Spin This: March 22
The music world is taking a collective breather after the South By Southwest storm, but here are a few releases worth your time (and your ears) this week:
The Sir Douglas Quintet—The Mono Singles ’68-72: The Sir Douglas Quintet first made it big in the mid-‘60s, but the band’s late-‘60s and early ‘70s outfit is truly astounding. Doug Sahm and crew had moved to San Francisco, and the combination of homesickness and the Left Coast’s freakiness made for some of Sahm’s best songs. It was in this period that the group truly branched out from their garage rock roots, incorporating blues, jazz, R&B, Tex-Mex, and country into their sound, all anchored by Sahm’s infectious energy and soulful croon. This collection packages the band’s mono singles from 1968-1972, recorded for Mercury, Smash, and Philips Records. Included are the group’s biggest hits and best experiments: “Mendocino,” “I Wanna Be Your Mama Again,” “At The Crossroads,” “Texas Me,” “Be Real,” and a cover of Freddy Fender’s “Wasted Days, Wasted Nights.” The songs show the Sir Douglas Quintet on fire creatively; it’s a shame the world didn’t catch on until much later.
Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs—The MGM Singles: The band known for “Wooly Bully” has often been consigned to “novelty act” status, and it’s easy to see why. The group was fronted by Sam the Sham (Domingo Samudio), who often wore a turban on his head and sparkly jackets while pounding out cheesy notes on a Farfisa organ—not to mention the 1952 hearse the band often traveled in. Yet the group almost accidentally invented Tex-Mex music, bringing the nascent genre into the mainstream by combining R&B, blues, and garage rock with Mexican melodies. This collection presents the band as an ace singles act, one that challenged British Invasion groups of the ‘60s for chart supremacy. Included in the collection are a number of B-sides and rare solo efforts.
The Strokes—Angles: Fourth album for the recently reunited and legendary New York outfit, and first since 2006. The group still seems mired in creative differences, and a general sense of noncommittal pervades the record. Still, a few bright spots pop up, like the bopping breeziness of “Gratisfaction.” Hopefully, it’s a blueprint for future inspiration.