Sunday, November 16, 2008

Townes Live At The Jester And At Carnegie Hall

About time for some Townes Van Zandt here again, the late great singer/songwriter in whose honour this blog was named. I guess most of you know and own his classic studio albums by now, or even the great live covers collection Road Songs (if not, see my earlier post here). But there are two more excellent live albums by the Texan rambler & gambler you should know about, both recorded pretty early on in his career.

First up is Live At The Jester Lounge - Houston, Texas 1966, a registration that didn´t see the light of day until nearly forty years later. By then Townes didn´t have any albums out yet and was still busy learning his trade in small clubs. And The Jester must have been tiny, as the picture on the album sleeve shows Townes performing nearly on top of a stack of podium speakers, which are in turn balanced on a few cases of that weak stuff most Americans call beer. Still with short hair, Townes plays a nice mix of covers (Hello Central by his idol and pal Lightnin´ Hopkins for instance) and originals (the beautiful Black Crow Blues). "Well it´s a funny old world, you can´t walk it alone..." A rough diamond.

Townes Van Zandt - Hello Central (live ´66) MP3
Townes Van Zandt - Black Crow Blues (live ´66) MP3

Three years later we find Townes - he´s got two albums under his belt and wears his hair long - performing at a Poppy Records label bash in Carnegie Hall of all places. This crystal clear recording - A Gentle Evening With Townes Van Zandt - also came out decades after the fact, and it´s a stunner. Sandwiched in between a rock band and a comedian, Townes must have felt somewhat out of place in these plush New York surroundings, but he´s in great form nevertheless. All songs minus one are originals now, and it´s a joy to hear that voice so youthful, not yet scarred by a thirsty life on the road. Was he listening to a lot of Dylan when he wrote She Came And She Touched Me? You bet. An essential document.

Townes Van Zandt - Second Lover´s Song (live ´69) MP3
Townes Van Zandt - She Came And She Touched Me (live ´69) MP3


Robert Scheidler said...

Love your blog -- just stumbled on it.

Perhaps you have mentioned it elsewhere, but perhaps my favorite live album of all (and I am a fan of live albums) is Townes' Live from McCabe's

whenyouawake said...

Fantastic post! I just linked to it from mine. Love what you are doing over here.

Jody and When You Awake

Ramone666 said...

Thanks Jody. Linked back to your blog, as your twang mixtapes are in heavy rotation here, especially the Townes one.