Two Girls
  • Two Girls
  • Townes Van Zandt
  • Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas [Disc 1]

Well the clouds didn’t look like cotton
They didn’t even look like clouds
I was underneath the weather
My friends looked like a crowd
The swimmin’ hole was full of rum
I tried to find out why
All I learned was this my friend
You got to swim before you fly

I got two girls
One’s in heaven and one’s below
Oh one I love with all my heart
And one I do not know

Two lonesome dudes on an ugly horse
Passed by not long ago
They asked me where the action was
I said I did not know
As they disappeared into the brush
I heard the driver say
He’s a little slow between the ears
He’s always been that way

Jolly Jane just lays around
And listens with her mouth
She’s had about a dozen husbands
But the last one just pulled out
Now who’s gonna bring her dinner
Through the weary years ahead
All she’ll get from me is sympathy
Got no time to see she’s fed

It’s cold down on the bayou
They say it’s in your mind
But the moccasins are treadin’ ice
And leavin’ strange designs
Cajuns say the last time
That this happened they weren’t here
All Beaumont’s full of penguins
And I’m a-playin’ it by ear


Townes Van Zandt- No Place To Fall

I’ve posted this before and I don’t give a shit.

Fraternity Blues (Live)
  • Fraternity Blues (Live)
  • Townes Van Zandt
  • Live At the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas

If you’ve never listened to Townes Van Zandt, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.  He’s the real deal, a man who wrote some of the saddest songs you’ll ever hear and lived a few too many of them himself.  If you’re new to his work, though, I’d recommend you start with this live double-album, Live At the Old Quarter.  It’s got almost all his best songs with no studio trickery–just one man and his acoustic guitar, playing for a crowded room held still and quiet.  I chose this particular track–“Fraternity Blues”–because it displays something about Zandt that wasn’t always obvious: The man had one hell of a sense of humor.

"Live at the Old Quarter" by Townes Van Zandt

Yes, I let this blog slip a ton. I think for my second post I’ll be trying something a bit different. I’ll be talking about individual albums instead of artists in general. For some (like what will follow this brief introduction), this will include a bit of info on how I discovered the artist. That was part of the reason I started this in the first place, and I think trying to cover EVERYTHING about an artist was both too much work and too general to be effective. So, without further ado, post #2:

Townes Van Zandt is an amazing songwriter. So you don’t like country music, that’s fine with me. You don’t have to. Just know that, by writing off an entire genre like that, you’re really doing yourself a disservice.

I was first introduced to TVZ at the Belmont bar in Hamtramck on the 4th of July, 2010. Chris Tait/Tait Nucleus? of the Electric Six was bartending. I was there with my roommate, who was doing coke on the back patio while fireworks were going off throughout the neighborhood. If I am not mistaken, there was a playlist put out by DJ Jazzy Jeff of “Fresh Prince” fame playing that night. At some point, this song came on:

I had never been too big on country up until then, but apparently it effected me enough to make we want to remember it. I did what I always did in that situation (having yet to join the rest of the world in smartphone ownership) and sent myself a text with some of the lyrics that I could make out: “Close your eyes, I’ll be here in the morning”.

The problem was, I did not remember doing that the next day. All I knew was that I had a really creepy-sounding text in my phone. I kept it, thinking that it may one day prove to be important. I can’t remember how long it took me to look up the lyrics in google, but it was a while. When I finally did, though, I started to explore the artist a bit more and I loved what I found.

Live at the Old Quarter is easily TVZ’s best album. I don’t usually go for live albums, but this is how he’s meant to be listened to. All of his other albums are way over-produced to fit into the trends found in country music at the time. TVZ’s music has always been about two things, though: his voice and the guitar. That’s what’s so great about Live…, that’s all you get. And it’s wonderful.

Fans of the show True Detective may recognize this song, a particular favorite of mine:

It’s one of the rare tracks of his for which the studio version sounds pretty good, but the solo version is just so much better. Pretty much everything he wrote that was worth playing at that show he played, too. Not much is missing. The only song that springs to mind is German Mustard, but, well, the studio version pretty much nailed it that time:

My favorite part, though? His jokes. He’s a real soft-spoken guy, but he can deliver a joke very adeptly. Somehow his demeanor just makes them more funny. They’re a bit off-color, maybe not meant for polite company, but I do plan to memorize and tell them to people.

It’s a long album, but it is really worth the effort. If you’re a fan of great songwriters, this guy often gets overlooked. He’s right up there with Dylan and Prine in my book, and that’s mighty fine company.

Oh! And if you are so inclined, there is an excellent documentary about his life (which is genuinely fascinating). The trailer is below:


and here is townes doing a lightnin’ hopkins cover from live at the old quarter. 

There’s a cop who sees a drunk walking down the street. He says, ‘Hey, Buddy, you’re a little loaded, you aught to go get some coffee.’ The guy says, 'Man, I sure am glad I ran into you officer. See, somebody just stole my car.’ The cop says, 'Where was the car when you last saw it?’ The guy says, 'Right on the end of this key.’ The cop looks at the key and says, 'Well, go two blocks down to Station House #4 and report it to the desk sergeant.’ The guy says, 'Thanks, officer. You been a big help. I’m headed that way right now.’ The cop looks down at the guys pants and says, 'Hey buddy, before you go, you better zip up your fly.’ The guy looks down at his pants and says, 'Aw man, they got my girl too.’
—  Townes van Zandt joking on “Live at the Old Quarter”

You feel like Mudd, you’ll end up Gold. Feel lost you’ll end up found so amigo lay them raises down.