Margaret Moser Tribute: Lou Ann Barton

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


Margaret, Lou Ann Barton, and Kim Wilson at the 1987 Austin Music Awards, Austin Opera House (Photo by Martha Grenon)

I met Margaret when I started working with the [Fabulous] Thunderbirds. She was 20, so I was 20, ’cause we’re the same age. This was when Antone’s opened in 1975. I didn’t know anyone in that crowd, really. I knew the guys. Angela Strehli, Margaret Moser, Susan Antone, and Diana Ray were the first four girls that reached out to say hello – and be my friend. Because I don’t think I was very well-liked: “Oh God, the Thunderbirds have hired a girl singer.”

I wasn’t in the Thunderbirds very long – about six, eight months. I went back up to Fort Worth and worked at the Bluebird Cafe with Mike Buck, Freddie Cisneros, and Robert Ealey, but I wanted to come back to Austin. I’d heard that Stevie [Ray Vaughan] was tired of being in the Cobras, so I told him, “Why don’t you quit the Cobras? You don’t like it anymore, and you and I can start a band.”

We did. We got our dream players: W.C. Clark, Jackie Newhouse, Mike Kindred, and Freddie Walden on drums. And at this time, there was no Austin Chronicle. There was the fabulous Rumors, Gossip, Lies & Dreams magazine [laughs]. I was crashing between Denny Freeman and Keith Ferguson’s house, and one day, Stevie walks in the door with a copy of Rumors, Gossip, Lies & Dreams and says, “When did you write this!?” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” It was this little article Margaret had written, and it said something like, “Lou Ann Barton is back and she’s put together a new band with Stevie.”

Well, Stevie was infuriated. “This is not your band. This is our band! My band.” Margaret had gotten wind of the band and she had written the article on her own – hadn’t asked me or anything. She loved me. We loved each other, and there she was, already in my corner.

Last year, I needed a new bio. I knew she was ill, but by the time I got with her, she was already on drugs where she told me, “This is what they give you when there’s nothing else they can do.” She still wanted to write that bio.

Well, she wrote stuff in there that she knew about me before she even met me. Stuff that had been in Texas Monthly about a 17-year-old blues belter out of Fort Worth, Texas. Something she had read I wasn’t even aware existed. She knew dates. The girl knew dates – and years.

“Write me something I can use the rest of my life,” I told her, “because nobody can run down my whole career and everything that’s happened to me better than you. You know it all. You wrote about every point. You lived it with me.”

I will use it the rest of my life.

  • Margaret Moser Tribute: Leader of the Pack

    The importance of being Margaret Moser as told to 23 of 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”

    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

    Denny Freeman

    Remembering that “little blues cult”

    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

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Margaret Moser, Lou Ann Barton, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rumors, Gossip, Lies & Dreams, Angela Strehli, Diana Ray, Susan Antone, Raoul Hernandez, Margaret Moser Tribute

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