Townes Van Zandt

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Townes Van Zandt

John Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944January 1, 1997) better known as Townes Van Zandt, was an American singer-songwriter. He wrote numerous songs, such as "Pancho and Lefty", "For the Sake of the Song", "Tecumseh Valley", "Rex's Blues", and "To Live is to Fly", that are widely considered masterpieces of American folk music. His musical style has often been described as melancholy and features rich, poetic lyrics. During his early years, Van Zandt was respected for his guitar playing and fingerpicking ability.


(all songs by Townes Van Zandt, unless otherwise noted)

The promise in Her smile, shames the mountains tall. She can bring the sun to shine, tell the rain to fall. (Colorado girl)
  • Pancho was a bandit boys
    His horse was fast as polished steel
    Wore his gun outside his pants
    For all the honest world to feel
    Pancho met his match you know
    On the deserts down in Mexico
    Nobody heard his dying words
    That's the way it goes
    All the federales say
    They could have had him any day
    They only let him hang around
    Out of kindness I suppose
  • If I needed you, would you come to me?
    Would you come to me and ease my pain?
    If you needed me, I would come to you
    I'd swim the seas for to ease your pain
    Well, in the night forlorn, oh, the morning's born
    And the morning shines with the lights of love
    And you will miss sunrise if you close your eyes
    And that would break my heart in two
    The lady's with me now since I showed her how
    To lay her lily hand in mine
    Loop and Lil agree, she's a sight to see
    A treasure for the poor to find
    • If I Needed You (1972)
  • Days, up and down they come
    Like rain on a congadrum
    Forget most, remember some
    But don't turn none away
    Everything is not enough
    And nothin' is too much to bear
    Where you been is good and gone
    All you keep is the getting there
    To live is to fly
    Low and high
    So shake the dust off of your wings
    And the sleep out of your eyes
  • The name she gave was Caroline
    Daughter of a miner
    Her ways were free
    It seemed to me
    That sunshine walked beside her
    • "Tecumseh Valley"
  • The promise in her smile shames the mountains tall
    She can bring the sun to shining.
    She can tell the rain to fall.
    It's been a long time, Mama, since I heard you call my name,
    Ah, been a long time since I heard you call my name
    I got to see my Colorado girl again
    Be there tomorrow, Mama, don't you cry
  • You have to blow off your family. You have to blow off comfort. You have to blow off money.... You have to blow off your ego. You have to blow off everything except your guitar.
    • Rolling Stone #1079 (28 May 2009), p. 64.

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