Danny Roy Young Celebration and Benefit – Sunday October 19th

Keep Austin Young: Celebrating the Life of Danny Roy Young – Benefit Concert

6 p.m Saturday Sunday October 19th (doors open at 5 p.m.) Austin Music Hall – 208 Nueces St.

Tickets $10
IGETTIX

Musicians to honor owner of Texicali Grille/Respected Rubboard Player
Silent auction of memorabilia on tap
Donations welcome online and by mail as well

Artists including

The Texana Dames

Ponty Bone

Marcia Ball,

Ray Benson

James McMurtry

The Cornell Hurd Band with Teisco Del Rey and Blackie White at 645pm

Special Appearance by Roky Erickson

By Michael Corcoran | Thursday, August 21, 2008, 12:20 AM

Someone called Danny Young “the Mayor of South Austin” and it stuck like an arrow because Young’s warm, gregarious personality and passion for Texas music lit up the whole 78704 Zip Code. The big-hearted neighborhood activist was the friendliest guy you could ever meet… and he met everyone who ever walked into his Texicalli Grille.

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Danny Roy Young, who also played rub board with Cornell Hurd, Ponty Bone and the Texana Dames, died of a heart attack Wednesday. He was 67. He had been at his parttime job as a driver for Enterprise Rent-a-Car when he was found incapacitated in a car in the parking lot Wednesday afternoon. Co-workers called for EMS and he was rushed to South Austin Hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest, said sister Dawne Young. The time of death was 4:42 p.m.

“What a guy!” Susan Antone wrote in an email. “He was a class act always and a great friend. He’ll be sorely missed.”

A native of Kingsville, where his parents ran a root beer stand turned pizza parlor, Young and his wife Lu moved to Austin in 1975 and opened the first location of Texicalli Grille (the signature Texicalli sandwich was named after Gene Autry’s “Mexicalli Rose”) on South Lamar Boulevard. He became the unofficial mayor of South Austin in the mid-1980s, when the city planned to widen South Lamar and put in a continuous median, to make it more of a thoroughfare. Fearing an expansion would change the soul of the neighborhood, Young organized other affected business owners, who gathered petitions, took their concerns to City Hall, and eventually got the expansion project dropped.

“It used to be, ‘All them Bubbas live over there with toilets in their front yards.’ And there’s still some of that,” Young said of South Austin in a 2002 American-Statesman profile. “But it’s the most beautiful, supportive community. It doesn’t matter if you have long or short hair, Skoal in your back pocket or a joint in your shirt pocket; here people really care about people.”

Nobody spread the love like Danny Young, who tooled around town in Big Lu-Lu, a 1954 Chevy station wagon, waving at friends and playing a mix of music ranging from conjunto to blues to zydeco to western swing.

Young retired in 2006 at age 65 and sold the Texicalli, which brought funky charm to an old Taco Bell on East Oltorf Street in 1989. The restaurant, known for its Texan twist on the Philly cheesesteak, closed in July 2007 because of rising rents.

“He missed the cameraderie of the Texicalli, but he liked being retired, not having that daily responsibility of running a restaurant” said music journalist John Morthland, who often took roadtrips with Young to Arlington and Houston to watch major league baseball games. “Sometimes we’d get back at 3 a.m. after a game and Danny would have to be at work at 6 a.m.”

He took the job at Enterprise, assistant manager Daryl Lentz said, because “he was a customer first, who liked everybody here, and he said he had too much free time. He was so full of life, he didn’t want to sit at home.”

A storyteller and rabble rouser, Young loved to hold court at a big, round table at the poster-covered Texicalli, a fat-chewing, sociopolitical haven where musicians, artists and neighborhood eccentrics used to gather to complain about government and “progress.”

“In South Austin, we do things the way we want, and we hope you like it,” Young told former Statesman columnist Don McLeese in 1996. “But if you don’t, we’ll do it anyway.”

On Wednesday, a mighty whiff of the Old Austin spirit disappeared. There will never be another Danny Young; you can be sure of that. On stage he kept the rhythm on a metal washboard he played wearing leather gloves with Mercury dimes glued to the fingertips. But it was the pulse of Danny Young’s personality, his love of life and music and conversation, that helped give the ‘04 its beat.

Young is survived by his mother Margo, wife Lu, son Scott and daughter Holli, plus three granddaughters, three sisters and a brother.

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