It's hard to imagine a band that was more perfectly suited for Austin, TX, than the Texas Tornados. Never mind the fact that two of the city's favorite sons, Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers, were members (and that the other key members, Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez, were equally beloved throughout the Lone Star State) -- in a city with as voracious and omnivorous an appetite for music as Austin, a band that could play rock, blues, country, norteño, swing, boogie, and on occasion all of them at once could only be regarded as a blessing, and when the Texas Tornados appeared on the great PBS music series Austin City Limits for a Fall 1990 taping, a wildly enthusiastic audience turned out to see the not yet year-old band. Live from Austin, TX preserves the full, unedited 75-minute set the Tornados played that evening, and the band is on fire from start to finish. What was special about the Tornados wasn't just that they could play Jimmy Reed blues, hard country weepers, Farfisa-fueled garage rock, and Mexican folk tunes within the course of a set, but that they played them all with the same fire and passion, and made them sound like they all belonged on the same sonic menu. For an hour and a quarter, you get to hear the Texas Tornados do just that for an audience who were obviously loving what they were hearing, and that makes this disc a wonderful posthumous tribute to the genre-shattering joy they made their bread and butter.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming