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Live at the Old Quarter

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Townes Van Zandt 12/9/2007

Review

Townes Van Zandt is better regarded as a songwriter than as a performer, and not without reason -- he was a peerless lyricist with a singular ability to capture the landscape of the heart and soul in words, but while he was a fine singer he wasn't exceptional, and the ravages of alcohol, tobacco and drugs took a fearsome toll on his voice in his last years. But Van Zandt could work magic in front of an audience under the right circumstances, and while a wealth of live recordings of Van Zandt have emerged since his passing on the first day of 1997, Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas ranks with the very best of his concert albums. Live at the Old Quarter is simple and spare, capturing Van Zandt in a 1973 solo performance at a Houston saloon with just his acoustic guitar for company, and the engineering ably captures the ambience of the room, with the audience clearly caught up in the spell of these songs. The set features 26 songs, all originals except for covers of "Cocaine Blues," "Nine Pound Hammer," and "Who Do You Love," and Van Zandt brigs these tunes to life with an easy grace that's a striking complement to the emotional gravity of his lyrics, though he also gives his lighter side an airing here, occasionally cracking jokes and offering a pair of funny talking blues numbers, "Talking Thunderbird Blues" and "Fraternity Blues." If the renditions of "Pancho & Lefty," "If I Needed You," "Rex's Blues," "For the Sake of the Song," and "Tecumseh Valley" aren't quite definitive, they're beautiful and affecting, and thanks to the sharp performances, on-point vocals, and superb set list, this is a superior document of Townes Van Zandt on-stage, and is a fine introduction to his body of work. ~ Mark Deming
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Announcement Townes Van Zandt 0:45
  3. 1 Announcement Townes Van Zandt 0:47
  4. 2 Pancho & Lefty Townes Van Zandt 4:10
  5. 3 Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold Townes Van Zandt 3:40
  6. 3 Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold Townes Van Zandt 3:42
  7. 4 Don't You Take It Too Bad Townes Van Zandt 2:59
  8. 5 Two Girls Townes Van Zandt 3:52
  9. 5 Two Girls Townes Van Zandt 3:53
  10. 6 Fraternity Blues Townes Van Zandt 3:10
  11. 7 If I Needed You Townes Van Zandt 3:18
  12. 7 If I Needed You Townes Van Zandt 3:20
  13. 8 Brand New Companion Townes Van Zandt 4:22
  14. 9 White Freight Liner Blues Townes Van Zandt 3:26
  15. 9 White Freightliner Blues Townes Van Zandt 3:28
  16. 10 To Live Is to Fly Townes Van Zandt 3:21
  17. 11 She Came and She Touched Me Townes Van Zandt 4:9
  18. 11 She Came and She Touched Me Townes Van Zandt 4:11
  19. 12 Talking Thunderbird Blues Townes Van Zandt 2:35
  20. 13 Rex's Blues Townes Van Zandt 3:5
  21. 13 Rex's Blues Townes Van Zandt 3:7
  22. 14 Nine Pound Hammer Townes Van Zandt 3:8
  23. 1 For the Sake of the Song Townes Van Zandt 4:48
  24. 1 For The Sake of The Song Townes Van Zandt 4:50
  25. 2 Chauffeur's Blues Townes Van Zandt 4:35
  26. 3 No Place to Fall Townes Van Zandt 3:8
  27. 3 No Place To Fall Townes Van Zandt 3:11
  28. 4 Loretta Townes Van Zandt 2:29
  29. 5 Kathleen Townes Van Zandt 2:54
  30. 5 Kathleen Townes Van Zandt 2:56
  31. 6 Why She's Acting This Way Townes Van Zandt 5:44
  32. 7 Cocaine Blues Townes Van Zandt 3:20
  33. 7 Cocaine Blues Townes Van Zandt 3:21
  34. 8 Who Do You Love? Townes Van Zandt 3:46
  35. 9 Tower Song Townes Van Zandt 3:47
  36. 9 Tower Song Townes Van Zandt 3:49
  37. 10 Waiting 'Round to Die Townes Van Zandt 2:37
  38. 11 Tecumseh Valley Townes Van Zandt 4:29
  39. 11 Tecumseh Valley Townes Van Zandt 4:31
  40. 12 Lungs Townes Van Zandt 2:36
  41. 13 Only Him or Me Townes Van Zandt 2:42
  42. 13 Only Him or Me Townes Van Zandt 2:44

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