By James Calemine
This essential CD/DVD retains the glory of Sir Doug Sahm. Born November 6, 1941, in San Antonio, Texas, Sahm–a guitar prodigy (and superb fiddler)–was invited to join The Grand Ole Opry when he was 13-years old.
During his career Sahm worked with greats such as Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Jerry Wexler and Freddie Fender. This Austin City Limits release was recorded on October 14, 1975. The band consists of Sahm’s old compadres Martin Steitle, John Barker, Harry Hess and Augie Meyers. Meyers later played a vital musical role in Dylan’s classic 1997 release, Time Out of Mind. It’s a shame Sahm never quite attained his deserved recognition before he died in 1999.
Sahm opens with Dave Kirby’s “Is Anyone Goin’ To San Antone”, which serves as an appropriate tune for this Texas native. The traditional “Cotton Eyed Joe” sounds like a backwater cajun fish fry on a Saturday night with Sahm’s quicksilver fiddle playing.
Sahm’s Telecaster prowess on “Stormy Monday” sounds just as good as T-Bone Walker’s version. Sahm’s song “At The Crossroads” may just be one of his finest tunes, and this version makes a strong argument for the case. “All the boys who grew up in Texas…this one will be close to your heart”, says Sahm as he introduces another original, “Nuevo Laredo”.
Sahm covered Freddie Fender’s classic “Wasted Days & Wasted Nights” in such an inimitable way that many believed Sahm wrote the composition. This incandescent DVD version of perhaps Sahm’s greatest song–“Mendocino”–verifies Sahm’s death left a void in the Texas music scene.
The final cut on the DVD, “She’s About A Mover”, crosses many styles of music into one cohesive Sahm sound. This 57-minute performance preserves Sir Douglas Sahm at the height of his powers.