January 15, 1979

venue: Soap Creek Saloon
place: Austin, TX
country: USA

the band:
Marcia Ball - vocals, piano
Bobby Earl Smith - bass, occasional vocals
John Reed - guitar
David Cook - sax, pedal steel guitar, accordian
Steve McDaniels - drums

featuring Doug Sahm



Taken from http://www.fredafiredogs.com/reviews.html :

Austin American-Statesman

Once upon a time, before Austin was touted as "Nashville West," before Redneck Chic and Outlaw Music, there was a band in this town called Freda and the Firedogs.

They played a soulful, energetic amalgam of country music and rock 'n' roll with elements of blues, Cajun and Tex-Mex tossed in for good measure - that tore down the barriers between partisans of the two forms and fostered the climate in which the now famous Austin Sound bloomed.

Because of Freda and the Firedogs, young long-hairs began to feel it was safe to patronize country dance halls and older, straighter country fans began to visit rock clubs. The age and lifestyle differences that seemed so large to so many vanished when Freda and the Firedogs began to play. "Those kids were so good, everybody just had to love them," recalled one old fan Monday night when Freda and the Firedogs got together at Soap Creek Saloon for the first time in nearly four years.

Their performance before the packed house demonstrated why Freda and the Firedogs enjoyed such a fanatical following during their three-year existence, why the rule of thumb in those days was to arrive by 8 if the band was due onstage at 9 and you wanted a seat. The band crackled with more than enough energy to offset the occasional rough spots in its playing.

The large crowd kept the dance floor jammed until well after the bar had closed. Marcia Ball - Freda - said she saw people she hadn't since the band's last gig in 1975, and for both performers and fans it was a night of pleasant nostalgia for a scene and a feeling that's slipping away.

"If you were here in 1972, you were lucky," said Doug Sahm who hopped on stage to do five tunes. When Sahm moved to Austin in 1972, he regularly played with Freda and the Firedogs. "There was magic in the air when they played," Sahm added. "That doesn't happen very often."

The original cast of Freda and the Firedogs was on hand Monday to recapture some of that magic. Besides Marcia Ball, who played piano and sang beautifully, there was frizzy-haired lead guitarist John Reed breathing life into rockabilly tunes with a voice tailor-made for that style; Bobby Earl Smith, a teenage heartthrob in the band's heyday, offering melodious bass lines and occasional vocals; versatile David Cook moving easily between sax, pedal steel guitar and accordian; and drummer Steve McDaniel, providing the steady, driving backbeat that held it all together.

When It was over, they went their separate ways again. But for a few hours in a place that also will be gone soon, Freda and the Firedogs brought a lot of people together and made them very happy. Which is the stuff legends, especially this band's, are made of.

Joe Frolik
Austin American-Statesman
January 17, 1979