remembering Denny Freeman

“It’s gettin’ dark, too dark for me to see”
“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan (1973)

tl;dr an attempt at a tribute to Denny, my memories from 1969-73

Denny Freeman’s legacy is being thoroughly covered after we lost him Sunday:

There are also older articles and interviews being cited anew:

My intent here is to offer my own memories, based on working with Denny in 1971, in that pivotal year for me.

I think I first met Denny in late 1969, when he, Jimmie Vaughan, and others came to the Vulcan Gas Company. I’m told that he credited Jerry Barnett and me for being especially friendly to those folks from Dallas, but I don’t remember doing anything special then, nor do I recall Denny telling me that directly.

By early 1971 I was leaving behind my ambitions as full-time musician and beginning to become engrossed with computer studies, thinking “playing in bars, night after night just don’t seem to make it“. But when later that year Chuck Joyce asked me to play with “Mullet”, telling me that Denny was joining, how could I say no? So every Friday and Saturday I’d cram my bass, amp, and cabinets into the back seat of my ’64 Beetle and wander through West Lake Hills to play with Denny, Chuck and Julie. The music made it worth it, as did some of the guests that sat in, including Kenneth Threadgill and Jimmie Vaughan. We got to play for Jane Fonda at a private party and on air at KLRU. I think I made more money, more consistently, than any other time before or since playing music. But computers were even more engaging to me then, and when my mentor, Prof. Angus Pearson, offered me a teaching assistant position at UT CS department starting January 1972, it was time to leave Mullet.

My last substantive work with Denny was in February 1973 when Jerry Wexler commissioned demo tapes of Southern Feeling and I got to be the engineer.

I lost touch with Denny until I re-engaged with him on Facebook some years ago. In December 2018 I went to three of his gigs, at Saxon Pub, C-Boy’s, and Antones, delighted to hear him play in such different styles. Nobody knew he was ill until he went to ER April 4. A week ago Monday I was stunned to hear he was in hospice, now know he had been there since the 15th, and now Denny is gone in a period of 21 days. RIP

January 22, 2022 updated.

August 8, 2022:

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