Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Bottle Rockets: Songs of Sahm [Bloodshot, 2002]
Not a band out of songs mining a B hero's book--a concept album about the alt-country process. It isn't Rootsman Sahm the Bottle Rockets care about, it's Sir Douglas the Hippie--a simple Texas boy high not just on anything he can smoke or gobble but on the fellowship of strangers he knows would groove on him even if he wasn't slightly famous. "Mendocino" and "Stoned Faces Don't Lie" glow with possibility, evoking '60s utopianism far more concretely than any precious latter-day studio psychedelica. But it has to end. "You Can't Hide a Redneck Underneath That Hippy Hair," Doug realizes. "The changes in this city made a fool of me/I got too free, forgot I had a family," he admits. So, he concludes, "I'm Not That Kat Anymore." Out of options, he turns into an icon whose conjunto country r&b will always be longer on rep than edge. For a taste of the wildman the young Sir Douglas was, try the Music Club comp Son of San Antonio. But believe that Brian Henneman's interpretation says more about his character and his fate. A-