At the beginning of my ever evolving career in this industry, one of the first projects I had the luxury of working on was the Bottle Rockets Songs Of Sahm; the 2001 Bloodshot release that the Rockets recorded in honor of Doug Sahm's death two years earlier. I mention this because when relayed in the context of my own personal experiences, it makes it even that much harder to believe 2009 will mark the ten-year anniversary of Sahm's passing.
That's why on March 24 of 2009, Vanguard Records will release Keep Your Soul: A Tribute To Doug Sahm to celebrate the Texas Tornado's unique career and influential legacy. This collection will include new renditions of Doug's most indelible songs from his days as "Little Doug" through his time with the Sir Douglas Quintet and the Texas Tornados, performed by artists such as Levon Helm, Delbert McClinton, Los Lobos, Dave Alvin, Augie Meyers, Jimmie Vaughan, Alejandro Escovedo and Doug's son, Shawn Sahm. As a first look of what we can expect from Keep Your Soul, here is Greg Dulli's (Afghan Whigs, Gutter Twins) take on "You Was For Real"
Greg Dulli's - "You Was For Real"
From the press release: Doug Sahm created a vast musical impact over a 50-year career. Starting in Texas and traveling far beyond, he is considered by many to be one of the most significant figures in blues, rock, R&B, country and other genres, as well as an originator of Tex-Mex rock & roll. "My dad is a vital link in the Texas musical food chain," says son Shawn Sahm, "and this album will show that he belongs right next to all his peers when it comes to being a founding father of the state's rich legacy."
Born in San Antonio, Texas on November 6, 1941, Doug Sahm was a child prodigy in country music, starting his professional career singing and playing guitar, mandolin, pedal steel and fiddle as "Little Doug" when he was only nine years old. He went on to form the 1960s influential group the Sir Douglas Quintet, scoring a Top 10 single with "She's About a Mover." Later, with Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez, Sahm founded the Grammy Award-winning Texas Tornados. He continued recording as a solo artist and won another Grammy Award for The Last Real Texas Blues Band, and recorded with a new formation of the Sir Douglas Quintet on SDQ '98. His last studio album, The Return of Wayne Douglas, was released posthumously after being made at a studio near his hometown of San Antonio, returning Sahm to his country roots and the area where he first began.
Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm, produced by Bill Bentley, Stephen Brower, David Katznelson and Shawn Sahm, celebrates the life of a true American music visionary. Sahm was a master of every style he played, and is viewed as someone who helped shape the sound of modern music. He was also a sought-after session musician, appearing on other releases with Willie Nelson, the Grateful Dead, Uncle Tupelo and many more. His 1973 Atlantic Records release, Doug Sahm & Band, included special guests Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Flaco Jimenez, David Bromberg, Andy Statman, David "Fathead" Newman and Wayne Jackson.
The late Atlantic Records executive and album producer Jerry Wexler inscribed his autobiography Rhythm and the Blues to Sahm in 1993: "To Doug, of all the musicians I've worked with, I have always felt closest to you. And of all of them, you are the most gifted, the most versatile, with a musical ability that never quits." Keep Your Soul co-producer Bill Bentley adds, "These new recordings of Sahm's songs by the musicians who loved him would no doubt have Doug proclaiming, 'far out,' and then grabbing his guitar to go find a place to play. He really was a Texas tornado, and there sure won't be another Sir Doug."
List of confirmed artists at press time (with more to be announced):
Delbert McClinton / "Texas Me"
Levon Helm / "She's About a Mover"
Los Lobos / "And It Didn't Even Bring Me Down"
Jimmie Vaughan / "Why, Why, Why"
Alejandro Escovedo / "Too Little Too Late"
Greg Dulli / "You Was For Real"
Dave Alvin / "Dynamite Woman"
The Gourds / "Nuevo Laredo"
Terry Allen (with Joe Ely) / "I'm Not That Kat Anymore"
Freda & the Firedogs / "Be Real"
Shawn Sahm (with Augie Meyers) / "Mendocino"
Joe 'King' Carrasco & Texas Tornados / "Adios Mexico"
Charlie Sexton / "Magic Illusion"