Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
In 1981, after Joe "King" Carrasco proved there was still an audience who wanted to hear Texas-style garage rock in the manner of the Sir Douglas Quintet, Doug Sahm reasonably figured he could do it as well as anyone, and he put together a new edition of the Quintet, featuring original keyboard man Augie Meyers and drummer Johnny Perez. The Quintet cut a fine comeback album, Border Wave, and hit the road, with Sir Doug and Company cranking out plenty of loose-limbed rock & roll, seasoned with the R&B, norte¤o, and blues accents that always informed Sahm's music. Nuevo Wave Live is a reissue of the 1983 live set Live Texas Tornado, preserving highlights from SDQ shows in Los Angeles and Austin, and this album captured the group in its element, conjuring a loose but powerful Texas groove while the audience whoops it up and the band boogies right along with them. It's hard to say why this was supposed to be considered new wave, since it sounds like the same music Sahm and Meyers had been making for almost 20 years at this point, but that doesn't make any less sense than anyone believing the Sir Douglas Quintet were British in 1965, and this short but sweet set is a hoot, with Sahm sounding fully engaged (even when he can't remember the lyrics to "Wolly Bully"), Meyers' organ as gloriously trashy as ever, and Alvin Crow adding some country and rockabilly to the mix (and leading the charge on a ragged-but-right cover of Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy!"). Closing with a swinging version of "The T-Bone Shuffle" that is probably the work of another of Sahm's bands, Nuevo Wave Live is a stylistically mixed bag, but fans of Doug Sahm would expect nothing less from one of his live sets, and the music is a loosely tight delight. ~ Mark Deming