“I’m trying to define the relationship between man and the universe,….. often it’s between man and man, or man and woman, or man and the cosmos. Whatever song comes through the door I’m happy with.… I’m lucky just to play the guitar and sing.”
~TVZ (on the purpose behind his songwriting)
“Figures like Townes Van Zandt remind us that the wandering bard, that American archetype, is still very much with us—and his music will live long after the voices that declare it in or out of fashion have been stilled or forgotten.”
~Robert Palmer (New York Times/Deep Blues/++)
“I lived in Fort Worth till I was 8, Midland till 9, Billings, Montana, till 12, Boulder, Colorado till 14, Chicago till 15 … Houston till I was 21. And then I started traveling.”
~TVZ (to Contemporary Musicians (CM) in 1992)
I have nearly 30 albums by Townes Van Zandt, most of them live and released after he passed away. Most of them better than 99% of everything released today.
My mother and father are heavy smokers. When we went camping when I was a child we drove in our Opel Record. No safety belts, no windows open, just lot of smoke and country music.
It is glued into me, I still love those voices, Waylon Jennings, Burl Ives, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt and a whole bunch of other fantastic singers and songwriters.
I don’t mind the smoke as long a s I get the music!
One of my favourite songs from back then is If I Needed You, so sparse and so vulnerable.
My father had a good friend, Reidar, who collected all these great country artists. He was very passionate about the music and he was a very kind man. He died of cancer much too young.
He gave me casettes of fantastic country and western music, I didn’t really appreciate it at the time, but he played a big part in shaping my musical taste.
Townes Van Zandt was his doing. Thank you , Reidar!
If I needed you:
Version 2 by Townes (the song starts about two minutes into the video):
It is a popular song that is covered by a lot of artists. Here are a few of the best known ones:
Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle:
Emmylou in 1982, maybe the best cover version!
Don Williams had a hit with Emmylou Harris:
Very understandable, it’s a fantastic interpretation.
If I needed you, would you come to me?
Would you come to me for to ease my pain?
If you needed me, I would come to you.
I would swim the sea for to ease your pain.
Well the night’s forlorn and the morning’s born
And the morning’s born with the lights of love.
And you’ll miss sunrise if you close your eyes,
And that would break my heart in two.
last but not least, Townes Van Zandt again with the masterpiece if I Needed You: