Archive for Doug Sahm

Review: “¡Esta Bueno!,” Texas Tornados

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by 30daysout

Springtime in Texas is tornado season, but you better get ready: we are now in Texas Tornado season.   Yes, the legendary Texas Tornados are back, with a new album and mucho appearances around the Lone Star state (including at SXSW).   ¡Esta Bueno! is the new album, featuring original Texas Tornados Augie Meyer and Flaco Jiménez and Shawn Sahm, son of the late great Doug Sahm.

The original Texas Tornados were, of course, the Tex-Mex supergroup formed in 1989 by legendary musician Doug Sahm, singer Freddy Fender, keyboardist Augie Meyer and the great norteño accordionist Flaco Jiménez.  Sahm died in 1999 and Fender passed in 2006, so when the two great voices of the Tornados left the planet, nobody thought a reunion was possible.

Nobody, except for Sahm’s son Shawn, who looks and sounds an awful lot like his dad.  He always says, “the Sahm family makes music – that is what we do,” and to honor the fallen Tornados Shawn Sahm instigated the reunion of the surviving Tornados for this new record.  And what a great album it is – ¡Esta Bueno! is not only a great party album, it’s a moving tribute to the late Sahm and Fender.

“Who’s To Blame, Señorita,” the joyous rocker that kicks off the album, not only manages to recreate the Texas Tornados sound, but also reminds us that the roots of that great sound were planted in the Sir Douglas Quintet.  Written by Shawn and his dad, the song demonstrates happily that the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree.  “If I Could Only” resurrects Freddy Fender – literally – he sings on one of the last songs he ever wrote.  Fender reappears on “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like I Like,” and “Ahora Yo Voy,” as well as the countrified “Another Shot of Ambition.”

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Rock Moment: Texas Cosmic Cowboys

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2010 by 30daysout

John Angelle at Threadgill's restaurant, under the big Freddie King painting that once hung in the Armadillo World HQ

It’s been a busy week for us, and we must apologize for not tending the blog recently.  We’ve done a few interviews in advance of South by Southwest, those are coming soon and we have some other cool stuff on the horizon – promise.

Today we want to give you something for the weekend … a little remembrance of the Texas “cosmic cowboy” movement of the 1970s.  The other day we mentioned Shiva’s Headband, the psychedelic country rockers partially responsible for the creation of the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin.   But even before the Armadillo, Texas’ capital city was a mecca for young longhairs who liked country music.

I suppose Michael Murphey coined the phrase “cosmic cowboy” back in 1973, on his album Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir.  He also sort of laid out the blueprint for the movement in “Cosmic Cowboy” from that album … “Lone Star sippin’ and skinny dippin’/and steel guitars and stars.”  You could say a cosmic cowboy was one quarter redneck and three quarters hippie, a guy who’d happily loan you his pickup truck and his wife.

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A Lot Of Soul: Austin’s Tribute to Doug Sahm

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by 30daysout

Doug Sahm hill sign

On a foggy morning recently, I climbed to the top of Doug Sahm Hill.  It was just a few days after a bunch of Austin musicians gathered at Antone’s to pay respect to the late, great Douglas Wayne Sahm.  I didn’t go to the concert but I did drop by Austin’s new Lady Bird Lake park and took the winding path up to the top of the hill named after this legendary Texas musician.

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Doug Sahm

Not much to see from the top – especially with the fog and all – and the only thing up there is a concrete bench circling a Texas map inlaid in concrete.  The only clue that the hill is related to anything about music is the sign you see as you are about to climb the hill (see above).  That’s why they had this big show the other night at Antone’s: to raise money for a plaque, a statue or something.

Climb to the top and take a look around.  You should have some Doug Sahm music playing in your portable player, because there’s no music to be heard up here.  At the right time of year you can certainly hear live music coming from just across the street at Auditorium Shores; a number of live shows happen there, including the big SXSW free shows in the spring.

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Sampler Daze: WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 7

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by 30daysout

hardgoods deepear

By 1974, radio’s hard rock trend was going strong – Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Humble Pie dominated the FM rock airwaves.  Appropriately titled for the time, Hard Goods arrived in mailboxes with freshly minted rockers like Montrose, covering Roy Brown’s “Good Rocking Tonight” and Foghat, offering its cover of Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day.”  Ted Nugent and his Amboy Dukes show up, and the perfect marriage between glam and hard rock emerges in the then-new KISS (Casablanca Records were distributed by Warner Bros. until about 1976).

The Doobie Brothers were still rockin’ behind guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnston and they were fresh off their 1973 triumph The Captain and Me.  The Doobies’ new “Pursuit On 53rd Street” had a guitar crunch similar to the monster single “China Grove” but behind the scenes, Johnston’s health was becoming precarious.  He was able to stick with the Doobies through late 1974 even as new personnel were added, most notably ex-Steely Dan guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.  Finally in early 1975 Johnston had to quit the band, and a replacement was found in another Steely Dan alumnus, Michael McDonald.  The Doobies quickly became McDonald’s franchise, and everyone’s heard the rest of the story – with more than 30 million albums sold, the Doobies are still an active touring band with a rejuvenated Tom Johnston at the helm.

