Record of the Day: Doug Sahm and Band (1973)

Doug Sahm was an iconic musician who doesn’t get enough acknowledgment beyond his home state of Texas, and it’s a shame. He put out several fantastic albums in his abbreviated life and made a huge impact on Texas music. Coming from San Antonio, Sahm bridged Tejano and the blues with country and rock, forming the musical equivalent of a steaming hot bowl of queso. A long-haired hippie cowboy from San Antonio, Sahm and his band took the stage with guitars, organs, drums, plus fiddle, steel guitar, accordion and a whole lot of talent.

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In 1973, his first album on Atlantic, titled Doug Sahm and Band, was released, and featured several guest musicians you might have heard of, such as Dr. John, Flaco Jimenez, and yes, Bob Dylan.

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The record is a good time. It’s an outdoor barbecue that evolves into a dance party where everyone is warm and tipsy from drinking in the sun all day, and somewhere beyond the murmur of voices a band is playing, and one by one the conversations drop off until you’re all just quietly swinging to the music, singing along, waving your can of beer in the air like some kind of gift to the gods. The record is a gift.

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Music critics largely panned the album when it came out, but in more recent years, it’s generated a lot more positive write-ups, a testament to how ahead-of-its time the record was. It’s pretty readily available and affordable, and its sound is still so unique it can fill a hole in your record collection that you didn’t even know you have, at least if you’re into good times and talent and friends playing music together and all the other things that make life worth sticking around for.

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Dacia lives in Austin, Texas, where she writes, drinks & listens to records.

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