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Booze and ramblin': the blue, wandering life of Townes Van Zandt

An album of unreleased recordings by the late country singer has been released on what would have been his 75th birthday – and you won’t find many songs as sad as these

Townes Van Zandt’s All I Need, the first song on the new, posthumously released album Sky Blue, seems to begin mid-sentence, mid-strum. Like almost everything he wrote, there’s an insistence and fragility in the strumming, stark and lovely and clarion. “Tried everything, set me free / Chains keep playing tricks on me and all I need is a place to lay ’em down.” It’s one of 11 songs on the album, all previously unreleased recordings by Van Zandt, released last week on what would have been the the 75th birthday of a musician whose songs lay somewhere in the territory between folk, blues and country.

It’s not really hard to imagine Van Zandt at 75: he was an already-old soul, but perhaps the longwinded jokes and tall tales he told on stage would have been stretched even further. Townes never imagined himself growing old, and many people who knew him well were surprised he lived as long as he did. “I think my life will run out before my work does, you know?” he said once. “But I’ve designed it that way.”

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Source: The Guardian – Booze and ramblin': the blue, wandering life of Townes Van Zandt

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