Everybody who knew Doug Sahm liked him, and everyone who didn’t know him, but knew his work, respected him. He was manic, he was a larger-than-life character, and his passion for music was exceeded only – if at all – by his passion for baseball. It’s the former with which we concern ourselves here, as we follow the Sir Douglas Quintet in various configurations through what critics generally regard as Sahm’s fertile early period (he would later go on to form the Texas Tornados, among other things).
The Sir Douglas Quintet was supposed to capitalize on the British Invasion, but it would take an advanced case of astigmatism to think the band had roots in the UK. And with a couple of cosmetic exceptions, their music was firmly linked to America (in the broadest sense). For Doug and his band, virtually any genre was up for grabs – rock, blues, soul, country, psychedelic, norteño, polka, whatever. They played it all, and they played it proficiently. One of life’s great mysteries is how Doug Sahm isn’t in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, since his music has inspired two generations of musicians, and he can rightly lay claim to being the Godfather of the Austin music scene.
Anthologized heavily throughout the years, Sir Doug’s music from the Mercury/Smash era has never before been collected systematically and presented so handsomely. This box set covers six albums, all the mono singles, Spanish-language recordings and a number of Doug’s productions on which his band appears. The box was conceived and executed by Grammy®-winning producer Bill Levenson, and it was remastered in 2004 from the original master tapes. It includes liner notes by critic Scott Schinder and rare photos of Doug and the band.
No single package could contain all the vibrancy and vision Doug Sahm possessed, but this particular set is celebratory for those who lived through the ear and revelatory for those who didn’t.
Hook Tex-Mex music legend Doug Sahm up with the CCR rhythm section of Doug Clifford and Stu Cook and Creedence producer Russ Gary, and what do ya get? Probably the most coherent and poppiest record of his career (Doug did tend to ramble), one emblazoned with the unique artwork of local Austin artist Kerry Fitzgerald a.k.a. Kerry Awn and also featuring future Asleep at the Wheel member Link Davis, Jr. on various instruments. We’ve added new notes by Colin Escott that place this 1974 release in its proper (warped) perspective; it’s a favorite of many a Sahm devotee, now finally on CD.