Doug Sahm Tribute Coming in 2009

Off the Record
November 21, 2008

Revolutionary Ways

Marcia Ball doesn‘t remember the last time she played with Freda & the Firedogs, her progressive-country outfit that was produced by Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler and backed Doug Sahm upon his return from the Bay Area in the early 1970s (see “Nowhere but Texas,” Dec. 13, 2002). Nevertheless, the cosmic quintet gathered last Saturday at Joe Gracey’s Spicewood studio to cut Sahm’s “Be Real” in homage to the original Texas Tornado for Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm. The Lone Star-studded compilation, due in late March through Vanguard Records, features a stellar stable of local talent, including Jimmie Vaughan (Why, Why, Why”), Alejandro Escovedo (“Too Little Too Late”), the Gourds (Nuevo Laredo”), and Terry Allen with Joe Ely (“I’m Not That Kat Anymore”), while co-producer Shawn Sahm covered “Mendocino” with Augie Meyers for the occasion. “If you start with an artist that was really inspired, the rest tends to follow,” opines co-producer and Chronicle scribe emeritus Bill Bentley, whose previous tributes to Roky Erickson (Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye) and Moby Grape‘s Alexander “Skip” Spence (More Oar) rank among the all-time best of the genre and helped bring both artists long overdue critical and cultural recognition.

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