November 22

Doug Sahm Expressed His Displeasure in “I Can’t Go Back To Austin”

There are absolutely a few figures in country music that can parallel how influential – yet perhaps underappreciated in modern culture – as Doug Sahm is. The moment he brought together the vibrant San Francisco rock and gritty soul into his breed of Texas music, he forever transformed the genre’s mood. This is evident in the song “I Can’t Go Back to Austin.”

Doug Sahm Showed His Dismay

Written by Doug Sahm himself, “I Can’t Go Back to Austin” comes with a steady and upbeat rhythm as well as beautiful fiddle playing. But don’t be fooled! The song is actually a reflection of love. It tells the story of a man who fell in love with a really pretty girl in Austin, which led him into trouble – especially with her old man, who doesn’t understand the fun they have.  

“Can’t go back to Austin anymore. I don’t want to wind up punched out from Texas hardwood floors,” the song goes.

It’s also Sahm’s lament on how Austin was rapidly changing.

“I Can’t Go Back to Austin” appeared in the last studio album Sahm recorded before his death in 2009, called The Return of Wayne DouglasThe album was then released posthumously in 2000. Other songs by Doug Sahm that can be found in the album are “I Don’t Trust No One When It Comes to My Heart,” “Cowboy Peyton Place,” Yesterday Got in the Way,” and “Dallas Alice.”

Tune in and listen to “I Can’t Go Back to Austin” by Doug Sahm in the video below.


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