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Live at The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas


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Performer Notes
  • Solo performer: Townes Van Zandt (vocals, acoustic guitar).
  • Producer: Earl Willis.
  • Reissue producer: Kevin Calabro, Katja Maas.
  • Recorded live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas in July 1973. Includes liner notes by Chet Flippo.
  • All tracks have been digitally remastered.
  • Personnel: Townes Van Zandt (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar).
  • Audio Remasterer: Paul Zinman.
  • Liner Note Authors: Arthur Wood; Earl Willis; Chet Flippo.
  • Recording information: Old Quarter (07/1973); The Old Quarter, Houston, TX (07/1973).
  • Editor: John Tobler.
  • Photographer: Steve Salmieri.
  • From the opening club announcements about the locations of the bathrooms to the smattering of applause when the artist is announced, you know this is not a standard live recording. Low-key and basic as an artist can be, Townes Van Zandt proves that a man and his guitar can easily compete against a rowdy honky-tonk crowd with a plaintive voice, incisive songs and mesmerizing style.
  • He starts the concert by apologizing for the air conditioning being turned off, and then immediately cools the crowd off with his much-covered, icy Western narrative "Pancho & Lefty." Culled from Van Zandt's years of independently released country-folk records, the austere collection of songs here serves, in effect, as a greatest-hits package, albeit with glitches, errant noises, goofy jokes and witty anecdotes. Van Zandt's dry, narrative wit was the source of influence for such singer-songwriters as Lyle Lovett, but one would be hard-pressed to find a more simple, prettier love song than "If I Needed You" (a hit for Emmylou Harris) or a more riveting ballad than "Kathleen," both sung with focused precision. The Old Quarter falls as silent as a church.
  • "Brand New Companion" shows off Van Zandt's blues-picking expertise. "Talking Thunderbird Blues" demonstrates his wit. One of his best creations, "For The Sake Of The Song," shows off his poetic strength.
  • This is the place to start if you are just entering the parched, spare domain of Townes Van Zandt. By album's end, you will be thirsty for more.
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