|artist:||DOUG SAHM TEX MEX TRIP|
|label:||WARNER BROS. BS 2810 - COLUMBIA RECORD PRODUCTIONS|
|pressing:||around June 24, 1974, USA, testpressing LP with insert|
|comment #1:||An insert is included in the white cover.|
|label:||WARNER BROS. BS 2810|
|release:||August 9, 1974, USA, LP|
Doug Sahm - guitar, piano bajo sexto, vocal
The Valley Boys - backup vocals
|GRRRREAT COVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! by Kerry Awn.|
|label:||COLLECTORS' CHOICE MUSIC CCM-518|
|release:||2005, USA, CD [10/34:26]|
"In my opinion," said the legendary producer Jerry Wexler, "Doug Sahm was the greatest musician I've ever worked with because of his incredible versatility and range. Western swing, straight country, Norteño, even jazz, rock & roll, and blues. What was special to me was his great big heart and a great deal of empathy reaching out. A lot of love."
Those sentiments were echoed from coast-to-coast and then around the world as news od Doug Sahm's passing spread in the hours and days after November 18, 1999. He'd just celebrated his fifty-eighth birthday, and was, as always, on the move. "I can't stand to get bored," he once said. "When you get bored here, and nothing's happening, you can get pretty weirded out. You gotta keep some kind of edge going. That's why I leave all the time. Get in my Cadillac and drive to Seattle, drive to Minneapolis, go to spring training. It keeps you going." He was in Taos, New Mexico when he died. Just traveling. There was always something curiously elusive about him. Friends and associates were never quite sure where he was living or what his phone number was. He told one interviewer that he was of Lebanese descent, as if being German-Irish wasn't sufficiently exotic. He made records like the old blues guys made records: "You pay, I play." He recorded for around forty record labels in a career that spanned forty-four years. He was Little Doug, Sir Doug, Doug Saldana or Wayne Douglas, and he was happy to subsume his identity into a group like the Texas Tornados or the Formerly Brothers.
Above all, Doug sahm will be remembered for his passionate embrace of all roots music, especially the roots music of his home state, Texas. Along the way, he helped make Austin the alternative music capital of the world, but of course he didn't stay. Austin circa 1974 wasn't what it is today. The Armadillo World Headquarters was the heart of the music community, but the Soap Creek Saloon was its soul. A dilapidated dive on an equally rundown section of Bee Caves Road. Soap Creek was where Doug reintroduced the world to Freddy Fender after Freddy had spent years laying low. Doug led the de facto house band at the Soap Creek Saloonnthroughout the early 1970s, and lived in a rented house down the road. The next best thing to being at there is to look at the poster art from the period. Unlike the trippier west coast posters, the Soap Creek calendars were one color with their own homegrown cosmic cowboy aesthetic: armadillos and western motifs seen through a distorting mirror. Many of the Soap Creek posters, now dutifully archived and catalogued at the University of Texas, were done by Kerry Fitzgerald aka Kerry Awn, who designed the cover of this LP and drew cartoons for UT's Daily Texan. Awn is now a standup comic in Austin. But by the time Austin had become a chic address, Doug Sahm had moved to Vancouver, Canada and then back to San Antonio. In 1999, he recorded a posthumously released LP, The Return of Wayne Douglas, which included a sour postscript to this LP, "I Can't Go Back to Austin." Groovers' paradise no more.
Doug Sahm probably made too many records, but this wasn't one of the superfluities. It was an album with more of a pop consciousness than the Atlantic and Mercury LPs that preceded it. The change probably came at the behest of the producers, Doug Clifford, Stu Cook and Russ Gary. Cook and Clifford, of course, were one half of the Creedence Clearwater Revival and Russ Gary was Creedence's engineer. After CCR's demise, Clifford, Cook and Gary came together in February 1973 to form DSR Productions, so the Creedence overtones on this collection were no accident. The concision and melodicism for which CCR were justly renowned were imposed willingly upon Doug, who needed a producer to curb his tendency to ramble.
