a.k.a. the great american music blog
Upon first listen, this sounds pretty great! Almost all that I could have asked for in this project. And as I said a little while back, I'm particularly jazzed by the song selection, which hits some of the expected career highlights, but also goes in for some seldom heard deep cuts that I'm particularly fond of...such as the bluesy, terrifying, absolutely unsentimental tale of being down and out, "Where I Lead Me". One of my favorite bits is the final verse, which contains the following advice to anyone tempted to follow (like perhaps Earle?) in Townes' boozy, gambling, drifting footsteps:"Go ask the boys down in the gutter.They won't lie 'cause you don't matter.The street's just fine if you're good and blind, but it ain't where you belong.Roll down your sleeves, pick up your money, and carry yourself home"
Recommendations for starting points for Townes anyone?
Well, my favorite recording is probably the Live at the Old Quarter double CD, which lets you hear Townes in his prime, and gives you a pretty good selection of his best stuff, along with letting you see other sides of him you don't see anywhere else (the corny jokes he tells between songs, the bizarre and hilarious talking blues songs that never pop up on any other release).On the other hand, it's 2 hours of a guy alone with a guitar, which may not be everybody's thing. He had a string of great studio albums in the 70s which would also all be fine starting points...with the caveat that while some of the songs sound good with some extra instruments, sometimes they're also over produced or just weirdly arranged (Townes never really found the right producer). But with that one caveat, there are many excellent, awesome songs on his studio albums, and you'd be good to start with any of: "Townes Van Zandt" "Delta Momma Blues" "High Low and In Between" "Flyin' Shoes" or the curiously named "The Late Great Townes Van Zandt" (released around 20 years before he actually drank himself to death).
I would start with a double shot of Live At The Old QuarterandHigh, Low and In BetweenAfter one listen, I also don't think that the new Steve Earle is a terrible entry point if you happen to be a Steve Earle fan.The arrangements are faithful, yet very imaginative. And you get to hear Tom Morello from RATM and Audioslave play on Lungs! Hilarious and sorta kinda really awesome.
I'm a fan of Delta Momma Blues, oddball album cover and all.Quinapalus introduced me to that album with the warning that its last two tracks, Rake and Nothin' comprised perhaps the most depressing pairing in recorded music.The guy was a downer, but in a way one could still enjoy.
Also, you can really hear his influence on Mark Lanegan, a Drischord chestnut as Eric might term it.
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