1987, Music

At My Window (1987) by Townes Van Zandt

Though I know of the legend of Townes, I’ve seen the documentary and I’ve heard a fair number of songs through covers, this is only the second album of his I’ve ever managed to get to. And so I cannot evaluate it against his other records,except for the one I’ve heard.
That one, his debut, was super over-produced, as was the want for so much country back in 1968. (Not that it’s much different now…)

So, the first thing that grabs me about this record is how sparse it is in comparison with his debut album – no orchestras here. (Why oh why there were orchestras and shit on that first album, I’ll never know.) This lets his songs stand on their own, as they should. (Anyone writing in the folk or country tradition shouldn’t be afraid of simple arrangements in my mind.)

The songs themselves are quite strong, on the whole, though I cannot really compare them to his oeuvre as a whole, as I’ve said, and though I cannot say too well how he fits in (or doesn’t fit in) with the types of songs other people his age were writing on the country side of the spectrum. (I suspect he is pretty traditional.) So far, none of them have really grabbed me the way some songwriter’s songs do, but that could be just because they need more time. I know there are a couple on the debut I would love were it not for the arrangements. (Needless to say, this version of “For the Sake of the Song” is much better than the original.) In this case I think that this is either not his best set or I just need a little more time.

7/10

All songs written by Townes Van Zandt, except where noted

  1. “Snowin’ on Raton” – 3:52
  2. “Blue Wind Blew” – 2:39
  3. “At My Window” – 4:09
  4. “For the Sake of the Song” – 4:24
  5. “Ain’t Leavin’ Your Love” – 2:33
  6. “Buckskin Stallion Blues” – 3:01
  7. “Little Sundance #2” – 2:57
  8. “Still Lookin’ for You” – 2:37
  9. “Gone, Gone Blues” – (Van Zandt, Mickey White) 2:43
  10. “The Catfish Song” – 4:24
  • Townes Van Zandt – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Mickey White – acoustic rhythm, lead & slide guitar
  • Donny Silverman – saxophone & flute
  • Jack Clement – acoustic guitar & dobro
  • Jim Rooney – acoustic guitar
  • Mark Howard – acoustic steel & gut string guitar
  • Charles Cochran – piano, DX-7
  • Mark O’Connor – fiddle, mandolin
  • Mickey Raphael – harmonica
  • Joey Miskulin – accordion
  • Roy Huskey, Jr. – acoustic bass
  • Kenny Malone – drums, percussion

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