LUNGS (1973) by Townes Van Zandt live at the Old Quarter

wilson mcphert

  • Release Date: 4 Nov 2009
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Townes Van Zandt is a singer songwriter, who did not have the success he deserved in his lifetime, but who now is recognised as being one of the best. He is perhaps best known for his song 'Pancho and Lefty'. That and 'Waiting Around To Die' are probably my favourites and are featured to good effect in the film 'Heartworn Highways'. This song, 'Lungs', is up there with them. It was recorded live at the Old Quarter, Houston, just Townes and his guitar. Anyone wanting to buy their first Townes CD, I would recommend that one. Check out Townes Van Zandt Central for CDs and merchandise, as it benefits Townes' family.

The following is summarised from Wikipedia: While alive, Van Zandt was labeled as a cult musician: though he had a small and devoted fanbase, he never had a successful album or single, and even had difficulty keeping his recordings in print. In 1983, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song "Pancho and Lefty", scoring a number one hit on the Billboard country music charts. Despite achievements like these, the bulk of his life was spent touring various dive bars, often living in cheap motel rooms, backwoods cabins and on friends' couches. Van Zandt was notorious for his drug addictions, alcoholism, and his tendency to tell tall tales. He suffered from manic depression, and attempts to treat it with insulin shock therapy erased much of his long-term memory. He died on New Years Day 1997 from health problems stemming from years of substance abuse. The 2000s saw a resurgence of interest in Van Zandt. During the decade, two books, a documentary film and a number of magazine articles about the singer were created. Van Zandt's music has been covered by such notable and varied musicians as Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Norah Jones, Steve Earle and The Meat Puppets.

There is no film available for this recording, or much available of Townes at his peak (as he certainly was when this was recorded in July 1973). So I have put together a slideshow of mostly early images of Townes.

Comments and ratings are invited.


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