Solo performer: Townes Van Zandt (vocals, acoustic guitar).
"I have a lot of seemingly sad songs," Townes Van Zandt jokes toward the end of this live solo set before cracking himself and the audience up with a rendition of Red Foley's ridiculous sentimental paean to a dead dog "Old Shep." That, and the whimsical "Shrimp Song" are basically the only moments of levity here.
Most of Van Zandt's own songs on ABNORMAL are stark, bluesy, poetic in the extreme, and basically more depressing than anything this side of Richard Thompson, who frankly would have killed to write "Marie" (in which the singer's pregnant homeless girlfriend dies in his arms while sleeping under a bridge). Even the Stones' jaunty "Dead Flowers," rendered here without boho irony, fails to spoil the album's overall slash-your-wrists mood. Great stuff, if you can take it.