There are few things I love about Texas; it's a state I would gladly see secede from the union. Then again, only Texas could produce Doug Sahm, the legendary frontman of the Sir Douglas Quintet. He's the one who wrote "Mendocino," "Texas Me" and "She's About a Mover," who slyly introduced white America to the joys of Norteño, who smuggled organic Tex-Mex sounds onto the airwaves in the guises of rock and outlaw country, and who is now sorely underappreciated. It's about time someone produced a tribute to the late Sir Doug and brought his spirit back.
Keep Your Soul is a fine effort. Though the covers rarely improve on Sahm's original versions, they breathe new life into songs that should never have been forgotten. Little Willie G.'s cover of "She's About a Mover" is surprisingly successful thanks to Ry Cooder's greasy guitar, which stands in for the inimitable vox organ sound Augie Meyers created for the original. The album's biggest disappointment is The Gourds' version of "Nuevo Laredo." One of my favorite Sahm classics becomes little more than a cookie-cutter country ditty. Ten years ago, covering Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" as a bluegrass tune was funny. Butchering "Nuevo Laredo" is just lazy. (Ali Gadbow)