The Texas Tornados quietly folded in the wake of the death of Doug Sahm in 1999, but roughly a decade later they just as quietly became a going concern under the direction of his son Shawn, reuniting for regular gigs and a new album called ¡Esta Bueno!. Released in March of 2010 (alongside the publication of the first-ever Doug Sahm biography entitled -- what else -- Texas Tornado), ¡Esta Bueno! revives a couple of Sir Doug staples (“Chicano” and Bobby Charles’ “Tennessee Blues”), and also several unreleased performances from the other departed Tornado, Freddy Fender -- a whopping five, including a handful of new songs, their presence giving ¡Esta Bueno! an even stronger feel of a classic Texas Tornados album. And that’s the entire intent of ¡Esta Bueno!: this is designed as a continuation, not a revival, of the band’s signature Tex-Mex style, and since Shawn Sahm, Augie Meyers, and Flaco Jimenez are old road dogs, they miss not a step when they fall back into their old groove. Like much roots rock made since the Tornados’ 1990 debut, ¡Esta Bueno! is a shade too clean in its production -- it could use just a bit of grit in its sound -- but it’s hard to complain too much because the spirit of the record is so joyous, it’s hard not to smile as it plays.
¡Está Bueno! Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine