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Archive for the ‘Townes Van Zandt’ Category

Omnivore Unveils Colorful Black Friday Slate with Van Zandt, Clark, Kovacs

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Here at Second Disc HQ, we know that we can count on Omnivore Recordings for some of the most colorful and fun releases for Record Store Day’s Back to Black Friday shopping event!  On the day after Thanksgiving, you might find yourself at your local indie record store to pick up one of Omnivore’s three Black Friday collectibles.  As usual, it’s a diverse trio, with releases from two late troubadours – Townes Van Zandt and Gene Clark – and one legendary late comedian, Ernie Kovacs.

Omnivore Black Friday 2013This past March, Omnivore unveiled The White Light Demos from The Byrds’ Gene Clark, which traced the development of the music that was released on Clark’s August 1971 LP for A&M Records, White LightFor Back to Black Friday, The White Light Demos arrives as a limited edition orange vinyl pressing.  Clark’s second post-Byrds solo record, White Light was a rootsy collection of intensely personal, and frequently transcendent, music.  Of the twelve demos on Omnivore’s release, six (“White Light,” “For A Spanish Guitar,” “Where My Love Lies Asleep,” “The Virgin” “Because Of You,” and “With Tomorrow”) appeared in final form on White Light. Two (“Opening Day” and “Winter”) appeared in final form as bonus tracks on A&M’s 2002 CD reissue of the album. One track (”Here Tonight”) is an alternate version of a song that appeared on the Flying Burrito Brothers compilation Close Up The Honky Tonks.  The remaining trio of songs (“For No One,” “Please Mr. Freud” and “Jimmy Christ”) had never been issued previously in any form prior to Omnivore’s CD release.  This is the first appearance of The White Light Demos on vinyl.

After the jump: what’s coming from Townes Van Zandt and Ernie Kovacs? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 29, 2013 at 13:28

Review: A Trio from Townes Van Zandt

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Townes - High, LowSteve Earle once famously wrote, “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world,” adding for good measure, “and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.” Earle later backtracked on his statement, answering in the negative whether he really believed Van Zandt was Dylan’s superior. Van Zandt was also embarrassed by the fulsome praise (“I’ve met Bob Dylan’s bodyguards and if Steve thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table, he’s sadly mistaken!”) but for Dylan’s own part, the legendary singer-songwriter reportedly was a big fan of the late Texas troubadour. Yet despite having his fans number the likes of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Dylan and Earle, Van Zandt died as he lived: a cult figure. His relatively small catalogue of songs enabled him to make a living in the business of song, but his own recordings never achieved mainstream success.  A fiercely self-destructive streak ultimately led to his death in 1997, 44 years from the day on which his early inspiration Hank Williams passed.

Earlier this year, Omnivore Recordings pulled back the curtain on Townes Van Zandt’s enduring mystique with the release of Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and Demos 1971-1972 (OVCD-15, 2013), a double-disc compendium of 28 previously unissued tracks from a true “songwriters’ songwriter” who blurred the lines of folk, country and rock.  Sunshine Boy drew from the era that yielded the albums Townes Van Zandt (1970), Delta Momma Blues (1971), High, Low and In Between (1971) and The Late, Great Townes Van Zandt (1972).  Omnivore has recently detailed more of the Van Zandt story with reissues of the latter two LPs in remastered CD and vinyl editions, and these have been produced with the same care as the Sunshine Boy collection.

After the jump, we’ll revisit Sunshine Boy (just in case you missed our review the first time!) and explore High, Low and In Between and The Late, Great Townes Van Zandt! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 7, 2013 at 09:54

Release Round-Up: Week of May 21

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Beach Boys LiveThe Beach Boys, Live: The 50th Anniversary Tour (Capitol)

Brian, Mike, Al, Bruce and David may not be touring again anytime soon, but at least we now have two discs of live memories to play. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

TVZ-Late-Great-CD-and-LPTownes Van Zandt, The Late Great Townes Van Zandt / High, Low and In Between (Omnivore)

You heard the demos, now rediscover these great country albums, on CD or vinyl!

Late Great CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.), LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
High, Low CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.), LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

FM Soundtrack - Culture FactoryVarious Artists, FM: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Culture Factory USA)

The hit-filled soundtrack, featuring the Steely Dan single of the same name, is the latest to get the Culture Factory LP replica treatment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Southside Johnny PlaylistSouthside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Jeff Buckley, Chet Atkins et al., Playlist: The Very Best of (Legacy)

A dozen or so new entries in the Playlist series are coming your way this week. Watch this space tomorrow for a full breakdown on them all!

You Are Needed Now: Omnivore Reissues Two Townes Van Zandt LPs

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TVZ-Late-Great-CD-and-LPJoe rightly had much words of praise for Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and Demos 1971-1972, Omnivore’s paean to underrated country singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt. To hear Van Zandt’s works, including “Pancho & Lefty,” “To Live is to Fly” and others in newly discovered alternate and stripped-down forms on two discs, was a revelation to even the most hardcore fan of the late performer.

Now, Omnivore has taken the logical next step and will reissue High, Low and In Between (1971) and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (1972), two of his most enduring albums and the ones most prominently covered by Sunshine Boy. Packed with original songs, including “You Are Not Needed Now,” “Blue Ridge Mountains,” “If I Needed You” and signature tune “Pancho & Lefty” (later a hit for Emmylou Harris as well as Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, who named an album after the song); great production from longtime associates Kevin Eggers and Jack Clement and strong session work from noted players like Larry Carlton (Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan) and Don Randi (keyboardist for The Wrecking Crew), these albums finally get the due they’ve deserved for over 40 years.

Featuring new liner notes from Colin Escott, who penned liners for Sunshine Boy, these two albums will be available on both CD and 180-gram LP formats. For the vinyl, the first 1,000 copies will be pressed on orange and clear-colored vinyl, respectively, with all other copies on standard black. The new editions are available May 21 and can each be ordered below.

High, Low and In Between (originally released as Poppy LP PYS 5700, 1971 – reissued Omnivore, 2013)


  1. Two Hands
  2. You Are Not Needed Now
  3. Greensboro Woman
  4. Highway Kind
  5. Standin’
  6. No Deal
  7. To Live is to Fly
  8. When He Offers His Hand
  9. Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold
  10. Blue Ridge Mountains
  11. High, Low and In Between

The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (originally released as Poppy LP PP-LA004-F, 1972 – reissued Omnivore, 2013)


  1. No Lonesome Tune
  2. Sad Cinderella
  3. German Mustard (A Clapalong)
  4. Don’t Let the Sunshine Fool Ya’
  5. Honky Tonkin’
  6. Snow Don’t Fall
  7. Fraulein
  8. Pancho and Lefty
  9. If I Needed You
  10. Silver Ships of Andilar
  11. Heavenly Houseboat Blues

Written by Mike Duquette

April 11, 2013 at 09:59

Release Round-Up: Week of February 5

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Taj Mahal - Albums ContentsTaj Mahal, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Columbia/Legacy)

Fifteen discs of the blues legend’s Columbia output, including last year’s The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal compilation of unreleased material. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Sunshine Boy - TownesTownes Van Zandt, Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and Demos 1971-1972 (Omnivore)

A new two-disc set features entirely unreleased outtakes, alternates and demos from the Texan singer-songwriter’s early-’70s career. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Classical BarbraBarbra Streisand, Classical Barbra: Expanded Edition (Masterworks)

A newly-expanded version (with two bonus tracks) of Barbra’s 1976 album of pieces by Handel, Debussy, Orff and others. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dick Jensen - Dick JensenBilly Paul, Going East: Expanded Edition / Dick Jensen, Dick Jensen / Azteca, Azteca: Expanded Edition Pyramid of the Moon: Expanded Edition / Tyrone Davis, In the Mood with Tyrone Davis: Expanded Edition / Carmen McRae, I Am Music (Big Break)

Check out the scoop on the latest Big Break batch (complete with Amazon links) here, and read Joe’s review of Dick Jensen here!

Jewel Greatest HitsJewel, Greatest Hits (Atlantic/Rhino)

One of the biggest country-pop hitmakers of the ’90s releases her first compilation with a new single and two new duet recordings of previous hits with Pistol Annies and Kelly Clarkson. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Tony Bennett - As Time Goes ByTony Bennett, As Time Goes By: Great American Songbook Classics (Concord)

A new budget-line, 12-track compilation of Tony’s mid-’70s Improv and Fantasy output. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Slaves and MastersDeep Purple, Slaves and Masters: The Deluxe Edition (Friday Music)

The band’s only Mk. V album, featuring onetime Rainbow frontman Joe Lynn Turner on vocals, gets expanded on CD with two bonus tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Midney Evita EmpireBoris Midney and Festival, Evita/The Empire Strikes Back (Harmless)

Two mind-blowing disco adaptations of a legendary Broadway musical and the superb score to a sci-fi sequel? Yes, indeed! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Paul Williams Still AlivePaul Williams, Still Alive (Virgil Films)

A compelling documentary on one of the best songwriters of his age, newly released on DVD. (Amazon U.S.)

Pancho and Lefty, Redux: Unheard Townes Van Zandt Coming from Omnivore

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Though his 1972 album was entitled The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, that description wasn’t quite true until New Year’s Day, 1997, when a life of hard living caught up with the 52-year old singer, songwriter, poet and musician.  But Texas native Van Zandt left behind a rich legacy in music consisting of ten studio albums plus singles and live recordings.  The country-blues-folk-rock hero also left behind some unheard material, however, and the musical archaeologists at Omnivore Recordings have unearthed quite the treasure trove!  The 2-CD, 28-track collection Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and Demos 1971-1972 consists entirely of previously unreleased music from Van Zandt’s classic albums High, Low & In Between and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt.  Both albums were originally released in 1972 on the Poppy label. The first disc of the new set features outtakes and alternate takes/mixes of tracks from the sessions for those LPs; the other presents his solo demos.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, John Townes Van Zandt first appeared on the Texas club scene in the mid-1960s which offered him to the opportunity to meet like-minded musicians including Doc Watson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Mickey Newbury as well as one of his inspirations, Texan bluesman Lightning Hopkins.  But it was Newbury who encouraged Van Zandt and brokered an introduction to renowned producer Jack Clement.  The man who had written hits for Johnny Cash and discovered Jerry Lee Lewis took the helm of Van Zandt’s earliest albums on which his own songwriting style (influenced by songwriters ranging from Hank Williams, Sr. to Bob Dylan) blossomed.

What will you find on the new compilation?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 27, 2012 at 12:22