Doug Sahm

S.D.Q. '98

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Many fanatic music listeners feel an artist's greatest works are accomplished when they are young, and would thus go backward toward an early Sir Douglas Quintet record in order to capture the best of this legendary Texas artist. This release on an independent label hardly made a ripple in the late '90s, although musically there is enough here to create a tidal wave. Everything comes together beautifully in the proposed combination of tracks by Sahm and some of his old-time cohorts from both the quintet and the Texas Tornados and a collaboration with a younger bunch of dudes, namely the Gourds. Highlights there are, galore. No Sahm record would be this good unless Augie Meyers was on hand, and the man gets lots of solo space on all his axes. Pedal steel guitar player Tommy Detamore has some nice moments on the country material, of which there is lots. Rhythm section partners from the past -- such as bassist Speedy Sparks and the fine drummer Ernie Durawa -- are around to give the tunes a solid feel. One of the great things about the CD is the way it suddenly takes on a whole new life as a historical, political project through the sequence of songs, starting with the wonderful Sahm-panned "Louis Riel," going through the hysterical version of "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," and winding up with "Sooner or Later." On a more romantic note, there is a new version of an older Sahm song, "Give Back the Key to My Heart," certainly welcome since the original recorded version had such an unfinished feel to it. "Goodbye San Francisco, Hello Amsterdam" is another Sahm classic and surely a song with the potential to become a favorite. There is also a rollicking rhythm & blues bonus track tossed in at the end for added fun.

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