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Play Misty For Me

Legendary rock scribe Chet Flippo recounts getting to know Doug Sahm.

By Chet Flippo, Fri., Nov. 26, 1999

Play Misty For Me

When I was living in Austin in the early Seventies and going to graduate school at UT, I met Doug Sahm while writing a cover story on him for a relatively new music and counterculture magazine called Rolling Stone. You could not live in Texas and not know about Doug ­ and I knew his early records well. What I did not expect was that we would become such friends. In hindsight, I wonder how you could not become friends with him.

Doug was the ultimate musician, the ultimate storyteller, the ultimate charmer. And he was completely and thoroughly sincere. A thoroughly soulful cat, as he might even say about himself. At any rate, we hung out a lot. He would bring his kids over to swim in the pool and have barbecues afterward at my apartment on Enfield Road.

Doug had recently moved back to Texas after his San Francisco psychedelic days and was musically weighing his balances. The world didn't really know the extent of his music mastery at that point, and I'm not sure he ever did, either. At any rate, Doug had rented an old house next to the Soap Creek Saloon on Bee Caves Road in West Austin, and it became a classic bachelor pad. I spent many afternoons on the front porch with Doug, talking music and listening to music. Naturally, he played, too. It was ... it was country, it was swing, it was bluegrass, it was jazz.

Why jazz? I asked. Doug put Miles Davis' Kind of Blue on the turntable and proceeded to give me an education on modern jazz. He knew it all, knew modern jazz from A to Z, knew it back again from Z to A. Told me more than I needed to know. Best of all, Doug gave me a tape that I treasure to this day. It's him, Doug, hosting a free-form jazz show on KSAN in San Francisco, and he's so low-key, so Mr. jazz expert that he sounds like what Clint Eastwood later tried to be in Play Misty for Me.

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