Townes Van Zandt
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
For the Sake of the Song (1968), 6.5/10
Our Mother the Mountain (1969), 7.5/10
Townes Van Zandt (1969), 6.5/10
Delta Momma Blues (1971), 6.5/10
High Low and In Between (1972), 6.5/10
The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (1972), 7/10
Flyin' Shoes (1978), 7/10
At My Window (1987), 5/10
No Deeper Blue (1994), 5/10
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Townes Van Zandt was a poet of intimate, gentle, tormented, emotional ballads. His mostly acoustic art borrowed elements from country, blues and tex-mex, and initiated the great Texas singer-songwriter school of the 1970s.

His debut album, For the Sake of the Song (Poppy, 1968), was an amazing collection of accomplished and profound compositions: For the Sake of the Song, Tecumseh Valley, Many a Fine Lady, Quicksilver Daydreams of Maria, Sad Cinderella, etc. Unfortunately, the album was poorly produced and Van Zandt almost repudiated it. These songs would reapper on later releases.

Van Zandt's lyrics found the appropriate musical setting on Our Mother the Mountain (Poppy, 1969), which remains his masterpiece. Snake Mountain Blues and Kathleen lead the parade of desolate vignettes that recast universal themes as private stories.

Townes Van Zandt (Poppy, 1969) is less poignant not because the arrangements are more basic, but because the material, while often excellent (Lungs, Waiting Around To Die) does not live up to the first two albums.

The following albums, Delta Momma Blues (Poppy, 1971) and High Low and In Between (Poppy, 1971 - Rhino, 1972), were also inferior, although each boasted one of his masterpieces, respectively Tower Song and To Live's to Fly.

Note: all discographies on the web credit High as being released in 1972 but the Poppy-released LP clearly states 1971.

The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (Poppy, 1972) contains two more of his classics, Pancho And Lefty and If I Needed You, but overall is uneven (four covers, one old song). It became his most famous album.

The double album Live At Old Quarter (Tomato, 1977) was the first of many live albums that constitute most of his discography.

It took six years before Van Zandt released another collection of new material, Flyin' Shoes (Rhino, 1978), a superb collection (basically, a "best of" the last six years) that includes No Place To Fall, Loretta, Dollar Bill Blues and Rex's Blues.

Nine more elapsed between this one and At My Window (Sugar Hill, 1987), and seven more before No Deeper Blue (Sugar Hill, 1994) saw the light.

Townes Van Zandt died in january 1997 at 52.

Translation by/ Tradotto da Stefano Lucarelli)

Townes Van Zandt fu un poeta di ballate intime, gentili, tormentate e cariche di emozioni. La sua arte prevalentemente acustica prese elementi dal country, dal blues e dal tex-mex, avviando la grande scuola di cantautori texani degli anni 70.

Il suo album di debutto, For the Sake of the Song (Poppy, 1968), fu una raccolta sorprendente di canzoni complete e profonde: For the Sake of the Song, Tecumseh Valley, Many a Fine Lady, Quicksilver Daydreams of Maria, Sad Cinderella, etc. Sfortunatamente l'album ebbe una produzione scadente e Van Zandt quasi lo rinnegò. Queste canzoni sarebbero poi riapparse su uscite successive.

I testi di Van Zandt trovarono l'accompagnamento musicale adeguato su Our Mother the Mountain (Poppy, 1969), che rimane il suo capolavoro. Snake Mountain Blues e Kathleen guidano la parata di affreschi desolati che ripropongono temi universali come storie private.

Townes Van Zandt (Poppy, 1969) è meno appassionato non tanto a causa di arrangiamenti più elementari, ma perché il materiale, sebbene sia spesso eccellente (Lungs, Waiting Around To Die), non raggiunge il livello dei primi due album.

Anche gli album seguenti, Delta Momma Blues (Poppy, 1971) e High Low and In Between (Rhino, 1972), furono di qualità inferiore, sebbene entrambi possano vantare almeno un brano di successo, rispettivamente Tower Song e To Live's to Fly.

The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (Poppy, 1972) contiene altri due suoi classici, Pancho And Lefty e If I Needed You, ma complessivamente è disomogeneo (quattro cover, un brano vecchio). Divenne il suo album più famoso.

Il doppio album Live At Old Quarter (Tomato, 1977) fu il primo dei numerosi album dal vivo che costituiscono gran parte della sua discografia.

Passarono sei anni prima che Van Zandt pubblicasse un altro album di materiale inedito, Flyin' Shoes (Rhino, 1978), una splendida raccolta (praticamente un "best of" degli ultimi sei anni) che comprende No Place To Fall, Loretta, Dollar Bill Blues e Rex's Blues.

Altri nove ne passarono fra quest'ultimo e At My Window (Sugar Hill, 1987), e altri sette prima che No Deeper Blue (Sugar Hill, 1994) vedesse la luce.

Townes Van Zandt morì nel gennaio del 1997 all'età di 52 anni.

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