Wrap-up: We’ve got a new Think Again column called “Sotomayor andSCOTUS, Captured on a Carousel of Time” about the punditocracyconfirmation hearings here.And I did a post for The Daily Beast on the recent metzora-making of Joe”The Volcano” Lieberman here.
Sal on Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm
Tribute records more times than not, end up being ill-advised failures,like the musical equivalent of a Cannonball Run movie; lots of easy tohire people phoning in uninspired performances. The worst, in myopinion, being This Bird Has Flown: The 40th Anniversary Tribute ToRubber Soul. Here were 14 mostly unrelated artists, who by the sound of their performances, seemas if they never heard a note of The Beatles, let alone Rubber Soul.No need to name names. The damage is done.
Occasionally though, a tribute record makes some sense. There have beensome winners; 1994’s A Tribute To Curtis Mayfield and 2003’s We’re A Happy Family: A Tribute To The Ramones both come to mind. These records had artists who were clearly inspired by theguests of honor and featured some truly winning performances. Anothersuch winner is the just released Keep Your Soul: A Tribute To DougSahm.
The late Doug Sahm was a giant of all things Texan and his records bothsolo and with the seminal Sir Douglas Quintet, encompassed every genreof music from rock to country to mariachi and blues so naturally, it’sas if those sounds never existed prior to his work. On Keep Your Soul, almost every participant has a connection to Sahm, either has a co-conspirator or messenger. Los Lobos, Alejandro Escovedo, Little Willie G., Flaco Jimenez, Dave Alvin, and Marcia Ball with a reuntitledFreda & The Firedogs all turn in truly killer performances. Thehighlight for me is Charlie Sexton’s version of “You’re Doin It TooHard.” It is 4 minutes of relentless rock and roll. Keep Your Soulplays less like a packaged tribute and more like a fully realizedmusical document of Sahm’s work thanks to the love of his friends andfamily. Buy this one.
“I’d rather eat my chili beans/At Jim’s or Jack’s or John’s orGene’s/Then take my chances eating down at Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”