Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Doug Sahm

  • Rough Edges [Mercury, 1973] B+
  • Groover's Paradise [Warner Bros., 1974] B+
  • Juke Box Music [Antone's, 1989] B+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Rough Edges [Mercury, 1973]
Look at it this way--if the Atlantic genius factory hadn't tried to transform this all-time ready-steady-go into a '70s folk hero, Mercury would never have hashed together these Quintet rejects. Apparently the potential singles were already used up--covers of Roy Sharpe's "Linda Lu" and Tom T. Hall's "The Homecoming" are the standouts. But every one is as unkempt and wonderful as the rest of Doug's Mercury stuff. And somebody (compiler Paul Nelson? remix engineer Al Vanderbilt?) has insured that the sound is uncommonly bright and strong. B+

Groover's Paradise [Warner Bros., 1974]
In which Doug Clifford and Stu Cook, the rhythm section that supposedly held Creedence in thrall, find a master whose core simplicity is completely unassailable. Those who consider him repetitious and derivative certainly won't enjoy these foolish songs of praise to the Lone Star State, his most unambitious music since the days of Together After Five. But they're the fools. B+

Juke Box Music [Antone's, 1989]
Alive and well well well--I've never heard him in better voice than on this unexpected r&b record. Not a cleaning-up song in the carload, either. But there's also only one original after an eight-year dry spell, and though I'm happy to hear from him again, I hope the followup isn't more Tex-Mex for the white blues circuit. I also hope there's a followup. B+