VisitBigBend.com , the go-to website for all you need to know about visiting the Big Bend of southwest Texas, recently enlisted me to do a Top Ten for visitors headed to that faraway part of the state I like to think of as the Texas of the Imagination.
thanks to Brendan Toller for this fine review of Sir Doug & the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove MUSICFILMWEB review link
We haven’t run a Music Documentary Monday in a while, but when we asked filmmaker Brendan Toller about his favorites of the year, he responded with such written enthusiasm for this title – an SXSW 2015 premiere, as was his own Danny Says – that we decided on a one-off revival of our review column to share it with readers at length. Check back in a few weeks for our annual round-up of the year in music film, featuring picks from Brendan and host of other connoisseurs.
Joe Nick Patoski is a rock ‘n’ roll/Texas font, penning books on Willie Nelson, Selena, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. His bylines have appeared in The New York Times, LA Times, No Depression, et al., and he quickly rose to Variety’s “Top Documentarians to Watch in 2015″ with his directorial debut, Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove. Doug Sahm’s recordings, legacy, and inducive character are among the thrills of my life, so it was just minutes on the ground at SXSW before Patoski and I were cackling in a corner over a mess of Franklin’s barbecue. This prowess of this production from Austin-based creative team Arts+Labor was the true gem of discovery at SXSW 2015, and few music docs in this “year of the music doc” have reflected the tone and candor of their subject so well.
Doug Sahm is an indefinable character, but here goes.
At 7 he was considered San Antonio’s country music prodigy, getting a tip of the hat from Hank Williams himself. In the mid-’60s, at the suggestion of record producer Huey P. Meaux, Sahm partnered with his longtime friend, organist Augie Meyers, and Jack Barber, Frank Morin, and Johnny Perez to form the Sir Douglas Quintet. The Quintet cashed in as a fake British Invasion band with their ’65 smash “She’s About A Mover.” They traveled the country and, like not a few other Texas greats (the 13th Floor Elevators, Johnny Winter, Butthole Surfers), got busted for a few joints. Sahm’s parents mortgaged their house to get him out of jail.
As soon as he shook loose from probation, Sahm moved to San Francisco, and any remaining “redneck” roots were hippified by the LSD revolution. He took this dual sensibility back to Texas, and it defines the forces that have kept his adopted hometown of Austin weird. As his lookalike son Shawn Sahm recalls in the film, Doug was driven by the groove – a desire to keep the whirlwind of beautiful music, women, and food forever in orbit. His eclecticism and showmanship permeate his solo debut, Doug Sahm & Band (produced by Jerry Wexler and featuring contributions from Dr. John, Bob Dylan, and the Memphis Horns), but those qualities didn’t always pay in the bloated ’70s record biz (see also NRBQ). In the ’80s Sahm took the rollicking highs and lows of showbiz to Scandinavia (“Bavarian Baby”!) and Canada, returning home late in the decade to form Tex-Mex supergroup the Texas Tornados. He passed away in 1999 at the early age of 58. Fans include: Jeff Tweedy, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Bottle Rockets, Drive-By Truckers, et al.
Like Sahm, Patoski and Arts+Labor chief Alan Berg are at heart creative-community organizers. They’ve assembled a team of Austinites that wind together beautifully shot interviews, archival stills, and rare footage and audio tapes (including an incredible reel-to-reel recorded by Sahm’s wife foreshadowing her departure from their marriage). Super-8, VHS, and HD formats are embraced and blended to stunning effect by colorist Joe Malina and director of photography Yuta Yamaguchi. Sir Doug and the Genuine Cosmic Texas Groove is infused with a thoughtfulness and heartfelt sense of humor that transcends tribute and effortlessly infects viewers with the groove: you too will be driven to discover astonishing music, love, and food, with Doug Sahm providing your spiritual soundtrack. As Sahm himself put it, “You just can’t live in Texas if you don’t have a lot of soul.”
