NOTE: Be sure to scroll down past the video for a great background on the Tornados transitional period after the deaths of Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender. And I'd like to say a special thank you to Shawn and Cheryl Sahm for helping me piece this together!
Opportunities to see living legends seem to be almost commonplace in New Braunfels since musically speaking this is such a unique town, and this weekend I was able to see for the first time a band that I've listened to since shortly after they were "officially" formed in the early 90's, The Texas Tornados. Among the varied and diverse musical selections my dad played when I was a kid, was Freddy Fender plus Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. This aided in my love of bands that include a horn section or an accordion.
Fast forward to this weekend, it was nice to finally see the current form of The Texas Tornados at Gruene Hall, and if you haven't them with Doug Sahm's son Shawn at the helm along with Nunie Rubio on supporting vocals, let me put your mind at rest, Shawn has carried on true to his father's spirit, along with a bit of his own personal flavor, and Shawn is doing an amazing job keeping the tradition of The Texas Tornados alive!
Enjoy some video highlights from the show!
For a little background, The Texas Tornados officially formed in 1990, and continued to release records and tour until the untimely death of Doug Sahm after a heart attack in November 1999. Shawn Sahm reunited the Texas Tornados in 2005 to record a Doug Sahm tribute album. This included all remaining Texas Tornados Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, Louie Ortega, Speedy Sparks and Ernie Durawa. When Freddy asked Shawn which of his songs he wanted to record, Shawn told Freddy he wanted songs nobody has heard before. Freddy said he didn't have anything new so Shawn suggested he write some new songs for this album. Among these newly penned Freddy Fender songs was "If I Could Only". Freddy wanted Augie to sing it Freddy style, but Shawn said "nobody does Freddy Fender better than Freddy Fender" so Shawn had Freddy record it.
Freddy passed away in October 2006 which was shortly after the CD was finished, so Shawn decided to make the reunion tour a celebration of Doug and Freddy. Shawn added Flaco's singer Nunie Rubio (who also played in Shawn's band The Tex-Mex Experience) to sing Flaco's songs and some of the Freddy songs, and also called on long time friend Neal Walker to cover the background harmonies. The tribute album 'Esta Bueno' was finally released in 2010, and the Texas Tornados have been touring together ever since, refining their chemistry and sound, and the maturity that has come from the past few years is evident when watching the excitement level of the sold out crowd at Gruene Hall cheering on the band during each and every song, old or new!