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Bassist helped put Austin on the blues map

Alex Napier: 1949-2011

Michael Corcoran

Alex Napier, who played bass for the Cobras with Stevie Ray Vaughan and in the bands of both Charlie and Will Sexton, died Thursday morning after a bout with liver cancer. He was 59.

He was one of the white musicians from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Paul Ray, Denny Freeman and Doyle Bramhall, who helped establish Austin's blues town reputation during the "cosmic cowboy" era.

During the late '60s, he did light shows at the Vulcan Gas Company and opened a club in Westlake that eventually became Soap Creek Saloon.

A founding member of the Leroi Brothers, Napier passed away at his home in DeSoto, his nephew Mark Stanley said.

In addition to being a noted bassist, Napier was an unforgettable character, with a great sense of humor and a sly grin.

"He had more stories than any book will ever be able to write about the Texas blues days in the '60s-2000s," said Steve Dean, who often booked Napier's bands at the old AusTex Lounge.

His Austin friends are planning a memorial, with details pending.

mcorcoran@statesman.com;

445-3652