To all my friends and neighbors and you good people in particular,
Today’s the day. I’m am pleased to announce the official campaign to get my new film Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove out into the world. We’ve got 30 days to make a BIG footprint on Kickstarter to both raise money to license over 40 of Doug Sahm’s songs for the film AND get him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s right, damas y caballeros, NOW is the time for Doug to finally take a seat where he belongs.
We’ve only got 30 days to raise $75K. It’s a big lift, but we believe that the world needs to hear the music featured in our film in order to “get” Doug, and will come together to help support. Without these funds, we can’t distribute the documentary.This is a general “We Love Doug Sahm” campaign and it’s time he get the recognition he deserves. All the non-DougHeads around the world need to see this film and come to know and love Sir Doug like we do, so that he finally earns his rightful place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Thanks for spreading the word about our efforts to get our film out and induct Doug Sahm into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Check out the campaign below and share with your friends!
Kickstart Doug into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-> bit.ly/SirDoug
Un abrazo c/s
The filmmakers of the new Doug Sahm documentary, Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove, which premiered at this year’s SXSW Festival and earned Director Joe Nick Patoski “Variety’s 10 Documakers to Watch”, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $75K to complete and distribute the film so that the world will come to know Doug Sahm’s sound. Oh yeah, and while we’re at it, let’s get him the recognition he deserves in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame too.
Having a BIG footprint and a BIG show of support on Kickstarter for Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove will help raise Doug’s profile and chances of getting recognized for the hall of fame! We only have 30 DAYS to raise $75K on Kickstarter and it’s going to take the help from ALL of DOUG’s FANS and FRIENDS to get there!
He was the one individual who could play every form of indigenous Texas music authentically and with passion.
Doug Sahm’s culture-melding grooves have left an indelible mark on the world of Texas music. He is essential listening for anyone who considers themselves a fan of Rock and Roll. Doug is not just a Texas icon, but a pioneer who combined disparate styles of music into his signature groove and undeniably deserves a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Join T Bone Burnett, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and hundreds more in the campaign to induct Doug Sahm into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by supporting the latest documentary about his musical legacy, Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove. Our documentary was made under the auspices of the Society for the Preservation of Texas Music, a 501(c)3 non-profit, so Sir Doug has been a labor of love from the beginning.
We’ve got 30 days to raise $75K so that our documentary can make it out into the world. To do this, we’re going to need your help. Your donation puts your name on the list of supporters of Doug Sahm. Can’t donate at this time? Please sign the petition by clicking HERE. Don’t forget to share this page with your friends!
The Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove Team
Join the campaign and you’ll be in good company!
Making a film of this scope is no easy feat, nor is it cheap. Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove was made possibly by the Society for the Preservation of Texas Music, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and we’ve made this far. In order to incorporate the best of Doug Sahm’s music into our documentary, tracks like “Mendocino”, “She’s About a Mover” and over 40 more of Doug’s quintessential songs, we need to pay for music licensing. The world NEEDSto hear Doug’s authentic sound, so we’ve taken to Kickstarter to raise the funds to license the music of Doug Sahm for the documentary. With your help, our film can reach the world.
It’s the mission of Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove to spread Doug’s music far and wide to earn him his rightful place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Kickstart our documentary and you kickstart Doug into the Hall of Fame!
Not interested in donating to the film? You can still show your support for Doug Sahm, by signing your name on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame petition HERE.
Sit back and enjoy the official trailer for
Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove
Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove Official Trailer 1 (2015) – Rock Documentary HD
The semi-ghost town of Valentine, 39 miles west of Marfa, is gonna be wide open for bidness Saturday February 14 for the big Big Bend Brewing Company Valentine’s Day Party and Dance at Valentine Merchantile. The music lineup includes Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars, Mike and the Moonpies, the Crooks, and the Joe Ely Band. The Texas Music Hour of Power will be broadcasting live from the event and taking listener dedications and shoutouts online (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Image Wranglers will be doing Picture Radio in a show of force.
