Although a lot of websites contend this group was formed in 1989, they had in fact recorded at least thirteen years earlier on the album Texas Rock For Country Rollers, which was released in 1976. To make matters more confusing, the group is listed as Sir Doug & The Texas Tornados on the LP, whereas a promotional 45 with material from the album lists them as Doug Sahm & The Texas Tornados. The “Sir” comes from Sahm’s sixties band, the Sir Douglas Quintet. ” The Texas Tornados” comes from Sahm’s 1973 release, Texas Tornado.
Whatever the name, the group originally consisted of Atwood Allen, Jack Barber, Harry Hess, Harvey Kagen, Augie Meyers, Frank Morin, George Rains, and Doug Sahm. The history of the band is such: Meyers and Sahm met in 1953. At the time, Meyers was in a band called The Goldens. Eleven years later, The Goldens, along with Sahm’s band The Markays, were opening for the likes of The Dave Clark Five.
It was the beginning of The British Invasion, and record producer Huey P. Meaux was miffed. Why were groups like The Beatles and The Dave Clark Five so successful? he wondered, and why can’t Americans come up with an answer to them? The result was the Sir Douglas Quintet, composed of Meyers, Sahm, and members of their respective bands. They had one big hit in 1965 with “She’s About A Mover”.
It is unclear as to exactly when Doug Sahm & The Texas Tornados formed, but one of their earliest incarnations would have been on the 45 “I Love The Way You Love (The Way I Love You)” backed with “Country Peyton Place”, the latter penned by Sahm.
Thirteen years later, Meyers and Sahm would join Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez as The Tex-Mex Revue at a concert in San Francisco, then return to the studio under their former moniker, The Texas Tornados. They released four albums and won a Grammy award for Best Mexican/American Performance on a cut from their eponymous 1990 album, a song called “Soy de San Luis”. Other albums included Live From Austin, chronicling their appearance on Austin City Limits, and Live From The Limo.
They were very much in demand in the ’90s, appearing at Farm Aid, The Montreux Jazz Festival, and at President Bill Clinton’s Inauguration. In 1999, they appeared on Austin City Limits one last time, weeks before Doug Sahm’s untimely demise in a New Mexico motel room on 18 November 1999. They announced, out of respect for their long-time front man, that they would no longer appear as The Texas Tornados. Freddy Fender passed away in 2006.
Flaco Jimenez continues to tour the American Southwest and recently made a guest appearance on the album Spongebob Squarepants: The Best Day Ever. He also has plans to release Ya Volvi De La Guerra, in honour of U.S. troops. Augie Meyers and the Roca Baca’s released a new album in 2006, entitled My Freeholies Ain’t Free Anymore. He is currently working on a solo project, Through The Years.
Doug Sahm & The Texas Tornados recordings
Cowboy Peyton Place (Doug Sahm)
I Love The Way You Love (The Way I Love You) (A. Allen)