It’s no big secret that rock and roll lost one of its real deals when Doug Sahm passed away. His history was long and varied, and he hadn’t had a rock hit in 30 years. Sure, his Texas Tornadoes did well in country back in the ’80s with some great albums, but to many fans of his ’60s music, he was probably well out of mind.
This releases showcases the young Sahm in a couple of forms. San Antonio Rock feature recordings he was on for Harlem Records from 1957 to 1961. It’s pretty much R&B heaven, with a young Sahm featured on vocals on some cuts, playing some fine guitar on others, and just contributing to the Texas music scene in general during that time frame. The quality isn’t great on some of these recordings, but it doesn’t really matter. They capture the feel of the early days of rock and roll, as young white kids tried to emulate their black heroes. The set from Norton also features a great booklet with some fine photos and an in-depth write-up. My favorite photos feature a very young Doug in a cowboy hat playing steel with his elders. Great stuff.
It’s a must for fans and it becomes more and more apparent, as is often the case, that we could have paid a little more attention to a talent like this when he was alive.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’00 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.