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The good die young
December 1999

Last month, Doug Sahm and Hoyt Axton died. Both men mean a lot to me for different reasons.

Doug Sahm, the man who headed the Sir Douglas Quintet in the 1960s and 70s and afterwards the Texas Tornadoes in the 1980s and 90s was one the greatest talents of contemporary music. He was familiar with blues, folk, country, jazz, and pop. His contributions to rock music cannot be underestimated.

As Bob Dylan way back in the 1960s once said, and I paraphrase him: if you wanna know what's excellent in rock, listen to Doug Sahm.

Nothing much has changed in the meantime. His colleagues value him as one of the greatest of the music business.

How come, we don't know much about him?

Well, Doug Sahm's records have never sold much compared to multi-million sellers like Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd or Eagles. He never had a major record label deal, backing his records up with adequate promotional campaigns.

In addition, Doug Sahm never played the kind of pop music which sells via Top-40 stations. His records are full of different types of music, sometimes blues, sometimes tex-mex, sometimes folk and country.

However, he had a devoted fan community all over the world, particularly in Europe where he toured regularly. He was one of the friendliest guys in the business, offering generously his talents whenever on stage.

He will be missed by everyone who had an ear to listen to excellent quality combined with a whole lot of fun.

Hoyt Axton, the other musician, was primarily a singer with a marvellous voice. His records date back to the 1970s when he was probably at the height of his singing career. Later, he was involved in movie and tv projects.

Axton was never a popular artist though his song "Joy to the world" was a multi-million smash hit for the Canadian band Three Dog Night in the early 1970s.

Hoyt Axton was sort of a country/folk singer, and one of the most remarkable songs he ever recorded is Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay".

We will never hear them coming up with something new. The world of music has become a little bit poorer last month.

Copyright © by Eberhard Wenzel, 1997-2001