San Antonio Rock: The Harlem Recording

San Antonio Rock: The Harlem Recordings, 1957-1961

Way back before Doug Sahm became Sir Douglas in the sixties, he was a teen sensation in San Antonio, fronting bands like the Dell Kings, the Mar-Kays, and the Pharaohs and honing his rhythm and blues and rock and roll chops for a string of local labels like Harlem, Satin, Cobra, and Warrior. The musician and the period get their well-deserved props with the recently released San Antonio Rock: The Harlem Recordings, 1957-1961, eighteen smoking tracks culled from old singles including local hits like the frenetic “Crazy Daisy,” a pleadingly sincere “Why Why Why,” and the made-for-belly-rubbing crooner “Just a Moment” — each song filthy with distorted guitars, fat horn charts, and wailing vocals. But just as much insight can be gleaned from the tracks in which Sahm plays a support role, most notably the blazing “Rock-Tick-Tock,” by the unsung rockabilly Jimmy Dee, and “Sweet Meats,” in which Sahm backs up his blues mentor, Spot Barnett. It may be a coming-of-age snapshot of a person and a place that will never pass this way again, but it sure sounds fresh to me. by Joe Nick Patoski

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