Nicole and I hit the streets today (as we did exactly a year ago) to show solidarity with those people and institutions under egregious attack by our own government. The turnout was again in the thousands, compared to around a hundred at a rally in Jefferson City in support of the current administration. When we returned home, I wanted to keep the vibe high, so I put on one of the most instantly encouraging, politically and socially encouraging albums I know of, Sly and The Family Stone’s Greatest Hits. It’s another of those collections every American should own. I have to be honest about a couple of things, though: I’m skeptical anything serious is going to happen anytime soon to address the disgrace that’s happening in front of our eyes, and I’m more than well aware that the problems I care most about have been by-products of this country’s design from the beginning. Thus, I programmed, after the whole of Greatest Hits, the more pessimistic moments of its predecessors, …there’s a riot goin’ on and Fresh. Just for balance, you understand.
Seeking some hands-across-the-border sounds, needing more guaranteed pure delight, and inspire by having seen Joe Nick Patoski’s neat Doug Sahm documentary Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove earlier this week on Amazon Prime, I put on another house favorite, Texas Tornados. Along with the Traveling Wilburys and Lil’ Band of Gold, the Tornados were one of the best (and few artistically successful) supergroups in our music’s history, and their debut album is almost perfect; my only quibble is that their cover of Butch Hancock’s “She Never Spoke Spanish to Me” should have been a grand slam but sounds a bit soggy. Maybe it’s just the context. The record’s an unbeatable mix of driving and droll Tex-Mex rock and roll and soulful, romantic conjunto. And though Sahm, Freddy Fender (listen for his neat guitar solo on “(Hey Baby) Que Paso”!), and accordian master Flaco Jimenez would seem to be the main attractions, it’s Augie Meyers (on Vox organ, of course, but also wailing on accordian himself and singing the hell out of his two infectious compositions) who purt-near steals the show. If somehow you’ve never heard this record, change that, please.