Recording information: Old Quarter, Austin, TX (1973).
Townes Van Zandt didn't have the strongest voice, but it was strong vehicle for his deceptively simple songs that captured the grief, despair, joy, and other ailments of the heart and soul as well as any other songwriter out there, and better than most. Classic Van Zandt songs like "Pancho & Lefty," "If I Needed You," and "Tecumseh Valley" are timeless because Van Zandt wrote them that way, and his wounded, gentle vocals when he sang them bring out the emotional depths in each. This live, two-disc set, which includes fine versions of all the above songs, is a good introduction to Van Zandt's art and style -- he recorded several live sets before his death in 1997 and none are better balanced than this one, which features just Van Zandt's vocals and acoustic guitar. The same performance was released in 1994 by Rhino Records as Live at the Old Quarter, although the sequence is different here and the spoken intro is omitted, but it is otherwise the same set with the same songs. ~ Steve Leggett