Townes Van Zandt was a remarkable singer/songwriter, much admired by contemporaries such as Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris and scores of others.
His erratic career oscillated wildly from moments of brilliance and clear-eyed perceptiveness through to drug-addled, alcohol addicted despair. His was a talent that inspired real love and devotion from his many fans, yet a kind of self-destructive streak hamstrung his progress in music.
Townes could go through periods where he was disciplined and ’together’ – together enough to tour the US and Europe, and this top value double CD set, Down Home & Abroad, captures TVZ in fine form – the first disc features a live show from The Down Home in Johnson City, Tennessee, on April 18th, 1985, and then, on disc two, a show from The Tavastia, in Helsinki, Finland, recorded on June 18th 1993.
The sets include such TVZ classics as ‘Pancho and Lefty’, ‘Lungs’, ‘Tecumseh Valley’, ‘Kathleen’, ‘Flyin’ Shoes’, ‘If I Needed You’, and many others. Townes is in fine voice, the audiences are enthusiastic, and the rich tones of his Gibson Jumbo acoustic guitar are prominent throughout. On disc one, he is accompanied by guitarist Mickey White, and flautist Donny Silverman.
The Helsinki disc just features just TVZ and his guitar, and is no less compelling – gripping stuff from a roots-rock master.
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Artist’s website: http://www.townesvanzandt.com/
Townes’ most famous song, ‘Pancho And Lefty’ – live: