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Townes Van Zandt
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I'm amazed this hasn't been reviewed yet! Let me be clear, the 6 or 7 classic songs on here deserve five stars, but all TVZ albums have a few weak, or weird songs, and his choice of covers was sometimes suspect.
That being said, If you don't want to just own his "greatest hits" collection (very incomplete), then you need to buy all of his late '60's & early '70's albums. "For the Sake of the Song" has a beautiful guitar intro and a cyclical feel. I don't know how many versions he recorded of "Waiting Around To Die." I assume this is the first, and his vocal is the best of versions I've heard, but the violin/fiddle is a little distracting. "Colorado Girl" is one of the many understated heartbreaking ballads that he could conjure up out of the air. A classic. "Lungs" is a dense folk-western sounding song with lots of riffin' going on. The lyrics are great. "Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel" is one of my all time favorites. It could have been on a Bob Dylan album circa 1965-66, or a Gene Clark album circa 1966-67. Yes, it's that freaking amazing! The chorus tempo abruptly changes and it positively rocks, both of which are rare for Townes, while the lyrics are surreal & '60's sounding.
"None But The Rain" is another beautiful ballad with some subtle strings supporting it. Like the other songwriters I mentioned, TVZ's voice was much more evocative, and had more range, early on in his "career".
If you're a fan, why don't you own this?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I have owned this as an LP, a casette, and now as a CD. Problem is, every time I play it for someone who has never heard of Townes, they are so blown away by the very first hearing that I become absorbed into their enthusiasm and I end up giving them the LP, or casette, or CD. What I want them to do is spread the word. Like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen, Townes was probably warned early on not to persue a singing career. In fact, his voice is beautiful, with a quality of melancholy. It is warm ("brooding," as someone has said). The acoustic guitar is perfectly played, with outstanding finger picking. And of course, Townes was an extraordinary lyricist. Every song on this album is great. It is so sad that he never had a wider audience, but then, how often does something this good acheive such an audience? You can't go wrong with this work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is Townes Van Zandt's third official release. I consider it his second best album, right behind Our Mother the Mountain. The instrumentation is sparse, and the songs are extremely good. The definitive versions of Townes' classic songs "For the Sake of the Song," and "Waitin' Around to Die," each recorded several times by Townes, are on here. (By the way, Townes said that "Waitin' Around to Die" was the first song he wrote. Pretty amazing first song!

Of some of the other tracks, "Lungs" is an amazing song, as are "None but the Rain" and "(Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria." "Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel" has Dylanesque wordplay, but the feeling is pure Townes. Some of the other songs are not as strong, in my opinion, but there's no filler at all on this album. Fans of alt-country and just plain astounding songwriting need this album; I highly recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD
If my biographical memory serves, this is the third album Townes recorded, after the largely ignored debut album "For the Sake of the Song" and the masterpiece second album "Our Mother the Mountain."

This album finds a more mature writer and singer as he debuts such classics as the seamless "Don't You Take it Too Bad" and the poetically lovely "Quicksilver Daydreams of Maria". He did rerecord a few songs that had appeared on his overproduced first album and they receive much better treatment here.

A full 7 of the 10 songs here are classic TVZ songs. The two mentioned above, as well as "Lungs", "Waitin' Around To Die", "Colorado Girl", "I'll Be here in the Morning"and "For the Sake of the Song". The latter, it has been joked, seems to end up on every subsequent album release.

A first time listener would do well to start here though it is a must for any fan of TVZ.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2010
Format: Audio CD
"Townes Van Zandt" is the third studio album that was put out by Townes Van Zandt. The overall quality of the songwriting is excellent, and the instrumentation is sparse, which helps to bring out the melancholic quality of the songs. All of the songs are good, but my favorites are "For the Sake of the Song," "Waitin' Round to Die," "Lungs," and "(Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria." Whether you already are a fan of Townes Van Zandt or are looking to get introduced to his music, this CD is highly recommended.
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on March 10, 2014
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
I got this album because of a review I read about Townes, who passed away before I bought it. He is a lovely writer, and expresses himself in a special way. So worth a listen.
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on November 24, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I only became aware of Townes Van Zandt a few months ago, and this is the best of his stuff I've heard. As a matter of fact, I bought this copy for a gift.
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on October 18, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
A must for every Townes Van Zandt lover.
It even contains the hauntingly beautiful (Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria.
Any questions?
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The main points of this review have been used to review other Townes Van Zandt CDs.

