I Know I Could Be Happy If Myself Wasn’t Here
El Sendero Records
In 1965 Doug Sahm formed “The Sir Douglas Quintet” with childhood friend Augie Meyers. The band had a top twenty hit with “She’s About a Mover”. They were busted for pot in Texas, moved to San Francisco and re-formed with a new lineup. Then in 1969 they released the single and album “Mendocino” with Meyers’ signature organ riff and a Tex-Mex sound. Four more singles from the album followed. In 1970 they released their follow-up recording “1+1+1=4”. Overall they have twenty-four studio albums and fifteen compilations.
Back in Texas in 1990 Sahm formed the Tex-Mex supergroup “The Texas Tornados” with Meyers, singer Freddy Fender and accordionist Flaco Jimenez. They released seven albums and the singles “Adios Mexico”, “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” and “A Little Bit is Better than Nada”.
Meyers, who also recorded with Bob Dylan, is a Tex-Mex super star who began a solo career in 1971 with the release of “The Western Head Music Co.” on Polydor Records. The album’s cover photo of him, riding a bucking donkey while holding a joint in front of its face, is hilarious. His sense of humor and songwriting ignited a career that includes over twenty albums. Album titles like “You Ain’t Rollin’ Your Roll Rite” and “My Freeholies Ain’t Free Anymore” suggest his fun musical take on life. In 2017 he released two albums “When You Used to Be Mine”, and “Monkeys on Cocaine” with Frank Carillo of The Bandoleros.
On “I Know I Could Be Happy, If Myself Wasn’t Here” Meyers continues to combine traditional country music with a Tex-Mex sound. The band includes Meyers on piano, organ and vocals; Jimmy Spachek, rhythm guitar; Ruben V, lead guitar; Jack Barber, bass; and Ernie Durawa (who played with both The Sir Douglas Quintet and The Texas Tornados), drums. Also adding to the Tex-Mex sound is the fabulous West Side Horns featuring Al Gomez, trumpet; Henry Rivas, tenor and baritone sax; and Spot Barnett, tenor sax. The horn arrangements are from Gomez and Meyers.
“Candy Kisses” written and recorded by country music singer-songwriter George Morgan (father to Lorrie) in 1949 was also recorded by Bill Haley And His Comets in 1960. “I Don’t Know Why I Love You” from Louisiana bandleader Paul Gayten and Robert C. Guidry a.k.a. Bobby Charles was a hit for Clarence “Frogman” Henry in 1961. “Just A Dream” written and sung by Jimmy Clanton, a white teenage idol who came out of New Orleans R n’ B, sold over a million copies in 1958. “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go” was written and recorded by Hank Ballard and The Midnighters in 1960. The horns are fabulous on these new versions. Vocally Meyers’ voice is great as he makes these songs his own.
Durawa on drums opens “Stir It Up”, the first of six new songs written by Meyers, once again propelled by the driving horns as Rivas takes a fabulous tenor solo. “Best Little Woman” is a fun narrative with the horns combining Texas and Louisiana influences. “Gotta Find My Baby” features Benny Harp on harmonica. “I Can’t Believe What You Do To Me” includes Meyers’ signature organ sound. Durawa’s drums punctuate another narrative on the title track.
Meyers has a solid grasp on the music of Texas and Louisiana. This great album should be heard by every fan of roots oriented music.