COOL PEOPLE – Townes Van Zandt

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Townes Van Zandt – Colorado Bound

http://youtu.be/q0znckPjGt8

 

Townes Van Zandt – interview – Marie – Tv broadcast

http://youtu.be/WQHDnO-VQHc

 

Townes Van Zandt – If I Needed You

http://youtu.be/zaP8NGML_QE

 

Townes Van Zandt Biography

Singer, Songwriter (1944–1997)

Townes Van Zandt was a critically acclaimed folk-country singer/songwriter known for songs like “If I Needed You,” “Loretta” and “To Live’s to Fly.
Townes Van Zandt, born on March 7, 1944, in Fort Worth, Texas, became a touring singer/songwriter whose storytelling on albums like For the Sake of the Song and Our Mother the Mountain won acclaim. An underground figure who struggled with drug abuse, Van Zandt saw his tunes “Pancho and Lefty” and “If I Needed You” become hits. Recording for almost three decades, he died on January 1, 1997, in Smyrna, Texas.

Background

Acclaimed country/folk singer and songwriter John Townes Van Zandt was born on March 7, 1944, in Fort Worth, Texas. He moved around quite a bit during his childhood due to his family’s oil business, and during adolescent faced major emotional and mental health challenges, being diagnosed with manic depression and institutionalized.

Later citing Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan as major influences on his work, Van Zandt decided to pursue singing and songwriting, taking up the guitar at 15 and continuing to ply his craft while a student at the University of Colorado. He later relocated to Houston and worked as a live performer, influenced by the likes of blues great Lightnin’ Hopkins and forming lasting connections with country singer/songwriter Guy Clark.

Acclaimed Albums

After recording in Nashville, Van Zandt released his debut album For the Sake of the Song in 1968 and over the next few years offered up a steady stream of releases: Our Mother the Mountain (1969), Townes Van Zandt (1969), Delta Momma Blues (1971), High Low and In Between and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (both 1972).

He released a couple of more albums during the late ’70s, including Flyin’ Shoes (1978), and didn’t offer any new recordings for almost ten years. Then throughout the late ’80s to ’90s, he put forth several new works, with 1995’sNo Deeper Blue, made in Ireland, being the last album he recorded.

Influential Song-Maker, Hard Life

Van Zandt’s music is characterized by moody folk textures, vividly engaging storytelling and his emotionally resonant voice, leading to rounds and rounds of critical acclaim from those in the know and his status as a major influencer of traditional/alt country. He became a mentor of sorts to Steve Earle, and during the ’80s his tune “Pancho and Lefty” became a chart topper for Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, while Emmylou Harris and Don Williams had a hit with their version of “If I Needed You.”Yet Van Zandt never enjoyed major popularity himself, with the musician stating that’s not what he was after. He remained a wandering, perennially touring figure and abused drugs and alcohol for decades, which affected the quality of his live performances.

Tribute and Documentary

After receiving an operation for a broken hip, Van Zandt suffered a heart attack and died on January 1, 1997, in Smyrna, Tennessee. Posthumous anthologies and previously unreleased recordings were put forth along with In the Beginning… (2003), a collection of 1966 demos.

Van Zandt’s songs have continued to be covered by a range of artists, and Earle released a tribute album, Townes, in 2009. Filmmaker Margaret Brown also helmed the 2005 documentary Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt.

Townes Van Zandt
Memorial Page



Photo handed out at the
memorial service, Jan. 5, 1997
Photo by Steven’s Stills

So friends, when my time comes
as surely it will
you just carry my body
out to some lonesome hill
and lay me down easy
where the cool rivers run
with only my mountains
‘tween me and the sun
My home is Colorado
from My Proud Mountains – TVZ


The sad news:


Initial notice heard Jan 2, 1997Details about Townes last moments – Update from Jeanene Van Zandt; Jan. 4, 1997 6 PM PT part 1, and part 2

And a more complete version of what happened from Jeanene via about-townes mail-list; Aug. 2, 1997

A report on the memorial service by Topher – posted to the TVZ mail list


Books and Films about Townes Van Zandt:


Collected reviews, “Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt” 9/14-15/04 – added 16/Sep/04Book review of “For the Sake of the Song” A new biography captures the self-destructive genius of Townes Van Zandt – by Lacey Galbraith – added 02/Mar/07

Collected reviews, “For the Sake of the Song – TVZ Biography by John Kruth” 3/5/07 – started 5/Mar/07

Collected reviews, “A Deeper Blue – TVZ Biography by Robert Hardy” Apr 2008 – started 30/Jun/08


Tribute show information and reports:


Report on the KUT radio tribute to Townes 2/Jan/97 by Larry Monroe – added 10/Aug/97Listing of a radio tribute show on WNEW 1/5/97

Report on the tribute to Townes at the Cactus Cafe in Austin by Larry Monroe – added 10/Aug/97

Review of the tribute concert held 3/Feb/97 in Seattle thanks to Peter Blackstock (posted to TVZ mail list)

Review of the tribute concert held ??/Mar/97 in LA thanks to John Hulett (posted to TVZ mail list) – added 10/Aug/97

A tribute concert to be held 23/Feb/97 at the Bottom Line in New York thanks to Vin, WNEW-FM | also note of a tribute in Los Angeles 1/March/97 (updated 23/Feb/97) Now with reviews from Vin Scelsa and from Ross Whitwam – added 25/Feb/97 and from Neil Straus in the NY Times – added 27/Feb/97 and at ASCAP’s web page – added 10/Aug/97

Review of the tribute Austin City Limits concert held 7/Dec/97 in Austin thanks to Rob and Kathy (posted to TVZ mail list) – added 4/Jan/98

10 Year Anniversary of Townes passing Radio Tribute Show – KDVS thanks to Bones – added 17/Jan/07

A page for the annual TVZ wake, held early Jan at the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston Texas. Included there is a song written in memory of Townes by Diane Craig of Galveston, Texas called ‘The Ghost of Townes Van Zandt’. Recommended by M. Chambers. – Added 10/Mar/2001


Dreams, Poems, Stories, and Songs:


A dream that Townes visited faxed to me by Jeanene – added 18/Jan/97Last Haunts on TVZ A poem by Scotty Melton – added 23/Feb/97

Chasing Townes A poem by Robert Gibson – added 10/Aug/97

Leaving Townes A short story by Richard Dobson – added 10/Aug/97

A series of songs and poems by Scotty Melton – added 10/Aug/97

Fort Worth Blues lyrics written in tribute to Townes by Steve Earle – added 10/Aug/97

Guitar Road song written in tribute to Townes by Chris Deschner/David Munyon – added 26/May/98, thanks to Kim Nygaard

Townes (key of C) song written in 1990 by Dallas Denny – added 31/Dec/98

ADIOS song written by Horst Schrader – added 17/Sept/2000

New Year’s Day A poem written by David Byboth local copy – added 10/Mar/2001

Jesse Sykes Interview An excerpt posted to About-Townes 03/Sept/04 on how Townes influenced this musician – added 4/Sept/2004

We Needed Him A short poem by Chris Edwards – added 30/June/2008

Wild Morning Glory A song written for Townes by Matt Watroba, who once interviewed Townes a couple of times on his radio show, and now plays Townes music regularly on WDET Detroit and in his own performances – added 06/Feb/2009

I just listened to Live at The Old Quarter and it brought back memories Remembrances of townes especially on stage during rough times by David Brown – added 27/Mar/2009

The Muses Envy A poem written shortly after Townes death by beyondfencesmusic – added 11/Aug/2010

Stage Light On The Lonely Town A song written as a tribute by M. Andros – added 06/Sept/2010


Press Releases and Published Articles about Townes:


