Day of the Doug
First there was “Songs of Sahm,” a tribute by the Bottle Rockets recorded in 2001, a few years after Doug Sahm’s passing at age 58. Then there was “Keep Your Soul,” a 2009 various-artist tribute corralling such peers as Los Lobos, Dave Alvin, Delbert McClinton and Jimmy Vaughan. One could even make a case for including Dr. Eugene Chadbourne’s pair of “Texas Sessions” (2000 and 2002), with the caveat that they weren’t exclusively devoted to Sahm songs.
Now comes Son Volt’s “Day of the Doug,” peeling back yet another layer of the Texas cosmic groover’s prolific, eclectic output. With a mere two songs in common with its predecessors, “Day” drinks deep from the wells of Sahm’s first big group, the Sir Douglas Quintet; his later, all-star Texas Tornados; and various solo efforts.
Son Volt’s Jay Farrar says the real impetus for “Day” was his recent discovery of the 2005 limited-edition, five-CD “Complete Mercury Recordings” (which gathers the Sir Douglas Quintet’s five LPs and miscellanea for that label, spanning 1968-73). “And I felt like, ‘Wow! There’s a lot more quality music of Doug’s to be heard!’” he told Paste magazine in an interview.
“Complete Mercury Recordings” aside, first up is “Sometimes You’ve Got to Stop Chasing Rainbows.” The original version by Sahm, recorded with members of Louie and the Lovers, is an outtake from sessions for the Sir Douglas Band’s 1973 LP, “Texas Tornado.” (The song didn’t surface until 2003’s “The Genuine Texas Groover”: a limited-edition Rhino Handmade release comprising the aforementioned album and Sahm’s other record for Atlantic, “Doug Sahm and Band,” as well as 19 previously unreleased cuts.)
Son Volt gives “Rainbows” a heavier treatment, opting for Neil Young-style whammy bar over acoustic guitar and throwing in some of SDQ’s signature Farfisa organ (or at least a reasonable facsimile).
For honky-tonk aficionados, there’s “Keep Your Soul” and “Huggin’ Thin Air.” Tex-Mex lovers will dig the Tillman Franks/Elmer Laird co-write “Poison Love” (complete with faux accordion), a 1951 hit for Johnnie & Jack and Their Tennessee Mountain Boys.
“Beautiful Texas Sunshine” and “Dynamite Woman” are dressed up with pedal steel guitar and fiddle, respectively. “Float Away” and “Juan Mendoza” feature bassist Andrew Duplantis singing lead, strategically placed in the tracklist to break up Farrar’s monochromatic vocals.
1. Doug intro
2. Sometimes You’ve Got To Stop Chasing Rainbows
3. What About Tomorrow
4. Beautiful Texas Sunshine
5. Float Away
6. Yesterday Got In The Way
7. Keep Your Soul
8. Dynamite Woman
9. Huggin’ Thin Air
10. Juan Mendoza
11. Poison Love
13. It’s Gonna Be Easy
14. Doug outro