VASQUEZ, Moses Steve|
Moses Steve Vasquez, of Austin, passed away on on August 13, 2014
Moses was born in Austin on September 2, 1923. He attended school in the Austin Independent School District. Moses was married to Carmen Villasana and they were married for 60 years.
Moses is survived by his daughter Catherine Vasquez Revilla and her daughter Diane Gabrielle Revilla; Diane Valera and her husband Dr. Juan Valera, and their children, Carmen Valera, Juan Valera, Jose Valera, Robert Valera and Colombina Valera; daughter Peggy Vasquez, and her daughter Gabrielle Baumeyer; and his youngest son Zachary Vasquez; and the children of his recently departed son Robert Vasquez; Elaine Alba, Harlan Villasana and granddaughter Kelly McDermott. Moses is also lovingly remembered by his brother Tony Vasquez and his sister Dolores Easton.
Moses is preceded in death by his wife Carmen; his son Robert Vasquez and grandchildren, Monica and Felicia Vasquez
Moses was the founder of the original Tamale House at 1st and Congress in Austin, Texas. Apart from his family and business the greatest passion of his life was Tejano and Country music.
He was honored at the 2006 Alma Awards at the Broken Spoke, receiving the lifetime achievement award from the Austin Latin Music Association. In his acceptance speech, Vasquez recalled the careers of many of his colleagues whose sound, called Conjunto, would help inspire the evolution of Tejano music for generations to come. "I was on the road with Beto Villa, the best Latin-Mexican music band that Texas had ever known,"Vasquez recalled. "I also played with Juan Coronado. I sang with Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution. I was a member of Shorty and the Corvettes, and I sang for a long time at the Broken Spoke, singing country and western music."
About being at the right place at the right time, Vasquez said, "One evening I went to see Ray Price, but he didn't show up. The fiddle player knew me and knew that I sang in the same key. So I did the show, filling in for Ray Price.
The band leader told me that I sounded so much like Ray, that they decided to call me "Half-Price.'
Vasquez also recalled being on tour with Beto Villa, traveling to Arizona, California, New Mexico and throughout Texas during the 1960s as a vocalist and playing drums, when Beto Villa became known as "The Polka King.'
"After traveling and touring, I sent the proceeds from my tour to my wife Carmen, and upon returning, I opened the first Tamale House on First and Congress," he said. "I always felt that the City of Austin and the Sheraton Crest Hotel did not want me to sell tamales at First and Congress, so they gave me over a million dollars to leave.
" Vasquez continued his music career, singing with Bert Riviera, Little Lou Fowler, playing drums and singing at the Scoot Inn. Vasquez also opened his own clubs, including Little Lou's Lounge on I-35 and East 38 Street, a second club on South Congress Ave., and the 281 Club in Round Mountain, bringing Mexican country music to new audiences.
Many of his clubs included a series of concerts featuring Selena, who would rise to fame in Tejano music. "She even offered to buy one of the clubs - because it had sold-out crowds every time she performed," said Vasquez.
In support of the many musicians who performed at his local clubs, Vasquez said, "I own a fabulous PA system, and I rent it out to local musicians, so that they can perform," on tour or in concert."
"I also lent money to different bands so they could pursue their dreams of playing Mexican music," he continued. "I was honored with a proclamation from Senator Gonzalo Barrientos for my contributions to the Mexican American music scene." He also recorded a 45-rpm record in Spanish titled "Como Una Esquipa."
His career helped build a greater wealth to support his family.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church on Saturday, August 16 at 10:00 a.m. Visitation will be held at Cook Walden at 6100 North Lamar on Friday, August 15 at 5:30 pm. Rosary at 7:00 p.m. Burial will follow the funeral church service at Cook Walden Memorial Hill at 14501 North Interstate 35, Pflugerville, Texas.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Aug. 15 to Aug. 16, 2014