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Townes Van Zandt

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Editors’ Notes

In his later years Townes Van Zandt often struggled to put together an album's worth of material, but in his early days he managed three albums in his first two years of recording (and six in the first five years). Granted, he often included re-recordings from his 1968 debut, For the Sake of the Song, since he'd been unhappy with their productions. Yet there are still new songs of great distinction on all of his albums. This self-titled release was his third album; strong versions of "For the Sake of the Song," "(Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria," "Waiting Around to Die," and "I'll Be Here in the Morning" are among the highlights. Yet the new songs "Lungs," "Don't Take It Too Bad," and "None but the Rain" are equally stunning and are well-served by the sparse arrangements, where Van Zandt's beautifully fingerpicked guitars form a simple but effective backdrop for his poetic lyrics. Even the grander arrangement of "Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel" serves its song with empathy. 

Customer Reviews

Must Have for Even for the Casual TVZ Fan (If there exists such a creature)

This was Townes' third album, coming after "For the Sake of the Song" and "Our Mother the Mountain". Townes and others believed the first album to be over produced so you see most of the songs from that album rerecorded and reissued on subsequent albums. I will not take the time to critique each song but, as I sit here looking at the songlist, I am marveling at the fact that THEY ARE ALL GREAT SONGS - not a throw-away in the bunch. In fact, on Steve Earl's recently released cover album of TVZ songs, 4 of the 15 songs on that album are from this album - "Don't You Take it Too Bad", "Colorado Girl", "Lungs", and "(Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria". As much as I love Steve and I love his TVZ cover album ("Townes"), I am particularly enamored with Van Zandt's singing and I feel no one has ever improved on his own performances of his own songs. In fact, I like his performances so much that some of my favorite songs are Townes' versions of other peoples work (none on this album) like the Stones' "Dead Flowers", Bo Didley's "Who Do You Love", Springsteen's "Racin' in the Streets". I'm sorry for digressing so let me end by saying that this is a classic album, every song is a stunner, and there are 2-3 songs here - "Columbine", I'll Be Here in the Morning", "None But the Rain" that you will be hard pressed to find on any other albums - live or otherwise.

One of the best!

Every now and then a singer/songwriter appears who, at first listen, can’t sing a lick, but if you give them a chance and listen to them a few times you realize how truly great their music really is. Next you realize that, although other people can sing their songs really well, only the composer can perform the song in the way it was intended so that we listeners can truly appreciate it. Examples that come to mind are Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, John Prine and Guy Clark. I added Townes Van Zandt to this list after watching the documentary film ‘Heartworn Highways’ that also featured Guy Clark, Steve Earle and David Allan Coe. After watching his performance of “Waitin’ ‘Round to Die” I was hooked.

Unfortunately, Townes’ genius came with a big price tag that led to lifelong struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, ending with his death in 1997. The quality of his work deteriorated over the decades so one has to go back to what he produced in the 60s and 70s to see what he’s really capable of.

Townes Van Zant

One of the better townes albums. He is an inspiration. Get this album now.


Born: March 7, 1944 in Fort Worth, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Townes Van Zandt's music doesn't jump up and down, wear fancy clothes, or beat around the bush. Whether he was singing a quiet, introspective country-folk song or a driving, hungry blues, Van Zandt's lyrics and melodies were filled with the kind of haunting truth and beauty that you knew instinctively. His music came straight from his soul by way of a kind heart, an honest mind, and a keen ear for the gentle blend of words and melody. He could bring you down to a place so sad that you felt like you...
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