10 Doug Sahm/Sir Douglas Quintet Albums You Need to Own
Tonight at the Continental Club, Austin's Freddie Steady 5 will head up a tribute to the late Doug Sahm focusing on Sahm's 2000 album The Return of Wayne Douglas, which he recorded only a few months before dying of a heart attack in November 1999. La Porte native Freddie Krc, leader of the 5, has just reissued Wayne Douglas on vinyl through his Steady Boy Records, so surely this is a coincidence.
More hippie than outlaw, Sahm was a rock and roller through and through, but first he was a gifted child musician whose steel guitar talent supposedly once knocked Hank Williams' socks off at Austin's Skyline Ballroom. Wayne Douglas couldn't be more of a Texas dance-hall record if it were made out of neon.
"San Antone born and raised," Sahm is often referred to as Texas' unofficial state musician, and rightfully so. His music had such an everything-is-groovy attitude that a little bit of everything worked its way into his songs, and his albums are so varied that there's no real point in ranking them. Here are ten that exist, and thus that you should own.
The Last Real Texas Blues Band Feat. Doug Sahm (1994)
Like just about everyone else in town (including the late UT football coach Darrell K. Royal), Sahm befriended the late Austin nightclub owner Clifford Antone. Recorded live at the Guadalupe St. edition of Antone's, Texas Blues Band assembles a stellar cast of San Antonio-bred musicians for smoky R&B standards like T-Bone Walker's "T-Bone Shuffle," Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby," Fats Domino's "My Girl Josephine" and Guitar Slim's "Something to Remember You By."
Border Wave (1983)
The Quintet gives Joe King Carraso & the Crowns a run for their money when the still-bizarre Tex-Mex/New Wave craze was at its height.
Texas Rock for Country Rollers (1976)
Perhaps Sahm's first proper foray into straight country, except "straight" is hardly the correct word for this cosmic crew. Recorded when the high times at Austin's Soap Creek Saloon were very high indeed, Country Rollers throws in Merle Kilgore and Claude King's "Wolverton Mountain" alongside the self-explanatory "You Can't Hide a Redneck (Under That Hippy Hair)." Also here for the first time is Sahm's classic "Cowboy Peyton Place" (which reappears on Wayne Douglas) and, Uncle Tupelo fans take note, "Give Back the Key to My Heart."