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The South Texas Popular Culture Center opens with a special Doug Sahm tribute

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

The contact sheet of Doug Sahm's Rolling Stone cover in 1968. Son Shawn is on his lap.

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"Dear Boots, here's a little gift to you from your Aunt Mimie and Uncle Ralph," reads a letter dated April 4, 1950, to a young Doug Sahm, who wasn't even nine years old at the time. "We think you was swell last Monday night and we are awful proud of you. Your momma, daddy, and brother are equally proud of you and they all have the right to be. You have one of the nicest steels I have ever seen and moreover you play it so good. Boots, you can go a long way with your music because you have natural talent. It comes natural with you. Keep up your practice but don't overdo it. You are still a boy and you need to play like other boys. All work and no play will make Boots a dull boy."

As it turned out, Sahm (who passed away in 1999 at age 58) was anything but dull. He worked and he played, and his musical contributions with the Sir Douglas Quintet, the Texas Tornados, Los Super Seven, and others, as well as his career as a solo artist, established him as a Texas musical icon that shattered genre barriers and shone in the rock 'n' roll, blues, country, conjunto, and pop worlds. And even though he spent the last years of his life residing in Austin, he was born in San Antonio and maintained his strong roots here. Those early years of Sahm's life will be remembered at the opening of the South Texas Popular Culture Center, a new music museum directed by Michael Ann Coker and Margaret Moser.

"Isn't that wonderful?" Moser asks after reading Aunt Mimi's letter. "That means [Sahm had] that family encouragement to do what he was doing. Isn't that wonderful?"

Moser's timbre as she repeats "Isn't that wonderful?" communicates the passion and capacity for amazement that allowed her and Coker to devote a good part of their life to collecting, interviewing, researching, and sharing the history of South Texas' music with a wider audience.

"I love Texas history and I love genealogy," says Coker. "They fit together so nicely. A lot of the kids don't know, for example, that Jimi Hendrix was here in San Antonio several times. And I enjoy telling them about it."

Aunt Mimi's letter is part of a growing collection of letters, posters, flyers, vinyl LPs and singles, magazines, books, and other memorabilia donated to the center by supporters. These include the Sahm family, which shared full family albums for the museum's opening. At first, the museum will only be open on weekends, hosting three to four shows a year, but the two ladies have big dreams for it.

"We'd like it to be a library, a meeting place, a resource," said Coker. "We'd love to start working on documentaries and on an encyclopedia of South Texas music."

"This has all been a part and a culmination of my pursuit of documenting and writing about music," said Moser, a longtime writer for the Austin Chronicle. "Finally, it just came to the point where it seemed like it was right to come back to San Antonio and stir the pot."

Consider us stirred. •

"Texas Me: Doug Sahm's San Antonio Years" at the opening of the South Texas Popular Culture Center

7pm-10pm Fri, May 25 (opening reception and exhibit)
12pm-4pm Sat, May 26 (exhibit)
12pm-4pm Sun, May 27 (exhibit)
1017 E Mulberry
(210) 792-1312


STPCC fundraising concert feat. Johnny Colvin Band, Dubby Hankins and Friends, and Los #3 Dinners

7pm Sat, May 26
The Cove
606 W Cypress
(210) 227-2683

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