Margaret Moser Tribute: Denny Freeman

Remembering that “little blues cult”

Photo by David Brendan Hall

My first memory of Margaret was at Alexander's Place, in maybe 1974. Alexander's was a small BBQ joint, in a small community called Kitchenville, if I remember correctly, on Brodie Lane – "the country." If you knew about it and came there, you were almost automatically in our little blues cult. Because of its size and remoteness and being a black-owned place in a black community, almost everyone that went there was known to us or became known to us before long.

Most folks at the time didn't know or care about us, or blues in general. We certainly had our small following, made up of lovely people, but in the early Seventies, even Stevie and Jimmie [Vaughan] were relatively unknown. Even though there was blues in Austin before us Dallas boys came down, in 1970 much of it had dwindled and locals were more interested in the other things. Margaret taking an interest, and eventually writing about it, was significant.

And she didn't just write about it. She championed it. She wasn't the only writer to write about blues, but from time to time through the years, Margaret would write something to remind everyone of our contribution to the Austin music world.

The Seventies, in my opinion, was when Austin became a "music town." The great thing was that it wasn't planned. It just happened because people from all over the country started hearing about Austin and moving here, and that included many musicians. As the decade advanced, more and more music was being developed here. Willie came, Antone's, and so did Austin's rep as a "blues town." So many exciting things were being developed, organically. Margaret's writing about the music helped so many others discover it.

It would be hard to describe Margaret in a few words, but if I had to use just one, I'd choose "sweet."

  • Margaret Moser Tribute: Leader of the Pack

    The importance of being Margaret Moser as told by her peers, mentors & protégés
  • Susan Antone

    “If I could do in my lifetime half of what she’s done, I’d be a happy person”

    Marcia Ball

    “She’s a music writer who writes to enlighten”

    Lou Ann Barton

    The blues belter on what it's like to have your career chronicled by the best

    Ray Benson

    Soap Creek Saloon on a 10-cent tequila night

    Alice Berry

    On the Texas Blondes: “We were just cute girls who liked cute bands”

    John Cale

    Velvet Underground co-founder on first meet: “Up walks a petite blonde with all the swagger of someone 10 feet tall”

    Alvin Crow

    Summer camp with the kids

    Joe Doerr

    Pulling out a seat at Austin music’s banquet table

    Joe Ely

    “She always stirred up whatever trouble there was”

    Roky Erickson

    On Margaret’s personal and passionate way of writing about music

    Alejandro Escovedo

    “Her love for the Velvet Underground and John Cale was the same as I had”

    Rosie Flores

    “Austin wouldn’t be Austin if it wasn’t for Margaret”

    Gary Floyd

    Promoting punk, Austin, Texas-style

    Chris Gates

    The power of print – and a 20-inch dildo

    Eliza Gilkyson

    The best advice she ever received? Keep your dogs clean.

    Jon Dee Graham

    A champion of Austin music – and Austin music writers

    Emily Gimble

    “She’s such a positive force in the world”

    Warren Hood

    “She’s the coolest, hippest lady”

    Tamir Kalifa

    Mother Falcon's mama bear

    Barbara K

    The power of music for fixing things and opening hearts
  • Chris Layton

    Antone’s, 1979: Hurricane Margaret blows in

    Paddy Moloney

    "You felt you were in safe hands with Margaret"

    Jason McMaster

    “She’s as metal as anyone – maybe even more”

    Augie Meyers

    “You can’t replace Margaret. There’s no more people like her.”

    Eve Monsees

    The confidence booster

    Derek O'Brien

    A great writer, and a great partier, too

    Rose Reyes

    “She was the leadership in Austin journalism that made sure women, Latinos, blacks, and youth weren’t overlooked”

    The Rolling Stones

    That Margaret Moser, she’s a rainbow

    Shawn & Shandon Sahm

    Beautiful Texas sunshine

    Larry Seaman

    “I don’t want to be greedy, but I want a little more time”

    Charlie Sexton

    The United Nations of Margaret

    Jeff Smith

    The case for San Antonio as the true heart of Texas music

    Angela Strehli

    “Margaret was always exuberant, cherubic, and mischievous simultaneously”

    Jesse Sublett

    When the Queen calls, you come

    Tiarra Girls

    “She will always be such an important part of our story”

    Kathy Valentine

    Right place, right time, right woman to share the joy with

    Jimmie Vaughan

    “Everything back then felt like us versus them – and she was one of us”

    Patricia Vonne

    Shine a light

    Monte Warden

    The career kick-starter

    Lucinda Williams

    The life of the party

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Margaret Moser
Playback: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
Live reviews of Big Bill, Protextor, Black Fret Ball, and Margaret Moser’s memorial concert

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 15, 2017

Playback: Margaret Moser’s Final Act
Playback: Margaret Moser’s Final Act
Margaret Moser tribute concert, following Black Fret's money, and a last chance to nominate locals in the Austin Music Poll – this week!

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 8, 2017

More Denny Freeman
Review: Denny Freeman, <i>The Amazing Denny Freeman</i>
Review: Denny Freeman, The Amazing Denny Freeman
CD set compiles two long-out-of-print albums by the late guitarist

Jay Trachtenberg, Dec. 29, 2023

Phases & Stages
Denny Freeman
Diggin' On Dylan (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, Nov. 23, 2012

More by Bill Bentley
Beyond the Horizon with Denny Freeman
Beyond the Horizon with Denny Freeman
Austin lodestar offered the theories of life through a guitar

April 27, 2021

The Half-Century Psych of Shiva's Headband
The Half-Century Psych of Shiva's Headband
13th Floor Elevators weren't the only act exploring Austin's outer limits – and still doing so

Dec. 1, 2017


Margaret Moser, Denny Freeman, Alexander's Place, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Antone's, Willie Nelson, Bill Bentley, Margaret Moser Tribute

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle