As its title indicates, the long-awaited new Tornados album is good. Really good, if you ask me, and not only for sentimental reasons. Even though Freddy Fender’s voice wasn’t the same, his conviction was intact both in his new songs (the superb doo-wop “If I Could Only” and “Ahora yo voy,” which the Sir Douglas Quintet would’ve killed to have) and the remake of his “Another Shot of Ambition,” from his country years. Bobby Charles’s “Tennessee Blues,” a beauty of a song recorded by Doug Sahm in his legendary Atlantic sessions, is further enhanced by piano, bajo sexto, and accordion, and the German polka “In Heaven There Is No Beer” is turned into a bilingual Tex-Mex. The album is great, not good, because the songs aren’t just thrown into the mix; each one has a reason to be there. For example, the last track, Doug’s “Girl Going Nowhere,” was inexplicably left out by the Tornados in the ’90s, but his son Shawn is a smart guy. After his dad’s passing, he catalogued his latest material and found the actual Tornados demo for this gem. “I always thought `it` was one of the last great Dad originals, and people really deserve to hear it.” He’s right, and there you have it: The Texas Tornados at their peak in the ’90s, playing together, in the latest album by a bunch of guys who were born to play together. If you go to SXSW and don’t catch the surviving Tornados (Augie and Flaco) with Shawn and the rest of the band, you deserve to be swept away by a real one. –Enrique Lopetegui.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.