Readers of this space are by now very aware that I am in search of and working my way through various types of American roots music. In shorthand, running through what others have termed "The American Songbook". Thus I have spent no little time going through the work of seemingly every musician who rates space in the august place. From blues giants, folk legends, classic rock `n' roll artists down through the second and third layers of those milieus out in the backwoods and small, hideaway music spots that dot the American musical landscape. I have also given a nod to more R&B, rockabilly and popular song artists then one reasonably need to know about. I have, however, other than the absolutely obligatory passing nods to the likes of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline spent very ink on more traditional Country music, what used to be called the Nashville sound. What gives?

Whatever my personal musical preferences there is no question that the country music work of, for example, the likes of George Jones, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette in earlier times or Garth Brooks and Faith Hill a little later or today Keith Urban and Taylor Swift (I am cheating on these last two since I do not know their work and had to ask someone about them) "speak" to vast audiences out in the heartland. They just, for a number of reasons that need not be gone into here, do not "speak" to me. However, in the interest of "full disclosure" I must admit today that I had a "country music moment" about thirty years ago. That was the time of the "outlaws" of the country music scene. You know, Waylon (Jennings) and Willie (Nelson). Also Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Jerry Jeff Walker. Country Outlaws, get it? Guys and gals ( think of Jesse Colter)who broke from the Nashville/ Grand Old Opry mold by drinking hard, smoking plenty of dope and generally raising the kind of hell that the pious guardians of the Country Music Hall Of Fame would have had heart attacks over (at least in public). Oh, and did I say they wrote lyrics that spoke of love and longing, trouble with their "old ladies" (or "old men"), and struggling to get through the day. Just an ordinary day's work in the music world but with their own outlandish twists on it.

All of the above is an extremely round about way to introduce the "max daddy" of my 'country music moment', Townes Van Zandt. For those who the name does not ring a bell perhaps his most famous work does, the much-covered "Pancho And Lefty". In some ways his personal biography exemplified the then "new outlaw" (assuming that Hank Williams and his gang were the original ones). Chronic childhood problems, including a stint in a mental hospital, drugs, drink, and some rather "politically incorrect" sexual attitudes. Nothing really new here, except out of this mix came some of the most haunting lyrics of longing, loneliness, depression, sadness and despair. And that is the "milder" stuff. Not exactly the stuff of Nashville. That is the point. The late Townes Van Zandt "spoke" to me (he died in 1997) in a way that Nashville never could. And, in the end, the other outlaws couldn't either. That, my friends, is the saga of my country moment. Listen up to any of the CDs listed below for the reason why Townes did.

Townes Van Zandt was, due to personal circumstances and the nature of the music industry, honored more highly among his fellow musicians than as an outright star of "outlaw" country music back in the day. That influence was felt through the sincerest form of flattery in the music industry- someone well known covering your song. Many of Townes' pieces, especially since his untimely death in 1997, have been covered by others, most famously Willie Nelson's cover of "Pancho and Lefty". However, Townes, whom I had seen a number of times in person in the late 1970's, was no mean performer of his own darkly compelling songs.

Early Townes

Townes Van Zandt, Townes Van Zandt, Tomato Records

This compilation, "Townes Van Zandt", gives both the novice a Van Zandt primer and the aficionado a fine array of his core early works in one place Start with "Don't You Take It Too Bad", work through the longing felt in "I'll Be Here In The Morning", and the pathos of "For The Sake Of The Song" that could serve as a personal Townes anthem. Then on to the sadness of "Columbine" and "Waiting' Round To Die". Finally, round things out with the slight hopefulness of "Colorado Girl" and the epic tragedy of "None But The Rain". My special favorite here, as attested to by an old worn out LP album version of this CD song is "(Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria". For sheer poetic lyrical form I do not think Townes did one better, the thing jumps out with many apt metaphors. Many of these songs are not for the faint-hearted but are done from a place that I hope none of us have to go but can relate to nevertheless. This well thought out product is one that will make you too a Townes aficionado. A welcome addition are the copious liner notes that give some sense of his life, his work and his lyrics. Get to it.
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on January 27, 2015
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I am very happy with the CD
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