The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (LP)

Townes Van Zandt

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2-5 days
May 25, 2015

Format: Vinyl (LP)



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Van Zandt's last and arguably greatest album recorded for Poppy released on 180 gram vinyl.

Often referred to as "The Best Songwriter In The World" (an epithet foisted upon him by Steve Earle), singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt (1944 - 1997) was once described by the LA Times as "A cross between Woody Guthrie and Leonard Cohen". However, despite his passionately-loyal (albeit minuscule) fanbase, legendary status and unconditional peer group approval, Van Zandt achieved virtually no commercial success with his own records during his lifetime, and he never recorded for a major label.

Due to the "complicated" legal mess into which his career and life descended, Van Zandt saw scant remuneration for the later hit recordings of his songs, by Emmylou Harris, Don Williams, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and spent much of his life penniless, scuffling, and in debt. However, his body of work has continued to grow in stature since his death, and latterly there has been a huge revival of interest in his records. Van Zandt recorded eleven studio albums and a half-dozen or so live albums during his truncated career. Our reissue programme presents the best of these on 180 gram vinyl.

"Tortured", "misunderstood", "tragic", "self-destructive", "dangerous", "erratic" - living a life that was once described as 'classic Southern Gothic', Townes Van Zandt was all of these things and more. Among others, his songs have also been covered by Bob Dylan, Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Robert Krauss, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Hoyt Axton, Ricky Skaggs, Nancy Griffith and countless more. Indeed, his remains one of the more remarkable songwriting legacies in 20th Century Americana.

About this release:

The second of two albums released in 1972, The Late Great Townes Van Zandt is considered to be Van Zandt's masterwork and features two of his most covered songs, the outlaw ballad 'Pancho And Lefty' and the timeless love song 'If I Needed You', together with covers of his idol Hank Williams' 'Honky Tonkin'' and the country favourite 'Fraulein'. Following on the heels of High, Low And In Between, it was also his last album for the ailing Poppy label. Produced by Kevin Eggers and Jack Clements, standout tracks include the definitive version of 'Sad Cinderella' and Van Zandt's highly experimental 'Silver Ships Of Andilar', which features a string arrangement by Bergen White, one of the few black musicians in Nashville who also happened to be the top string arranger at the time.

Whilst Van Zandt had cheated death on several occasions, the album's title was Eggers' attempt to draw attention to the singer with a Beatles-inspired "Paul Is Dead"-type hoax and complemented by Milton Glaser's striking cover art, reminiscent of old-time funerary cards. Often included on "greatest albums" lists, The Late Great... failed to make any commercial impression.

More Info

Key Value
Catalogue number CHARLYL175
Barcode 0803415817511
Number of items 1
Packaging type Slip Sleeve
Imported No
Weight 180g
Dimensions (LxWxH) 310mm x 4mm x 310mm

Disc 1

Track Listing — Disc 1, Side 1

Song Title Time
1. No Lonesome Tune ( 04:18 ) -
2. Sad Cinderella ( 04:13 ) -
3. German Mustard ( A Clapalong ) ( 02:53 ) -
4. Don't Let The Sunshine Fool Ya ( 02:24 ) -
5. Honky Tonkin' ( 03:41 ) -
6. Snow Don't Fall ( 02:40 ) -

Track Listing — Disc 1, Side 2

Song Title Time
1. Fraulein ( 02:41 ) -
2. Pancho And Lefty ( 03:38 ) -
3. If I Needed You ( 03:42 ) -
4. Silver Ships Of Andilar ( 05:06 ) -
5. Heavenly Houseboat Blues ( 02:38 ) -