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Various Artists

Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm – 2009 (Vanguard)

Reviewed by Dawn Pomento

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Tribute albums are an excellent showcase for the original songwriter, for the diverse artists that are often new to the listener, and especially for the songs themselves. The true test of a song is how well it stands up on it's own, without the original performer. In the case of Doug Sahm who passed away in 1999, the original is a tough act to follow. Texas born and - after many travels - ultimately Texas-based Sahm created the modern Tex-Mex sound, a blend of rock, blues, country and Tejano. His career spanned several decades and the songs on here cover the wide breadth of his career.

Not surprisingly, Texas bands dominate the disc, but many Californians show up too. The CD starts out with Sahm's best-known and biggest hit, She's About a Mover, covered by Little Willie G. from Thee Midniters. There's not a single dud here, but the standouts alone make this worth the purchase price. Los Lobos come out fierce on It Didn't Even Bring Me Down. Charlie Sexton & the Mystic Knights of the Sea on You're Doin' It Too Hard rock out in a way that will make listeners who forgot about Charlie Sexton take a new look at him.

And for the main star of the CD, the energetic and charismatic character known as Little Doug, Sir Douglas, Wayne Douglas, Doug Saldana, this tribute will definitely please long-time fans and introduce new fans to a true original.