Townes Van Zandt Vinyl Re-Issues

Most would probably agree that certain artists sound better on the turntable. Bonnie "Prince" Billy, for one, has always sounded much purer when listened to on LP as opposed to CD. The same can probably be said for Neil Young, The Rolling Stones and many more (everyone?).

I have always been a fan of Townes Van Zandt, though I admit that, until recently, I only had about 4-5 records (on CD) and really only listened to High, Low and In Between and Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, TX. I've actually never been able to track down his first few full releases, and word of mouth said that there was really no need; apparently High, Low... covered all the good stuff.

While browsing the folk, country and soul sections at Amoeba a few weeks back, there sat Townes Van Zandt (1969), Our Mother the Mountain (1969) and Flyin' Shoes (1978), all freshly re-issued via Fat Possum. Despite hopping on the hipster bandwagon by signing vapid acts such as Wavves and King Khan and the Parm Show, Fat Possum has always been one of my favorite labels. It was at FP that I discovered the Delta Blues of RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. This was a moment of putting my trust in the label.

My oh sweet my. These are two of the prettiest records I've ever heard. In usual Fat Possum form, there is nothing over-the-top about the releases. You get perfectly pressed records with the original artwork. No long letters paying homage. Simple. And these records are top-to-bottom just about perfect. I've listened to each now about ten times and I've yet to track down a bad song. "Columbine," "Waiting Around To Die," "I'll Be Here in the Morning," "Why She's Acting This Way," "Snake Mountain Blues" and on and on. I did not know these songs prior to picking up these releases. I used to chuckle when I'd hear Steve Earle's classic line: "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." Evidently Earle was kidding around. After discovering all this new Townes material, I'd probably understand if he hadn't been.