Monday, May 21, 2007

Mulching With Townes

“Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.” – Steve Earle

"All the poets do push-ups/ On carpets of rubber foam/
Loudly they laugh/ At some joke that's been made"

I’m often compelled to return to old musical favorites for utterly inane reasons. Laying mulch in my backyard under the hot Ohio sun, for example, seemed to be the perfect occasion to revisit my boy Townes Van Zandt. As a country singer-songwriter and overall badass, Townes had an enormous impact on modern music with his poetic and melancholy tunes about women, booze, and the hard life. Unfortunately, he never broke into stardom during his stay on earth, and remained a cult figure for much of his life. He’s sadly often remembered for the cover versions of his timeless songs (Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard had a #1 hit with Townes’ “Pancho and Lefty”), but no one else can make your soul bleed and your mind clear like the man himself.

If you decide to go hunting for Townes music, start with the live recording Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas, a chilling two-disc set that doesn’t muddle up his songs with the razzle-dazzle of overproduction. Then pop in the documentary, Be Here To Love Me to get to know the story behind the legend. Once that’s all done, you won’t forget to bring Townes along the next time you go mulching.

Townes Van Zandt – She Came And She Touched Me (Live)
Townes Van Zandt – Don’t Let The Sunshine Fool Ya’
Townes Van Zandt – Pancho & Lefty
Townes Van Zandt – Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold (Live)
Townes Van Zandt – Dead Flowers (featured in The Big Lebowski)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I second Steve Earle! Keep spreading the word.