"Doug Sahm and Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators were some of the bands that Chet Helms brought from Texas to play at the Avalon Ballroom," said Stu Cook. "It was just sort of that Texas-Brownsville-San Francisco connection, I guess. They played the Avalon all the time." The producers recruited some California cowboys to round out the ensemble. Steel guitarist Gary Potterton and tenor saxophonist Ron Stawlings had played on Tom Fogerty's solo LPs, and trumpeter John Wilmeth had played with the Grateful Dead. Doug Sahm brought fellow San Antonio bluesman Frank Rodarte and multi-instrumentalist Link Davis, Jr., a future member of Asleep at the Wheel and son of the legendary Cajun musician who'd written "Big Mamou." Sahm wrote all but one of the tracks, but the project bears Clifford and Cook's imprint. Sometimes you could swear you're listening to a Creedence record with Doug Sahm guesting. The only non-original on the album is "La Cacahuata," a classic two-step credited to "Luis Guerrero." In fact, the composer was Manny Guerra who'd written Sunny & the Sunglows' "Talk to Me, Talk to Me." The version of "La Cacahuata" (aka "Peanuts") that Doug remembered was probably by a Dallas band, Rick & the Keens, from around 1961. It's the sort of track that only Doug Sahm would have remembered. We could go into detail on the remainder of the songs, but they're self-explanatory, and practically pour their own beer and light their own exotic cigarette. The album was released in October 1974, and made a believer out of Village Voice critic Robert Christgau. "Maybe now I understand [Sahm's] genius," he wrote. "This record is the one I'll play whenever I feel like hearing Sir Doug's Tex-Mex. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford have found a master even simpler than John Fogerty."
To put this collection into context, it came right after Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records (who eulogized Doug above), dropped him. Warner Bros. wouldn't commit to another LP after this, either, so Doug moved on to ABC Records for one LP and then toured the minor labels until he reappeared on Warner-Reprise in 1991 as part of the Texas Tornados. Some artists might have gone into a year-long depression after losing their major label deal, but Doug sahm always had another gig to play; if not here then in Sweden, or somewhere. And there was always someone willing to put up a little money to get him into the studio. Doug Clifford and Stu Cook moved on to work with the Don Harrison Band and then produced the unproduceable Roky Erickson. In the late 1990s, they were playing Creedence hits as Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
It was altogether typical of Doug sahm that he didn't even have a standard artist bio. In an interview with The Nashville Scene, he joked about a radio station in Austin that had called, requesting a bio. He told the woman at the station that he didn't have one, so she asked if he could tell her a little about himself. "Sure," Sahm answered, "Want to do it now?"
|comment to the liner notes:|
Review by Eugene Chadbourne:
Anyone who finds hippies irritating might want to throw this record across the room — and that's a good review right there, since it has been long established via intense scientific study that music which somehow motivates people to throw records across the room is usually quite good. No exception to this rule here, as fans of Doug Sahm often choose this as a personal favorite, while it is also one of the better side projects of the Creedence Clearwater Revival rhythm section. If Sahm was writing the review himself in 1974, he would have no doubt described the whole thing as some kind of "trip"; after all, this expression is used three times alone on the back cover of this album, actually less than one might expect considering the stoned-out nature of the accompanying comics. These black-and-white illustrations by Kelly Fitzgerald are a great part of the record's enduring charm, but the music itself is deeper than the coolie hippie vibe. This is simply a great roots rock album, and like much of Sahm's work it is loaded with complex details as well as loving interplay between the musicians. These tracks indicate a mastery of many basic forms such as blues, rhythm & blues, norteño, country, and Cajun and the players always seem to be probing beyond this to find something new. Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer Doug Clifford produced as well as played, and did a superior job, irrigating the proceedings with a range of available Sahm streams like some kind of master gardener. The use of horns is excellent, not only providing plenty of punch in the arrangements but memorable effects such as the spooky baritone sax solo on "Just Groove Me." A large section of the sonic spread is always reserved for Sahm's lush guitar playing, including lots of rock, country, and blues licks, while bassist Stu Cook sometimes adds additional guitar, expertly mocking the patented hypnotic John Fogerty sound for an effect that is not unlike Sahm sitting in on a Creedence album. Of course, the range of that classic '60s and '70s rock group seems quite limited compared to Sahm, who whips off an expert version of the Tex-Mex instrumental "La Cacahueta," the only track here which he did not compose himself. The well-crafted yet daringly personal and unembarrassed songs include haunting country-influenced ballads such as "Her Dream Man Never Came," as well as really top-notch examples of good old rock & roll, the hilarious "For the Sake of Rock 'N' Roll" and the bewitchingly cooking "Devil Heart." The second side of the original vinyl is one of this artist's most perfect set of songs. The final track, "Catch Me in the Morning," is one of several on this album that benefits from a long, satisfying arrangement — hardly the kind of simple dirt that is often tossed off the shovel in the quest for roots rock. The band tends to move through these pieces with confidence, as if already expecting to have lost the attention of the simpletons in the crowd. At the same time, there are those listeners who will find it hard to believe a simple song, let alone such a magnum opus, could be created from the almost nonexistent message of this song. "Call me in the morning, I am too tired to talk right now," is just about all this song says, and it is one of the marvels of Sahm that he is able to parlay a near-operatic sense of importance into such a typical part of daily life. Giving him an instrumental credit for being a "dreamer" — nicely enough, it comes right after the credit for bajo sexto — is one of the most appropriate details, or "trips," on Groover's Paradise .