Doug Sahm’s rise to fame began early in life; he made his radio debut at five and at the age of 11 performed on stage with Hank Williams. While just a teen, he was even offered a spot on the Grand Ol’ Opry, which Sahm’s mother refused so that he could remain in school.
From his first release in the early 1950s to his death in 1999, Sahm’s five decades of performing and recording gained him fame for his blending of country, ‘60s pop, rock, western swing, and blues. As a founding member of the Texas Tornados, Sahm was also a leader in the eruption of the Tex-Mex sound into the American music consciousness.
To honor Doug Sahm’s half century contribution to American music, Vanguard Records recently released Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm. This collection represents an eclectic snapshot of Sahm’s career by a stellar group of bands and artists.
Appropriately enough, the album kicks off with Little Willie G’s interpretation of "She’s About a Mover," the single that gained Sahm his earliest commercial success. Los Lobos recapture the spirit of the 60s with their take on "It Didn’t Even Bring Me Down," and The Gourds just ooze their patented Tex-Mex spirit on "Nuevo Laredo."
Texas honky tonker Delbert McClinton, former Afghan Whig Greg Dulli, Texan singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, blue guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, and many more also contribute.
Bringing the album to a close is the collection’s most poignant song, "Mendocino," performed by Shawn Sahm, Doug’s son, and Augie Meyers, his longtime musical compadre. It is only appropriate that family – both literal and musical – provide the rousing close to this outstanding tribute.
Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm is out now on Vanguard Records.