This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing). But first, two quick memories sparked by this disc: 1 | I actually saw The Bottle Rockets showcase this album at SXSW when it came out — and minutes after their set, they reportedly got in a fistfight and broke up. No idea why; I thought the gig was great. 2 | Once at a Tito and Tarantula show in Austin, I glanced to my right and found I was standing beside Doug Sahm (who was way shorter than I expected — the top of his big-ass hat was barely higher than my shoulder). Amazingly, I played it cool and left him alone. Anyway, the album:
WHO THEY ARE: Singer-guitarist Brian Henneman used to be a roadie for alt-country pioneers Uncle Tupelo. Since 1993, however, he’s led The Bottle Rockets, a Missouri foursome whose scruffy look and sound — imagine Crazy Horse crossed with Lynyrd Skynyrd — puts them firmly on the rocky side of the roots-rock fence.
WHAT THIS IS: Songs of Sahm, their sixth album, is a tribute to the late, great Texas singer Doug Sahm, with the Rockets launching 13 revved-up renditions of the Texas Tornado’s best-loved tunes.
HIGHLIGHTS: If you love Doug like I do, every tune is golden, and Henneman even does a pretty fair imitation of Sahm’s dusty twang. But even newbies can dig classics like hippie-dippie hits Mendocino and Nitty Gritty, not to mention the Sir Douglas Quintet’s Tex-Mex classic She’s About a Mover.
C&W CRED: Between Uncle Tupelo and Doug Sahm, these guys are in good company.
LAST WORDS: Somewhere, Doug is smiling. As am I.