Classic TV: Townes Van Zandt tribute at Austin City Limits 1997

Tribute to Townes Van Zandt
Austin City Limits
Recorded in December 7, 1997.

Townes Van Zandt, was an American singer songwriter. He is widely held in high regard for his poetic, often heroically sad songs. In 1983, six years after Emmylou Harris had first popularized it, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song “Pancho and Lefty”, scoring a number one hit on the Billboard country music charts. Much of his life was spent touring various dive bars, often living in cheap motel rooms and backwoods cabins. For much of the 1970s, he lived in a simple shack without electricity or a phone.

He suffered from a series of drug addictions, alcoholism, and the psychiatric diagnosis bipolar disorder. When he was young, the now discredited insulin shock therapy erased much of his long-term memory. Continue reading “Classic TV: Townes Van Zandt tribute at Austin City Limits 1997”

1968: 20 Songs Released in 1968 You Must Hear

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A shitload of great music was released in 1968, here are my 20 chosen songs.

  • Madame George – Van Morrison

    Madame George is the album’s whirlpool. Possibly one of the most compassionate pieces of music ever made, it asks us, no, arranges that we see the plight of what I’ll be brutal and call a lovelorn drag queen with such intense empathy that when the singer hurts him, we do too.
    -Lester Bangs

    A song from the album Astral Weeks, released in 1968. It was recorded during the first Astral Weeks session that took place on September 25, 1968 at Century Sound Studios in New York City with Lewis Merenstein as producer.

    In 1974, after he had recorded eight albums, Morrison told Ritchie Yorke when he asked him what he considered his finest single track and the one that he enjoyed the most that it was: “Definitely ‘Madame George’, definitely. I’m just starting to realize it more and more. It just seems to get at you… it just lays right in there, that whole track. The vocals and the instruments and the whole thing. I like that one.”

    Down on Cyprus Avenue
    With a childlike vision leaping into view
    Clicking, clacking of the high heeled shoe
    Ford and Fitzroy, Madame George
    Marching with the soldier boy behind
    He’s much older now with hat on drinking wine
    And that smell of sweet perfume comes drifting through
    The cool night air like Shalimar




    Continue reading “1968: 20 Songs Released in 1968 You Must Hear”

Classic Live Album: Townes Van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas

The set features 26 songs, all originals except for covers of “Cocaine Blues,” “Nine Pound Hammer,” and “Who Do You Love,” and Van Zandt brigs these tunes to life with an easy grace that’s a striking complement to the emotional gravity of his lyrics, though he also gives his lighter side an airing here, occasionally cracking jokes and offering a pair of funny talking blues numbers, “Talking Thunderbird Blues” and “Fraternity Blues.” If the renditions of “Pancho & Lefty,” “If I Needed You,” “Rex’s Blues,” “For the Sake of the Song,” and “Tecumseh Valley” aren’t quite definitive, they’re beautiful and affecting, and thanks to the sharp performances, on-point vocals, and superb set list, this is a superior document of Townes Van Zandt on-stage, and is a fine introduction to his body of work.
-Mark Deming (allmusic.com)

Amazon.com dates the CD release @ June 24, 2008, and that finally pushed me (Calendar OCD) to put out a post about this AWESOME album.

I love live music and most of the music I listen to is actually concert bootlegs (mostly Dylan, Van Morrison, Springsteen, The Stones, etc..), but there are some great officially released live albums out there as well.. and this is one of them. Recorded in July 1973, and released as a double live album in 1977.

We really love TVZ here @ borntolisten.com and when we made our “TWZ best songs” lists (a couple of years ago), the favourite versions on my list are mostly from this wonderful album (Kathleen, Lungs, If I Needed You, etc..).

Continue reading “Classic Live Album: Townes Van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas”

Townes Van Zandt to be inducted in Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame

Townes Van Zandt have been chosen, along with Bob Morrison, Beth Nielsen and Aaron Barker, to be included in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 9th of October this year.

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1970 and have 199 inductees today.

We think Van Zandt’s inclusion is long overdue and here are 11 reasons why. There are many more, but these gems really shine.

Marie she didn’t wake up this morning
She didn’t even try
She just rolled over and went to Heaven
My little boy safe inside

I laid them in the sun where somebody’d find them
Caught a Chesapeak on the fly
Marie will know I’m headed south
So’s to meet me by and by

Marie will know I’m headed south
So to meet me by and by

– Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt is one of the greatest songwriters in music-history. To narrow down my choice to just 11 songs is a pain. His 9 studio albums, and some compilations released after his death in 97 are so full of great songs that my task has been nearly impossible. I could pick 11 other songs in his songbook that are just as good, but today this is my list.

Marie:

Kurt Wolff (allmusic):
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 were scraping bottom, but just as quickly he could lift your spirits and make you smile at the sparkle of a summer morning or a loved one’s eyes — or raise a chuckle with a quick and funny talking blues. The magic of his songs is that they never leave you alone.

Continue reading “Townes Van Zandt to be inducted in Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame”