Jimi Dominguez | HOUSTON, TX United States | 04/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are varying opinions as to what exactly is "The Sound of Texas", musically speaking. Is it the prototypical rock & roll of Buddy Holly & the Crickets, the psychedelia of the 13th Floor Elevators, or is it the Texas Boogie of ZZ Top? Is it the rich Texas blues tradition of Robert Johnson (his recording sessions took place in San Antonio & Dallas), T-Bone Walker, Freddie King, Albert Collins, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lightnin' Hopkins, Johnny Winter, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, or is it the Western Swing of Bob Wills? Is it the classic country of Willie Nelson, or is it the classic country of Townes Van Zant? Is it the conjunto of Flaco Jimenez, or is it the conjunto of Steve Jordan? Is it the virtuosity of a Van Cliburn rendition of Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto, or is it Joe Ely's hard partyin' South Plains rockabilly? The truth is that all are concrete examples of the many "sounds" of Texas (notice the plural). However, if there is one specific artist who conveys the myriad Lone Star musical styles, mixes them and serves them up big with loads of Texas flavor like a pound of "carne asada con arroz y frijoles" and lots of salsa & tortillas not to mention an ice cold bottle of Pearl beer, then it's gotta be the late great Doug Sahm.THE BEST OF DOUG SAHM & THE SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET is a remarkable compilation. If your a newbie to this San Antonio native's artistic genius, then this is the collection you'll want to start out with. It gathers the very best of Doug's golden era, 1968 - 1975. Although the Sir Douglas Quintet story actually begins in 1965 with the Tribe recording sessions produced by the Crazy Cajun Huey P. Meaux, which yielded the classics "She's About a Mover" and "The Rains Came", the SDQ songs captured on this compilation show a more musically mature and much more adventurous band at work, and they show why no label could be ever placed on Doug's music. There are also treasures from his early solo work. "Mendocino" is essential SDQ with Augie Meyers' priceless Vox organ leading the way back to South Texas from San Francisco. "Song of Everything" is reminiscent of what Ornette Coleman might have sounded like at the Fillmore West. "So Glad for Your Sake (But I'm Sorry for Mine)" and "Wasted Days & Wasted Nights", the latter penned by Freddy Fender, show the R&B style that was among Doug's earliest influences. "Be Real", which Doug released in 1970 as a country single in Nashville under the pseudonym Wayne Douglas, shows Doug to be among the finest vocalists that genre as ever seen or heard. Another country song, "Texas Me", drives home that point as Doug vents his pain from being homesick for the Lone Star State. "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone?", featuring Bob Dylan, is from Doug's all-star album DOUG SAHM & BAND, yet another example of Doug's extraordinary skills as a writer & arranger. Of all the songs in this collection, perhaps this one says "Texas" the most. "The Gypsy" shows that Doug must have been a big fan of Louis Prima, and exhibits yet another element that influenced his style, what Doug called "that stridin' thing". What about the blues? T-Bone Walker's "Papa Ain't Salty" is given a seriously raw but textbook reading from the SDQ, and Doug shows off his scat-guitar skills on the equally raw "West Side Blues Again". He had serious skills at that! "In the Dark" shows off a fantastic and tight horn section, and as blues singer Doug is simply "da man". "Michoacan", from the 1972 motion picture CISCO PIKE, is an authentic South Texas polka and shows why the Chicanos changed Doug's last name to Saldana. A real treat is "I'm Not That Kat Anymore" from 1975 and Doug's brief tenure with Casablanca Records; it's kinda funny when you think about Doug Sahm being label mates with Parliament/Funkadelic and Kiss. It is quite possibly the most difficult song in the collection to even attempt to categorize. Doug Sahm may have left this Earth, but he lives on forever thanks to compilations like this one, and also thanks to the re-release of his SDQ back catalog available on import as well as posthumous releases of his earliest work as a bandleader in San Antonio, his work with the Texas Tornados, and his last solo album THE RETURN OF WAYNE DOUGLAS. If one had to describe Doug in only a few words, take a line from his song "At The Crossroads", -"You just can't live in Texas if you don't gotta lotta soul..." Doug had more soul than the rest of us could ever imagine. Get this CD and listen for yourself."
Almost makes me wish I was a Texan.....I said almost.
David Kinney | San Francisco, Ca. United States | 01/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Picture this ya'll ; a hippie minivan chopped and channeled lowriding with a '68 Camaro Z-28 front end welded onto it cruising through the Texas border country with a T-Bone Walker-Flaco Jimenez compilation 8 track blasting from the oversize rear speakers. Still with me? I hope so. Of course you'd wanna be along for that ride! Well this is as close as you're gonna get. No compilation short of 10 CDs is gonna capture the magic that was the late great Doug Sahm, but here's a great place to start. From the opening notes on Augie Meyer's Vox organ intro to "Mendocino", through the twin fiddle fun of "Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone",on past naive hippie experiments and honest to god Texas rhythm and blues, Sir Doug was the real deal. His passing last year left a real credibility gap in what passes for American roots music these days. You owe it to yourself to check this man out. When an Okie wishes he was a Texan....well, then some kind of transcendence has taken place. Doug Sahm is that good. Bless ya Doug, and thanks."
One of the all-time greats
Doug Bassett | Philadelphia, PA | 06/24/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Sir Douglas Quintet was one of the all-time great American rock bands. In the Sixties and Seventies they whipped up a fascinating roots-rock stew from the blues, r&b, country, and tejano music, with a little dash of psychedelia thrown in (check out the organ on "Mendocino"). Such fusionist ambitions are very rare among roots-oriented musicians, who too often are content to plow already tilled fields. This compilation doesn't have their early Tribe recordings, which includes the classic "She's About a Mover", but it has just about anything else you might want to hear from these guys, including the aforementioned "Mendocino", the Allman Brothers-like "At the Crossroads", "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights", and "Baby Let's Go to Mexico". These guys were geniuses, and this is required listening."
You shall be unable to stop listening
Doug Bassett | 02/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Notwithstanding the fact that "She's about a mover" and some of their other early hits are left off, this Sir Douglas Quintet album is a fine collection of original recordings. If one can imagine country/western with a psychedelic, yes, sixties flavor, this is what it would sound like. Doug Sahm is still around himself, perhaps better known for the lively music he makes with Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, and the Texas Tornadoes; but this CD should not be left unbought. I was addicted upon my first hearing of "Mendocino" and "Nuevo Laredo," and I am still listening."
Only one Doug....
J. P. Wilson | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 07/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Doug Sahm took his San Antonio country musical upbringing and headed to the Bay Area in '66. He proceeded to cover more musical ground than any other artist ever tried to do, and all without losing his Tex-Mex roots! An album I will never grow tired of listening to. Doug, you really knew how to blow our minds!"