The Bottle Rockets
Songs Of Sahm
For their first full-length disc on Bloodshot, The Bottle Rockets pay tribute to Doug Sahm, the Texas singer-songwriter who died in 1999 after a nearly five decade-long career. Sahm’s creative vitality and versatility appear to have re-energized the Festus, Missouri-based roots rockers, who seemed like they were running out of steam on their last record of originals, 1999’s Brand New Year.
The band covers 13 of Sahm’s songs, from his two greatest hits with the Sir Douglas Quintet (“She’s About a Mover,” “Mendocino”) to later efforts (“Stoned Faces Don’t Lie,” “You Can’t Hide a Redneck (Under That Hippy Hair)”).
The power chord heavy opener “Floatway” gets things off to a promising start as Brian Henneman sings about “rockin’ Texas music.” He turns in a nice vocal on the country shuffle “Be Real,” as well. And his guitar groove drives “Nitty Gritty.”
But it’s bassist Robert Kearns who steals the show, taking over lead vocals on several tracks including “Lawd, I’m Just a Country Boy in This Great Big Freaky City” and the excellent phased-guitar mayhem of album closer “I’m Not That Kat Anymore.”
The Bottle Rockets sound equally at home tackling acoustic-flavored, ’70s singer-songwriter style fare like “I Don’t Want to Go Home” and bluesy guitar wailing numbers like “You Can’t Hide a Redneck.” “Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day” even sounds like some lost Monkees track. But the band truly shines on more typical Bottle Rockets fare like “Stoned Faces Don’t Lie.” Here’s hoping the BoRox can help introduce Sahm’s songwriting talents to new audiences and use his inspiration to enhance their own future endeavors.