrie: Oh, wow.

Judy Clements: And a lot of times, I'll take the ribbons out for my little nieces and nephews for their birthday presents, I'll wrap 'em in one of those ribbons. They go I got a first-prize ribbon. It's fun. Anyway, uh, I can't think of anything else. The horses, we still have the farm.

34:00

Norie Guthrie: Mm hmm.

Judy Clements: Um, and I love it. I love living in the country, but I like to come back to Houston too since they have better restaurants.

Norie Guthrie: Well, thank you so much for coming in.

Judy Clements: Oh, thank you for inviting me.

Norie Guthrie: This is –

Judy Clements: It's really been – it was a lot of fun.

Norie Guthrie: – Good, I'm glad.

Judy Clements: A lot of fun. Tripping down memory lane.