The long-running PBS show Austin City Limits has begun to loosen its grip on decades of peerless archives with a series of original broadcasts on DVD and companion CDs. Notable in the latest batch is Live From Austin TX (New West), a 1990 session with the short-lived supergrouping of Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, and Doug Sahm known as the Texas Tornados. The band had just released the first (and hands-down best) of their four studio albums, and the nineteen-song, nearly euphoric collection of Tex-Mex rock and roll includes generous side dishes of Sir Douglas Quintet and Fender classics. Beautifully recorded, the set is far superior to the 1998 live album chronicling the group’s somewhat listless comeback. Sahm’s sudden death in 1999 would silence the band for good, which makes this welcome addition to the Tornados canon all the more essential. J.M.
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