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Greetings From Texas! Part 2 (Still Hot)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2009 by 30daysout

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There’s a place in Austin, it’s called Barton Springs.  Even on these blistering hot days (temps in the 100s) the damn water is ice cold.  You leap into this pool at your own risk because you’re going from air that’s around 105 degrees into water that’s about 68 degrees.  It may not seem so bad to you folks up in the snow belt but try it some time.  I know for sure that my heart can’t take it – not like it could when I was younger.  Instead, my heart is definitely open to this Lone Star flavored refreshment:

MP3: “Cosmic Cowboy” by Michael Martin Murphey

MP3: “Houston Chicks” by Doug Sahm

MP3: “Gettin’ By” (live) by Jerry Jeff Walker

MP3: “Love At The Five and Dime” by Nanci Griffith & Darius Rucker

MP3: “Austin City Limits ad/Rusty Weir” (KILT-FM, 1977)

MP3: “Playboy Theme” by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys

MP3: “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender

MP3: “Rosemary” by C.J. Chenier

MP3: “Pancho and Lefty” (live) by Townes Van Zandt

MP3: “Working At Working” by Wayne Hancock

MP3: “The Legend” by Willie Nelson

MP3: “Dublin Blues” (live) by Guy Clark

MP3: “To Live Is To Fly” by Steve Earle

MP3: “The Road Goes On Forever” by Robert Earl Keen

The Texas Top 10?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2009 by 30daysout

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Austin public radio station KUT has announced that it’s determined the best songs about Texas, as voted by its listeners.  Asleep At The Wheel leader Ray Benson openly campaigned for votes on his MySpace page, so it figures that the group would be No. 1.  Here’s the list:

“Miles And Miles Of Texas” by Asleep At The Wheel

“New San Antonio Rose” by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys

“Waltz Across Texas” by Ernest Tubb

“Deep In The Heart Of Texas” by Gene Autry

“London Homesick Blues” by Gary P. Nunn (w/Jerry Jeff Walker)

“El Paso” by Marty Robbins

“Luckenbach, Texas” by Waylon Jennings (w/Willie Nelson)

“That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)” by Lyle Lovett

“La Grange” by ZZ Top

“Amarillo By Morning” by George Strait

Nice list, but we tend to think it leaves a little to be desired.  After the jump, we offer some of our own suggestions; they, too, are pure Texas and sound great at any weekend barbecue.

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It’s Time To Enshrine Doug Sahm!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2009 by 30daysout

sir_doug1 

If there were a Mount Rushmore in Texas of our state’s greatest musical artists, the head of Douglas Wayne Sahm would rightfully be there, next to Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  “Sir” Doug Sahm is the godfather of Texas music and during his career he brilliantly covered rock and roll, country, blues and of course Tex-Mex.  Today’s Austin music scene – in fact all of Texas music – would not be the same without the influence of Doug Sahm.  So why isn’t he in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Sahm performed as a teenager on the streets and stages of his hometown San Antonio but in 1965, producer Huey Meaux gathered a motley group of musicians around Sahm and tried to beat the Beatles at their own game.  The Sir Douglas Quintet had a hit with “She’s About A Mover” – cut at Meaux’s Sugar Hill studios in Houston – and audiences soon realized the musicians weren’t British moptops at all.

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Welcome to Hurricane Season

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2008 by 30daysout

 

The first day of June is the beginning of hurricane season, and once again most of us who live along the Texas Gulf Coast collectively say: “Who the hell cares?”

Oh, we realize this is serious business.  But it’s hard to take it too seriously, especially after the fiasco of Hurricane Rita in 2005.  The storm hit about 125 miles east of Houston but in the days leading up to landfall many residents of the nation’s fourth largest city jammed every highway out of town to create the biggest traffic jam and cluster fuck in this country’s history. 

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Rock Moment: Sir Douglas Goes New Wave

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , on May 21, 2008 by 30daysout

 

One of the most influential figures in Texas music was the late, great Doug Sahm. Even though he was somewhat underappreciated on a national scale, he nonetheless put together a body of work whose range surpasses even that of Willie Nelson.

Beginning with the seminal Sir Douglas Quintet in the mid-1960s, Sahm’s music encompassed British Invasion pop, Gulf Coast blues and spicy Mexican conjunto to form a joyous blend that resulted in the hits “She’s About A Mover” and “Mendocino.”  Later in his career Sahm would show he was equally at ease with country, 1960s psychedelia and big-band blues and pop.

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