Townes – Covered and Covered Again

When the songs are that good it’s no surprise that there is a pair of albums out in the next month or so featuring covers of the late, great Townes van Zandt’s work.

The first one is Riding the Range – The songs of Townes Van Zandt, there’s an extra angle on this one as part of the proceeds from the sale goes to the QE2 Activity Centre, the album features 20 tracks in all from a great selection of artists including some personal favourites of mine, Danny & The Champions, Peter Case, Jeffery Foucault, Jeb Loy Nichols, Peter Bruntnell and of course Michael Weston King (who wrote the title track Riding the Range which Townes recorded and released as a single shortly before he died), I had the pleasure of seeing the last trio of singer songwriters performing together a couple of years ago and Weston King sang Marie on that occasion (always brings a lump to the throat that song), the wonderful Cover Lay Down has posted the track here.

MoreTownesVanZandt–TheGreatUnknown

The second album More Townes van Zandt by the Great Unknown is due out next month on For The Sake of The Song records, the previous album is real favourite and a quick glance at the unknowns recruited on the second album suggests this one will follow suit, the full track-listing is

1 Hero Horns (DK) – Snake Mountain Blues
2 The Sumner Brothers (CAN) – Colorado Girl
3 Amy Annelle (US) – Buckskin Stallion Blues
4 Neal Casal (US) – Rex’s Blues
5 The New Man (Olle Nyman) (SWE) – Kathleen
6 Shinyribs (The Gourds) (US) – Dollar Bill Blues
7 The Deep Dark Woods (CAN) – Silver Ships Of Andilar
8 The Highway Kind (CAN) – Highway Kind
9 Phosphorescent (US) – Why She’s Acting This Way
10 Leslie Stevens And The Badgers (US) – Flyin’ Shoes
11 The Unfaithful Ways (NZ) – Snow Don’t Fall
12 Band Of Annuals (US) – For The Sake Of The Song
13 Alela Diane (US) – Like A Summer Thursday
14 Treetop Flyers (UK) – When She Don’t Need Me
15 Luluc (AU) – None But The Rain
16 Vikta Fåglar (SWE) – Tower Song
17 New Found Land (SWE) – Rake
18 Phillip Roebuck (US) – Black Jack Mama

And don’t forget the Beat Surrender tribute to Townes (and Earle), which you can pick up here

The legend lives on.

And finally – another cover, the B-Side to Riding the Range Townes van Zandt – Dirty Old Town (original Ewan Maccoll)


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7 Replies to “Townes – Covered and Covered Again”

  1. Woah! Glad to see Riding the Range getting more press, as it’s a great one – and thanks for the nod, of course. Wish I had known about the other tribute earlier, but better late than never, especially with the likes of Alela Diane, Phosphorescent, and the Deep Dark Woods – better put For The Sake Of The Song on my blogreader quick!

  2. The more I listen to recorded and live boots of Townes, the less I’m impressed by those who try to honor him by covering his songs. Its not for lack of respect or effort. The various singers I’ve heard cover him are fantastic in their own right – its just TVZ simply did his own stuff better than anyone else could hope to. Yet, like trying to avert your eyes from a traffic accident, I can’t help but stop and take a gander at the covers anyway. So I’ll definitely have these on my list – especially with Jeffrey Foucault involved.

  3. wow – best of the rest 2010 – number 5 – right up there with Springsteen and Wreckless Eric. I’m moved. if you haven’t bought it already grab a hold of a copy of Riding the Range. You’ll be impressed.

    its going to be re-pressed shortly, correcting an accidental error on the original . . .

  4. It’s such a pity that during his lifetime, Van Zandt never had a successful album or single, and even had difficulty keeping his recordings in print.

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