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Townes Van Zandt (1944 - 1997) was a Texas singer-songwriter-poet, whose music has touched a deep chord (pun intended) amongst many of us here at CBN. No, he's not related, except perhaps very distantly, to those other musical Van Zandt boys many of us also love. Townes was hailed, back in 1985 by none other than another gifted songwriter, Steve Earle, as "the greatest songwriter in the world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that!" Whether or not you agree with ol' Steve, there is a deep knowledge of the blues, heartache, pain and melancholy in Townes' songs. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, please visit his estate's website to get to know him better (all proceeds go to support his children and his second wife, Jeanene):
Several of us here at CBN (myself, Uncle John, Turtlehead, and maybe some others I haven't seen or heard - I know the owner of Diamondbackguitarshop and beStillroy are also huge fans) have done videos of us playing our versions of Townes' songs, many of which came out nearly 40 years ago. We realized that the CBG may be the perfect instrument on which to reinterpret and breathe new life into Townes' songs. In fact, we've been kicking the idea around in the Comment section of Uncle John's video rendition of "Flying Shoes" for the last coupla weeks (check it out), and came up with the idea for a tribute album, using only CBGs (I know, I know: Townes never played one, to my knowledge, and I and perhaps many others of you learned "Pancho and Lefty" on a 6-stringer, but still...).
So, if you're still with me, we're looking for MP3 submissions from those who play Townes' songs, wanna try 'em on CBG, may have never heard of him but like what they hear - any and all are welcome. His catalogue is pretty deep, so I'd like to lay claim to "If I Needed You" right here, right now! (hmmm. Jesus Jones...nah) ;-) We're also looking for someone willing to create some original cover art. The idea behind this is not to make money. We wouldn't want to charge for these songs or this album. We just wanna get 'em out to the larger CBN audience. As currently envisioned, it would be of a similar nature to the free download Robert Johnson tribute album, or the various CBN Christmas albums. It is not designed to detract from, or compete with, the Blues Album Dan Sleep is currently putting together for CBN, which many of us here are also contributing to. All we ask, like the judges on American Idol, is that you make your submitted TVZ song your own.
For those who are interested, you can add MP3 files using the Attach Files or Upload Files link at the bottom left to this Discussion. Record 'em however y'all feel comfortable: lo-fi, hi-fi, wi-fi, or in-fi, doesn't matter. You can PM me here at CBN for any offline technical or otherwise discussions. I will, eventually, get back to you.
Highway Kind Fingerpicked on RTZA and leads RTZ6E. At this rate Ron your gonna have 40 songs. Don't use my Version Of Waitin Round To Die if you have it .Thanks
OK, I'll make sure your Waitin' dies ;-). Thanks for Highway Kind; you've got a good folk feel both instrumentally and vocally for this one. Very intimate. And the electric fills give it a proper 60's feel ;-). Nice job!
40 songs: yeah, an overabundance of talent! But they're all going on, can't leave any of 'em out (except by request, of course), because they are all good. Personal rant: One of the things that used to annoy me, and still does, is someone putting out an album or CD of 9 or 10 songs (half of which are filler) and trying to charge me 15 bucks for it. That's why the 99 cents per song model works better, at least for me. So I always liked double albums. In this case, through the magic of technology and an extensive back catalogue, we have the opportunity to make a double double album! And we're providing it all for free.
A few nights ago, I downloaded to my Kindle app the latest book about Townes, by Brian Atkinson, with help from Townes' former road manager, Harold Eggers - I'll Be Here In The Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt, 2012. Finished reading it last night, and I have to say, most of it is really good. Full of great pictures, chapter headings with couplets from Townes' lyrics, and reminiscences about Townes from both old friends like Guy Clark and Ray Wylie Hubbard, and later talents like Lyle Lovett and Gretchen Porter. I can't compare it to Robert Earl Hardy's or John Kruth's books, because I haven't read them yet, but I recommend it for those wanting dfeeper insight into our muse for this project.
While you're waiting patiently for this compilation :-) It's coming real soon now.
RTZ, very beautiful version of this song (proper acoustic sound!) - and some cool solo guitar work. Like Ron said, reminds of the sixties...
I'm loving your take on Highway Kind, the two guitars compliment each other brilliantly. The shear diversity of this album blows away any other Townes tribute record I've heard.
Very cool thanks Oily
Well, I hope that I am not too late to join the party. Here is my take on "Dead Flowers". I am my own worst critic, so I hear all kinds of mistakes, but those who have heard it tell me it's good. It was recorded entirely on my homemade instruments, my Panjo. a Turkeychicken CBG, homemade picks, homeblown glass slide, homemade straps, etc. through thousands of dollars of recording gear at a good friends house. Kinda like a jalopy winning the Indy 500. Most every track was recorded on the first take, I thought I would just go ahead and leave it raw and natural.
Anyhow, here you go. I hope that you can appreciate and enjoy it, if not, well... don't listen to it. :-)
Great sounding tune, Mr Turkeychicken, another cracker for the album.
Homeblown glass slide? Now that is cool.
Thanks Vinylhed. It was my first time recording in 15 years, had fun doing it.
Sounds great TC - right in between the Stones and the Townes version. Well done.
I'm sorry folks, but I couldn't resist another stab at a Townes tune.
Since its release in 2003, I've loved In The Beginning. Recorded in 1966, but unreleased for legal and more ephemeral reasons, it contains snatches and foreshadows of later songs. Most of the album is just Townes and a guitar, but the opening song Black Widow Blues is given a full band arrangement (including a massive funky bassline). My take is a little less funky. This is my first attempt at playing a song with a slide, and I'm quite pleased the way it came out. I just wish I could add those extra embellishments that complete a track, and although I recorded the vocals a number of times I'm not very happy with my voice.
Ron - If anyone else has recorded this song feel free to leave mine off the album, or if you think 2 tunes from me is more than enough. I would hate to outstay my welcome.
TC and Vinyl,
Thanks very much for your wonderful contributions!
TC, you were fashionably late to the first party, but we decided to stay up all night and dance, so you made the after-party!
Vinyl, I never did say what the upper song limit was, and I don't think anyone has done that one, soyou're good. You and RTZ have the largest number of songs, and I ain't complainin'.
BTW, I laid down 12-string non-CBG guitar, and a scratch vocal for "Billy, Boney and Ma" last night; easy song, 3-4 chords, Capo 1, standard tuning. Will finish up tonight and tomorrow with CBG slide and some 12-string mando-like riffs, plus edit in a coupla vocal bits that need fixing. Maybe add the upstairs flush toilet whine for atmospheric spookiness; sounds like ghosts in the pipes! ;-) Should have it up here by Thursday latest. It's a fun song.
Really cool Vinyl.