The Genuine Texas Groover (Rhino Handmade)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Dec. 19, 2003
Doug SahmThe Genuine Texas Groover (Rhino Handmade) Back to the Funhouse. Rhino's Internet-only 7-CD dissertation on the 44-minute Stooges album resides in eBay heaven now, only 3,000 pressed and sold out. There are 5,000 of Doug Sahm, The Genuine Texas Groover, but like their pop, who died in 1999, they too will go to a far better groover's paradise. Encased in a ripe green box with Sahm's smoking hooter leveraging his hammock on the cover are a pair of digipak reproductions of the Austin mover's two Atlantic LPs from 1973, Doug Sahm and Band and Texas Tornado. A boutique affair right down to the booklet's page numbers reversed out of tiny armadillos, Sahm's righteous Tex-Mex tornado has been harnessed by industry guru Bill Bentley, whose Austin Sun sit-down with the San Antonio son in 1975 is paired with a new interview of the session's producer, Jerry Wexler. Atlantic Record's legendary owner and ear confirms everything was recorded live in the studio, with few, if any, overdubs, and more than 21/2 hours of down-home roots rock alibis that. This remastered 2-CD set still sounds like the old LPs: thick with tar. Sahm was a clairvoyant interpreter of songs in what he chose to cover -- shit you never imagined, or even heard of in some cases. He taught everyone, beginning here on Doug Sahm and Band's leadoff "(Is Anybody Going to) San Antone," and continuing with guest sessioner Bob Dylan's "Wallflower," and Bob Wills' tart "Faded Love." Twin fiddles, Augie Meyers, Dr. John, Flaco Jimenez -- the sound of Texas: blues, rock, country, jazz, and Tejano, all tangled beneath Sahm's skinny birch self. Four previously unreleased tracks from San Francisco and six outtakes from the album's NY sessions are primo, the former a revelation in that they make the album proper sound staid. The scrappy, upbeat "Goodbye San Francisco, Hello Amsterdam" and yodeling soul of Jimmie Rodgers' "Never No Mo' Blues" meet Hank Williams, Huey P. Meaux, Lloyd Price, and Woody Guthrie. Texas Tornado, credited to the Sir Douglas Band, results in an even better buzz. Sahm wrote eight of the 11 tracks, so it coheres a bit better than Doug Sahm and Band. Half was cut in S.F., so it sounds like Austin's sister city of the late Sixties/early Seventies: taut, urban, hippie. Opener "San Francisco FM Blues" and "San Antone" rewrite "Texas Tornado" are indelible, sauced up by "Juan Mendoza" and the fiesta blown "Nitty Gritty," all of them penned by Sahm. Nine more bonus tracks, including the bluegrassy "Leave Me Alone With the Blues," which features David Grisman and Jerry Garcia on mandolin and pedal steel respectively, plus the horn heaven of "Blue Horizon" and full-length versions of faded-out Atlantic tracks are money. As Shawn Sahm notes in the booklet's intro, The Genuine Texas Groover "just reeks of magic." www.rhinohandmade.com.