Jan 2, 1997 Associated Press story by Jim Patterson appearing in StarWeb [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 2, 1997 4:58 PM PT NPR interview with Nanci Griffith – part 1 (8 bit mono AU sound file, 973 KB)Jan 2, 1997 4:58 PM PT NPR interview with Nanci Griffith – part 2 (8 bit mono AU sound file, 750 KB)Jan 2, 1997 1:45 PM PT Story by Marcus Errico appearing in E! ONLINE [Local copy] (if not avail from orig. source)Jan 2, 1997 Story in Jam! Showbiz [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 3, 1997 Story by Steve Morse in the Boston Globe [Local copy] (if not avail from orig. source)Jan 3, 1997 Story by NEIL STRAUS appearing in the New York Times [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 3, 1997 Associated Press story plus different photo in MS-NBC [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 3, 1997 A new story by Peter Blackstock in MS-NBC [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 4, 1997 Washington Post Story – mentions two upcoming releases by Townes from Sugar Hill [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 4, 1997 A newspaper article in the Austin American-Statesman by Michael Corcoran – as posted to the TVZ mail listJan 5, 1997 A story by Robert Trussell appearing in the Kansas City Star Jan. 5, 1997 – added 19/Jan/97Jan 8, 1997 A story by John W. English appearing in Flagpole Magazine Online(Athens, GA) [local copy] (if no longer available from original source)- added 21/Jan/97Jan 13, 1997 A story by Brad Tyer called “End of the Road” – thanks to Dan for submitting this to me – added 21/Jan/97Jan 10-16, 1997 The Dean of Texas Songwriters [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) – A story by Lee Nichols in the Austin Chronicle – thanks to Dave J. – added 4/Feb/97Jan 10-16, 1997 Dead Rabbits [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) A story by Ed Ward in the Austin Chronicle – thanks to Dave J. – added 4/Feb/97Jan 9, 1997 from Kellmans Real Music Reviews [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) – added 10/Aug/97Jan 30, 1997 We Needed Him by Naomi Shihab Nye in the Texas Observer – thanks to Roy K. – added 4/Feb/97Feb 7, 1997 Death’s Dark Shadow [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) by David Marsh in the American Grandstand/Addicted To Noise – added 9/Feb/97Mar 1, 1997 Keeping quiet for the sake of a song by Adam Sweeting in the British Gaurdian – thanks to Michael K. – added 10/Aug/97Jan 28, 1997 Segment #4 on Acoustic Cafe Show #107 Go to their site and select “Listen to the Cafe”. Includes Tecumseh Valley – N. Griffith, Buckskin Stallion Blues – Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Pancho and Lefty – Emmylou Harris, Dont You Take It So Bad – Guy Clark, Dublin Blues – TVZ [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) – added 19/Apr/97Jul 25, 1997 A long essay about Townes by Roy Kasten submitted to about-townes – added 10/Aug/97Jan 1999 A gentleman and a shaman – article in No Depression by Matt Hanks – added 09/Sep/10Oct 1, 1999 William Hedgepeth’s article “Townes Van Zandt – messages from the outside” that appeared in Atlanta’s Hittin’ the Note magazine back in May 1977 is now available hereDec 29, 1999 An article appearing in the Gaurdian UK, Aug 1998 “Legend Of The Fall” with a note by Dave Williams, who kindly transcribed and submitted this article


More articles about Townes and His Legacy of Recordings:


Dec 10, 2001 Interview with Townes’ son JT Van Zandt from LoneStarMusic.com Texas music newsletter [Local copy] (if no longer avail from orig. source)Jul 2003 “Travels with Townes Van Zandt” from Perfect Sound Forever online Music Magazine story by Steve Hawley [Local copy] (if no longer avail from orig. source)Nov 14, 2003 “Dead, Not Buried” – the fight over Townes recordings and publishing rights Dallas Observer story by Robert Wilonsky [Local copy] (if no longer avail from orig. source)Aug 3, 2005 “10. Live at The Old Quarter, Townes Van Zandt in “Heartworn Highways: The 25 Greatest Country Albums of All Time”www.beingthere.com article by Zayne Reeves [Local copy] (if no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 7, 2010 “Legends: Townes Van Zandt in American Songwriter. On Townes and his songwriting www.americansongwriter.com/2010/01/legends-townes-van-zandt – article by Holly Gleason



I ain’t much of a lover it’s true
I’m here then I’m gone
and I’m forever blue
but I’m sure wanting you

Skies full of silver and gold
try to hide the sun
but it can’t be done
least not for long

 

– from No Place To Fall
by Townes Van Zandt

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2 responses »

  1. Pancho and Lefty is one of my favorite songs. Like so many tunes on vinyl, compact cassette, and CD that I own but no longer listen to, I recently downloaded the Willy Nelson / Merle Haggard verson from iTunes.

    I am constantly amazed by the number of popular tunes that were actually written/recorded decades earlier by both unknown and well known artists.

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