DOUG SAHM : A Whoopin’ and a-Hollerin’

7th October 2016

Title: Hell of a Spell/Nuevo Wave Live/Texas Hero

Label: RetroWorld

Sahm was a talented guy who had a wide appreciation of music: as long as it broadly rotated around his home state of Texas. So, throw him a steel guitar of fiddle or mandolin and he’d return it to you with a slice of blues, country, rock & roll, Western swing, Cajun, polkas and a lot more.

Doug Sahm onstage at Austin City Limits 1990.

Doug Sahm onstage at Austin City Limits 1990.

This 2CD package features three albums. Possibly the most fascinating of the three is the last in the list, Texas Hero – The Early Years in which his work roams back to 1958 with The Pharaohs but also includes The Markeys (1961), The Dell-Kings (1960), Freddy Fender, Ernest Tubb and T Bone Walker in 1961.


His first real band outing was as a response to the sixties British Invasion as part of the Sir Douglas Quintet, which was reformed in the early eighties. Nuevo Wave Live is a reissue of their 1983 live set Live Texas Tornado, including plenty of Texan-type whooping audience members and band boogie that roams, stylistically, but the group are certainly ‘on song’ as it where.



The best I’ve saved till last: 1980’s Hell of a Spell. This Texas blues/rhythm & blues album mix and is devoted to one of Sahm’s heroes, Guitar Slim. With a range of great originals and excellent covers, Sahm whelps out the blues but provides a superb array of musical abilities that provides a great exhibition of his talents. Arguably, his best album.

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Doug Sahm Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Also look out for other titles in the RetroWorld series including ex-Band member, Rick Danko and My Father’s Place 1977, recorded in Roselyn, NY, 15 December 1977; Paul Butterfield’s Live New York 1970, a two CD set plus both men combining on a third CD set called Live From the Blue Note, Boulder Co. 1979, including Blondie Chaplin.