Come on out to the Cactus Cafe on the University of Texas campus on Monday evening, November 18 for a Views and Brews discussion about Doug Sahm, the original Austin groover moderated by Jody Denberg of KUTX and featuring Marcia Ball, Ernie Durawa, and Speedy Sparks in a panel discussion, along with a screening of a four minute sizzler reel of a proposed film documentary directed by Joe Nick Patoski. Doors 6:30, show at 7
Doors 6:30 showtime 7 pm
The passing of Jack Eskridge on Februrary 11 was noted by one of his former employers, the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, which cited Eskridge as the team’s first equipment manager and one of Tom Landry’s very first hires in 1960. But, arguably, Eskridge’s most important contribution to the Cowboys was choosing a blue star to be the team’s logo.
Eskridge’s life was defined by numerous achievements, including witnessing the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima during World War Two, playing professional basketball for the Chicago Stags and the Indianapolis Jets, and coaching basketball as an assistant at the University of Kansas, where he recruited future superstar Wilt Chamberlain. But his simple choice of that star has resonated farther and wider than anything else he did.
It began as a blue star on the side of a white helmet—no white border around the star and not a spec of silver anywhere in the team’s uniform. The Cowboys’s other logo, a cartoon helmeted football player riding what appears to be a freaked-out miniature Shetland pony, was used to promote the team in print ads.
alternate Cowboys helmet
Before the 1964 season, there was some tinkering with the helmet logo that was credited to Tex Schramm, the Cowboys’ first GM. The team experimented with a Cowboy boot with a star spur logo and considered a blue helmet with a white star, but neither gained traction. When the season started, though, players wore the now-familiar silver helmets with the blue star, which was now outlined in white.
Schramm continued experimenting trying to come up with the right shade of silver, according to Carol Hermanovski, who designed the football club’s new offices at Expressway Towers at 6116 North Central Expressway and redid their bumper sticker to highlight the star.
“I’d meet with him, and he would say, ‘Carol I want to show you something.’ He’d say, ‘What do you think about this color for the leggings for the pants?’ He was obsessing constantly about that silver-blue color. He was so concerned about how that color looked on TV, and of course that was something you couldn’t control because each person’s TV was set differently. He was always trying to get that perfect silver blue. At times he got it a little much like a pale turquoise and I would tell him, ‘No, Tex, it’s got too much green in it. It looks too turquoise.'”
(Here’s a year-by-year evolution of the Cowboys’ look.)
This much is true: Eskridge’s embrace of the star as helmet logo would have been called marketing brilliance, if such a term existed around pro football in the sixties. Of all the brands associated with the state of Texas, none is as well-known and instantly identifiable around the world as that blue star with the white border. No other sports franchise can claim a logo that’s as simple and as instantly recognizable.
Helping to promote the star was the television show Dallas, which by 1980 was the most popular television show in the world, dubbed into 67 languages in more than ninety countries. No matter if viewers understood American culture, much less had an inkling about the city of Dallas—they knew the star, since the opening credits of every episode featured an aerial shot of Texas Stadium, zooming down through the hole in the roof to focus on the end zone where the letters spelled out “COWBOYS,” accompanied by the five-pointed logo. The star said all that needed to be said.
Just think, it could have been that goofy cartoon player riding the midget pony, which is right up there with the oil derrick that ID’ed the Houston Oilers, or that silly patriot hiking the ball that Boston originally embraced.
Or it could have been just a big D, for the first letter of the city the team represented, which of could have been confused for Denver (although today, D might be more appropriate, since it could also be mistaken for Dysfunction, which pretty much sums up the current state of the franchise).
Whatever it represents, it goes back to Jack Eskridge. No matter what one thinks of the Dallas Cowboys, that iconic star represents the team, the city, the state, and NFL football better than any logo in sports.
(Stars from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.Net, Boot helmet from Helmethut.com.)
Joe Nick Patoski is the author of THE DALLAS COWBOYS: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America (Little, Brown). Read an excerpt from it here.
AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher
So I was in Houston Friday night, talking the Dallas Cowboys at Brazos Bookstore and spinning vinyl at Leon’s Lounge, as well as hanging with my friends William Michael Smith of the Houston Press and Jack Massing of The Art Guys and sword-fighting with Max Massing. I’d noticed my old player-coach of the Jack’s Auto Repair All-Stars of the Twin Cities Cultural Arts Softball League, Garrison Keillor, was hosting A Prairie Home Companion at the Wortham Opera House in Houston on Saturday. I sent an email to the show and Friday afternoon received an email from Garrison. Long and short of it, and unbeknown to me until about 10 minutes before airtime, I had the pleasure of enjoying a few minutes of conversation with Garrison on his show, which is during the third segment.
I love radio and this program is the best of what radio is
Boot maker sets up shop in Marfa
By EMILY JO CURETON
MARFA – The human foot consists of 20 muscles and 28 bones. An indefinable mix of reason, emotion, pride, vanity and God only knows what else make up the human psyche. When western boot maker Colt Miller sets to work his unusual task is to fit for both the foot and the person attached to it.
Hunched over a cluttered table in his workshop on South Highland Avenue in Marfa, he patiently tools a pair of custom cowboy boots for his girlfriend of the past five years. The complex inlay depicts her namesake, Mt. Logan, in tri-colored calfskin. In the end he’ll spend upwards of 60 hours working on this pair.
It starts simple enough. He traces the outline of each foot and takes down certain measurements: instep, toe box, width, length and the like. But Miller’s handiwork brings dirt kickers to another level – replete with a whole spectrum of colors and different types of leather, intricate inlays and embroidered designs laden with highly specific, personal symbols.
“I’ve noticed that it’s a lot of the cowboys who want the most flamboyant boots,” Miller says.
But of the 50 or so pairs he has crafted in the past seven years, only about half went to cow folk. The rest outfit concrete dwellers, those concerned less with rattlesnakes and mesquite thorns than with fashion.
Since cowboy boots appeared in the late 1800s, (a close cousin of military boots designed specifically for riding on horseback all day long), they have been subject to the whims of every generation, from polyester paisley to Ralph Lauren.
Despite, or perhaps because of this enduring demand for western wear, one-man operations like Miller’s Cobra Rock Boots are a rarity these days.
At the Justin boot factory in El Paso a computer-programmed embroidery machine replaced 100 workers who used to do the ornate stitchings. The factory churns out 1,000 pairs of boots a day.
Miller averages one pair of boots a week, on a good week.
While still an enduring symbol of Americanism with a capital A, modern cowboy boots are predominately manufactured overseas: another commodity in an ever-globalizing economy. In all, the value of US production of men’s western style boots fell 40 percent between 1997 and 2002, according to the US Census Bureau.
Roughly 35 to 40 percent of the Tony Lama line is outsourced, while between 75 and 80 percent of the Justin Boots brand are crafted in China and Mexico.
Cobra Rock Boots are made from start to finish by 30-year-old Miller, who grew up in Borden County, Texas, about 70 miles south of Lubbock, the son of a cowboy and a schoolteacher. The nearest town to his family’s ranch boasts a population of 180 and a Main Street full of shuttered business, save the post office.
After studying geography and financial planning at Texas Tech, Miller returned home in search of a job he could hold down while still playing guitar in a touring country band called the Thrift Store Cowboys.
Then he met a boot maker in Post, who taught him the time-honored trade in exchange for guitar lessons. After a yearlong apprenticeship, Miller made his first pair of handmade boots for his granddad.
“It was finally something where I could be creative. I was always too self-conscious to do anything in school,” Miller says.
He moved to Marfa in August and now spends much of his time either working on boot orders or touring with Thrift Store Cowboys, whose fourth studio album came out in October.
A pair of Cobra Rock boots runs $600 for an all custom design and fit; $525 for a standard fit, designed to suit; and $300 for custom lace-up western ankle boots.
The design aspect of Miller’s work is time consuming and totally personalized, but he says it’s a good fit that makes or breaks the deal, often after 40+ hours of labor:
“You do a lot of sweating just measuring someone and shaping the last. You won’t really know until they try them on”.
Cobra Rock Boot Company is located at 207 South Highland Avenue, just north of Marfa National Bank. Samples of Miller’s work can be seen online at cobrarock.com.