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I had known all of these renegades for many years and understood why he was so adamant about using only these players. They were the embodiment of the "San Antonio sound," as was Doug. They had history, and every player was a monster in his own right. And their overall pedigree was nothing less than stellar. Spot used to play with Bobby Bland, for Christ's sake!

These guys make it look as easy as ringing a bell, a completely natural deal. Everyone knew exactly what to do and when to do it. No stepping on anyone's toes. No uninvited showboating. And when they all got together, there was no mistaking that what you heard was a sound and a groove that was definitive San Antonio.

But then Doug Sahm passed, and the West Siders were left to keep the torch going without him - which is no easy feat. Many of us felt chaos at the time. Augie Meyers was right in there for us, and Randy Garibay did an excellent job filling that void until he, too, joined Doug and Clifford Scott at that great sound stage in the sky.

So when my old Austin pal, Little Eddie Stout, called to tell me that he was making a record with the West Side Horns for his indie label (Dialtone Records), I did the happy dance.

This is something that had to be done for a multitude of reasons. Nobody is getting any younger and it is high time that the rest of the world got a dose of what we already knew was uniquely "our" sound. It belonged to San Antonio just as the Memphis Horns belong to, well, Memphis. You get the picture: It simply had to be documented. What a tragedy it would have been if Doug and our West Side homies hadn't been able to record the Last Real Texas Blues Band.

So Little Eddie got all the guys into the studio and hired a couple of young guns - the Moeller boys (Johnny and Jay) - to fill in the blanks on guitar and drums. The end result is an 11-song CD called San Quilmas, titled from an old pachuco slang term for San Antonio.

There are several original tunes, several by Jimmy Reed, one by Freddie King, and a few other somewhat obscure tracks that round out the whole enchilada. We're talking old-skool arrangements of kick-ass horn-driven R&B that screams Ebony Lounge on a steamy Saturday night.

It may have started on the West Side of SA, but now it's buzzing all over town. And I feel proud knowing that our city archives are now a little more complete.

(CD, Dialtone Records)
PO Box 684822
Austin, TX 78768

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More by Ronnie Narmour

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