Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt

A Gentle Evening With Townes Van Zandt


Considered lost to the ages when the original record company went bust, this performance of a young (23 years old) Townes Van Zandt at Carnegie Hall is a welcome surprise. He had only been performing for about three years at this point, and while his style is still maturing, he had already written one of his greatest songs, the aching “Tecumseh Valley,” and was a confident and engaging performer. The ten songs here are all originals with the exception of “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” and they all (mainly) hold up well, coming off his first two albums. The only exceptions are “Talking KKK Blues” and “Talking Thunderbird Wine Blues,” which are so close to the Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan ventures into talking blues that they only come across as pale, dated copies. But on “Lungs” or “Second Lover’s Song,” Van Zandt displays his vast skill as both poet and performer, and fans know that no one can touch him there. While we suffer no shortage of live Townes Van Zandt records (most with very similar tracks), this early look at a major talent should be of interest to anyone with even a passing appreciation of this late, great Texas talent.

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