GROOVIN’ WITH THE TEXAS TORNADOS
|Shawn Sahm, under an arch of microphone stands, with Speedy Sparks (left) and Nunie Rubio (right) at Sam's Burger Joint and Music Hall.
With Doug Sahm it was all about the groove, and so it is with the Texas Tornados of today. Shawn Sahm has picked up his father’s mantle and taken care to ensure a new generation of music-lovers knows such anthems as “Mendocino” and “She’s About a Mover.” It’s a way of paying homage to the musical genius of his late father.
|Shawn Sahm (center) with the Texas Tornados' original bass player, Speedy Sparks, and the group's original drummer, Ernie Durawa.
The spirits of Doug Sahm and the late Freddy Fender can be felt at every present-day Tornados show. Original members of the group -- Augie Meyers, Flaco Jimenez, Speedy Sparks and Ernie Durawa, along with Shawn and Nunie Rubio -- make sure of that.
|Augie Meyers, in the midst of telling a story.
The audience is representative of multiple generations -- there are men in fedoras, women with big hair, tattooed youths, bikers, old hippies and everything in between. And you never know which one of them will scream out “I love you, Flaco!” Along with the music, there’s plenty of joking around, and if you want stories told with lots of embellishment, Augie is always up to the task.
That’s the beauty of the Texas Tornados following -- there’s something for everyone.
|Nunie Rubio and Flaco Jimenez
|Ernie Durawa, the original drummer for the Texas Tornados.
|Speedy Sparks, the original bass player for the Texas Tornados.
This past weekend I saw the group for the third time. It had been more than a year since the last time I saw them and the group had been touring extensively across the United States and Europe. If anyone was tired, they didn’t let on and it sure didn’t come across in their music. They came to play.
One thing you can say about the Texas Tornados playlist is that it makes you move. Their distinctive Tex-Mex sound stamps their signature on American music. As Shawn said during the show, many people thought songs like “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone?” were written by his father (it wasn’t) because they made any song sound like they owned it.
Shawn bounces across the stage throughout the show, a whirling dervish of energy. He won’t allow himself to slow down as long as there’s a song to sing, a story to tell, a note to play. There is no doubt he is his father’s son.
The pick doesn’t fall far from the guitar.
|Shawn Sahm, looking a lot like his dad.