On Film and Vinyl, Doug Sahm Continues To Influence Americana Music

Mar 30, 2018

 


 

It’s a good time to be - or to become - a fan of the late Doug Sahm, an artist some place among the very greatest and most overlooked pioneers of modern roots music. Two new live recordings will be released in April by New West Records, and an award winning documentary is available now on Amazon Prime.

 

 

The film Sir Doug and the Genuine Cosmic Groove was written and directed by Texas music journalist Joe Nick Patoski. In it, family, band-mates and industry icons tell the story of a larger-than-life personality and brilliant artist who flirted with stardom for decades. Included is legendary producer Jerry Wexler, who gave Sahm a deal and his best shot at the big time. Their 1973 album Doug Sahm And His Band featured some of the artist's super-fans, including Bob Dylan and Dr. John.

“If Jerry Wexler signs you to Atlantic, you’ve got to have something going on," said John Allen, President of New West Records. “I think he’s the definition of Tex Mex. His band was phenomenal.”

That’s why New West will be releasing two live performances on vinyl on April 13. They’re both from the stage of Austin City Limits, one from October of 1975 and the other from January of 1981. They’ve been released before, on DVD format, but New West decided they’d make great listening on LP. ACL's boss Terry Lickona wrote liner notes for both.

The Doug Sahm story is so explosive and strange it can hardly be contained in one film. He was a wild, outgoing child prodigy from San Antonio who mastered multiple instruments. He released his first recording at age 11 and turned down an offer to join the Grand Ole Opry in middle school. He formed the Sir Douglas Quintet, which blended Texas country, Mexican music and British Invasion rock and roll. Doug Sahm even scored hits from bases in San Francisco and Austin. But his eccentricities and his genre straddling limited him to a cult following that lasted until and beyond his untimely death in 1999 at age 58.

Sahm was granted the Americana Music Association's first-ever President's Award, a posthumous recognition of general excellence and influence, in 2002.