Shandon Sahm and the Nortons and Alvin Crow and Good and Texas Mavericks and Joe King Carrasco and Damnations TX and the Gourds

Texas Platters

Record Reviews

Doug Sahm Hoot

Live at the Hole in the Wall

"We're here to honor our good friend Doug Sahm tonight," Alvin Crow greeted the audience stuffed into the Hole in the Wall February 10. The funeral was over, but the tributes to Sahm had just started, God love them all. And God love the Doug Sahm Hoot album, recorded in imperfect glory that night. It sways and soars with the spirit of Sahm: Shandon Sahm, the Nortons, Alvin Crow, Good, Texas Mavericks, Joe King Carrasco, Damnations TX, and the Gourds all deliver with a fevered passion that is occasionally clumsy but always heartfelt. Sometimes the sound of family resemblance is uncanny; on "She's About a Mover," Shandon Sahm's voice is as wistfully hoarse as his Dad's when Doug had been singing all night. That's the thing about Sahm's music. It was never intended to be analyzed or scrutinized, only to be heard, sung, and danced to especially after a couple of beers. Amidst the love and affection for the man who should be the State Musician of Texas, Doug Sahm celebrated his beloved Lone Star state but what he truly celebrated was life, and that's what this album is filled with. The Nortons bookend the album with dreamy instrumental versions of "Mendocino" and "Texas Me," while Good chooses the rarer "Juan Mendoza" and "Tortilla Flats." The Texas Mavericks (Freddy Krc, John X Reed, Speedy Sparks) shine with Crow, Shandon Sahm, and Joe King Carrasco on "Mover," "Adios Mexico," and "Is Anybody Going to San Antone?" When Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly polish off "So Glad for Your Sake (So Sorry for Mine)" the music really starts to sparkle. The star tune of this blessed little tribute is "Crossroads" by the Gourds, and if a better bar band than the Gourds exists in Austin I'll quit the Chronicle and apply for Michael Corcoran's job at the Statesman. Kevin Russell and Jimmy Smith's beatific voices blend with a boozy, cosmic beauty, and the lyrics take on a shimmering poignancy that resounds long after the music stops: "You can teach me lots of lessons, you can bring me lots of gold, but you just can't live in Texas if you don't gotta lotta soul." There's a big throbbing empty place in the heart of Austin music where Sahm once was, and this sincere effort soothes it a little. Damnit, we miss you, Doug.

***

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