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Pings For Sir Doug, Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove

June 15th, 2016 · Tags:Arts · Cities


J. Nick

J. Nick

A diminutive, yet scrappy kid from Fort Worth moved up north and found himself managing a record store in a place that gets entirely too much snow.

He moved back to Texas and settled down in Austin to be a writer, at a time when the folksy city was little more that the State Capitol. All of that was about to change.

Within a couple of weeks of Joe Nick Patoski’s return to The Lone Star State, another Tex-patriot did the return trip from psychedelic San Francisco, still high on the fame of a hit record.

One of the two men — Doug Sahm — changed Austin and therefore music forever. The other — Joe Nick — jotted down the play-by-play, starting way back before media was social, writing about the exploding Austin scene.

Mix the two together, and you get “Sir Doug and The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove,” freshman director Patoski’s new rockumentary film on one of the founders of Americana/melting-pot rock – Doug Sahm.

At two film festivals in 2016, conflicts in the Ping schedule prevented viewing this film. But, the day the film screened in Brenham, Texas — through the wonders of Facebook — I saw a post a few hours before showtime, and I hit the road from nearby Houston. When I reached the theater, I checked in on Facebook (of course) just before the introduction of the film … and by the time the film was over, the director had seen my post and knew I was in the audience. Pretty cool.



Time well spent. Trust me, I never thought I would be in Brenham for any reason that didn’t involve Blue Bell ice cream. But I was. I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity … for the music history and to rub elbows with Patoski. Joe Nick’s been round. In my PR days, I stayed in contact with him for years, always hoping to have a client featured in Texas Monthly. But it was further back in about 1984 that we first hooked up when JNP was the manager for another Tex-Mex artist, Joe King Carrasco. We have traded notes over the years, forever discussing that elusive sit down over a beer … As of late, I have tried to get the writer/author/filmmaker to try some kava with me over in Austin. But that’s another story:)

You probably know J. Nick’s name from his four decades as a writer, perhaps most visible as a senior editor and writer for Texas Monthly … or his Dallas Cowboys book. But, in my opinion, if you want to see what really makes Joe Nick tick, check out his radio Marfa program, — The Texas Music Hour Of Power. It offers, or could offer, a master’s degree on-line in Texas flavored rhythm & blues, country, TexMex … you name it. Oh … and by the way, Patoski already has a book on Stevie Ray, and has a biography coming out soon … on Willie himself.

But back to the film topic … You know Sahm? (Hey, that’s sort of like “Know what I sayin?” … I digress …) Many don’t, but most have probably heard his music or that of Sahm’s peers and protégés. “She’s About A Mover?” “Mendocino?” “Sheila Tequila?” ““Hey Baby Que Paso?” The Sir Douglas Quintet? Augie Meyers? The Texas Tornadoes? I bet you have … certainly you know Sahm’s boyhood friend and bandmate Freddie Fender … any who …

When I think of Sir Doug, I think of the Vox organ/Farfisa days of songs like Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs’ “Wooly Bully,” or ? And The Mysterians’ “96 Tears” … that subgenre of garage band rock. Heck … watch this video … ring a bell?

“She’s About A Mover … Looking Fine” … ha, dig this groove, daddio:)



But before Sahm sired Tex-Mex, he crooned his earliest records as a solo artist. At the ripe old age of 17, he pressed “Why, Why, Why” on the Harlem label … His first recording though was 1955, when the boy sang “Rollin, Rollin.” (“I ain’t nuthin but a rollin stone …”)

Such history! Get this … Sahm played on stage with Hank Williams Sr., at the prodigious age of 11 … at a show that would prove to be Hank’s very last. “IF that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your ass!,” (to borrow a phrase.)

As I reminisce about this rock history, I am thankful my oldest brother played in a garage band, and helped inform/influence me on music, perhaps ahead of my time. The bro played “Wooly Bully,” … But, I am not sure about “She’s About A Mover” … I digress.

So, young Sahm was playing in bars before he was old enough to push a lawn mower … not that he had one on the wrong side of the tracks in San Antonio. He was performing for people at the age of five, and at 11 he was recording … He was offered a residency at The Grand Ole Opry at 13. Then the young man went West. As Patoski’s film points out, at a time when the Grateful Dead were just starting to gain momentum with the hippies, Sahm already had Haight-Ashbury “cred.”

Always the mover, he then returned to pioneer the Austin music/twang thang. As Patoski points out … Early on, Sahm was more established than Willie Nelson and had more impact on what would become the music capitol of the universe, what we now know as the ATX. It is interesting to note that Sahm & friends were busted in Corpus Christi long before Willie transformed into the long-haired, “country jesus.”

Check out Bob Dylan lauding Sir Doug in this groovy clip:

But about the film …

If you like music — especially Texas homegrown like I do, you should see this film. Perhaps on Netflix … I’m not for sure. I think the film has finished its film festival schedule for a while. However … a big side note … “Sir Doug and The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove” will be screened in Cleveland at The Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame this year, as Patoski continues to promote the film … and as he pushes a grassroots effort to get Sahm inducted into the hall of fame. Pretty cool!

The film has great, great footage from the tv rock classic “Hullabuloo;” concert footage from Austin’s coolest joints; and many “cameos” — Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Marcia Ball, Ray Benson (Asleep At The Wheel), Fender … even Trini Lopez (Hey, I interviewed Trini back at Texas Tech … I digress …) And there’s lots of insight into the crazy world of a musician on a forever road trip … from the family’s perspective, including Shawn Sahm, who bears a striking resemblance to Papa Sahm. By the way, father and son were on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1968. How cool is that?



You had me at cowboy hats and TexMex … I’m thinking love beads are in there too … “Sir Doug/Cosmic Groove” – a genuine 6 pings.

See it, if you can … meanwhile this Sahm Wikipedia should be required reading for any who study the craft –

Doug Sahm

By the way, also check out the theater in Brenham. I thought it was well worth the trip for the film. And, the historic Barnhill Center, circa 1925, was an added bonus smack dab on Main Street in the ice cream capital of the South. Wi-Fi at the Barnhill? … well, I was pretty focused on Sir Doug, and turned my handheld device off … courtesy and all that. Perhaps Blue Bell and Wi-Fi should be the subject of yet another Brenham visit.




AND … yes … there is a Doug ‘Sahm Hill’ in Austin … I assume a play off of “Where in the Sam Hill …?”

Know what I sayin?