Until recently Townes played the underappreciated artist role to perfection. It seems that with the reissue of many of his live recordings and his studio albums available on a wider scale, critical and compatriot praise has gushed forth over his catalog. And with great reason; for me Townes is the prime example of simple understated truth and world weary sadness. Though he was always at his best in front of an audience to overlook bright spots on his albums would be a shame.

Townes Van Zandt - High, Low and In Between
Quite possibly the most honest album title ever; this album captures some of Townes more whimsical southern spiritual/ country moments but never loses sight of his lyrical gift to drive
home the everyman's blues. This album can occasionally support the often heard complaint that his studio albums could suffer from production that distracted from the heart of the song, but when it hits the right moments, the solemn ring of lap steel can hang on your heart right along with the words. Covering everything from boisterous gambling odes to dust in throat traveling blues; but as always its Townes' voice hovering over the tracks with its unwavering honesty and soft country lilt that makes any tale feel like its a personal experience. Some of these come through with stronger conviction when the band fades away but they're no less true right here.

[MP3] Townes Van Zandt -You Are Not Needed Now
[MP3] Townes Van Zandt - To Live Is To Fly

Townes Van Zandt- Flyin' Shoes
More even in temper, Flyin' Shoes keeps the tone low and sweet. This isn't always at the top of folks' favorite Van Zandt lists but I think the album has an understated dignity, with a few digressions in production. It contains the heartfelt
ode Rex's Blues, to Townes friend and former owner of the Old Quarter, a fitting loser's anthem if there ever was one. This was the last album from his prolific period of songwriting during the 70's and signaled an oncoming lapse for many years. It definitely bears some signs of burning out in the form of the weary "Snake Song" and the title track. Still with the exception of an oddly placed Bo Diddly cover the album is sweet and packed with a kind of southern charm that radiates from its country tinges to breezes of folk and whisky dappled blues.

[MP3] Townes Van Zandt - Rex's Blues
[MP3] Townes Van Zandt - Flyin' Shoes

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posted by dissensous at 9:45:00 AM


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