The large Texas ego allows the city of Austin to brag that they are the "Live Music Capital of the World." The good news is that their claim may have some merit because the city is home to over two hundred venues featuring live music. I'll be making my first trip to The Lone Star State's capital at the end of October so I'll be able to sample it's vibrant music scene firsthand.
In order to psych myself up for the vacation I pulled out one of my very favorite CDs, SDQ '98, by the late Doug Sahm. Sahm, who hailed from neighboring San Antonio and died at the end of 1999, is missed by anyone who enjoys Country-Rock, Roots Rock or Tex-Mex. He first came to prominence as the leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet in 1965. Oldies fans may remember the band's two big hits "She's About A Mover" and "Mendocino." One of his best known albums, Doug Sahm and Band, was recorded in New York City with both Dr. John and Bob Dylan taking part in the sessions. Sahm is far more than the two hit wonder of the '60s. He has an extensive catalog dating back over forty years.
Much of SDQ '98, Sahm's last release before his death, was recorded in Austin. The album combines a rock and roll attitude with country guitar, electric organ, accordions, saxophones, and a great band that includes keyboard player and accordionist Augie Meyers from the original quintet. On the opening track Sir Doug tells people who are too serious to "Get A Life." His sincerity rings true when he sings a rollicking love song about his favorite city in the whole world, "Goodbye San Francisco, Hello Amsterdam." "The Ballad of Davey Crockett" becomes a fun country-rocker you can dance to all night long. I never heard a band that can make you feel good while playing songs about love gone bad but these good time rockers make you tap your feet on "Give Back the Key to My Heart." There isn't a single misplaced or wasted note anywhere on the album and boredom never sets in as the whole disk clocks in under forty minutes. Play this CD in your car, open up your sunroof, turn up the volume, and enjoy.
Sadly, we won't be able to see Sahm perform during our visit to Austin but there must be somebody playing in town who can make a music lover feel as good as SDQ '98 does.