Doug Sahm
March 13, 2016 | by Texas Music Magazine
Feelin Groovy

Doug Sahm was one of the best evangelists for Texas music this state has ever known, but his mythical powers always seemed to dissolve at the state line.

 Certainly he was idolized and admired by many of his fellow musicians, had his fair share of champions within the music business, and even scored a handful of honest-to-God hits, most notably 1965’s “She’s About a Mover” and 1969’s “Mendocino.” But it took more than 15 years after Sahm’s death for his story to be told in a manner befitting of the voluminous personality known to friends and fans alike as “Sir Doug” — namely, with as much genuine cosmic Texas groove as possible. That labor of love fell to Joe Nick Patoski, director of Sir Doug and the Genuine Cosmic Texas Groove, which premiered at SXSW and is now receiving wider distribution. This is Patoski’s first film (see p. 20) after decades of telling stories of Texas musicians as a magazine journalist and author of acclaimed biographies of Willie Nelson, Selena and Stevie Ray Vaughan. After the Vaughan book was published, in 1993, Patoski pitched Sahm as his next project but recalls his editor shooting him down because Sahm was “too obscure.” “Doug was the one story I’ve wanted to tell that almost got away,” Patoski says. Working on the 80-minute Cosmic Texas Groove — and fundraising all the time he was filming — Patoski did his homework. He figures he interviewed more than 55 people for the film (“the journalist in me”), but kept the talking heads to Sahm’s inner circle and a few others who’d played a key role in his life: “It got down to whether a talking head moved the story along or not,” he notes. Both Patoski’s thoroughness and Sahm’s influence can be easily detected as the closing credits roll, as fans including Dr. John, Jeff Tweedy, Delbert McClinton, Charlie Sexton, Steve Earle, Marcia Ball, Boz Scaggs and others discuss what Sir Doug’s music meant to them. The two men he wanted to interview but didn’t, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, do appear in some choice vintage footage.  — CHRIS GRAY, HOUSTON PRESS

Originally published in Winter 2016, No. 65
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