Townes Van Zandt - Abnormal

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1996 release. "The country and folk-blues singer and guitarist Townes Van Zandt was a native Texan and great grandson of one of the original settlers who founded Fort Worth in the mid-19th century. The son of a prominent oil family, Townes turned his back on financial security to pursue the beatnik life in Houston. First thumbing his way through cover versions, his acoustic sets later graced the Jester Lounge and other venues where his 'bawdy barroom ballads' were first performed. Although little known outside of a cult country rock following, many of his songs are better publicized by covers afford them by Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Don Gibson and Willie Nelson. This gave songs such as 'Pancho & Lefty' and 'If I Needed You' the chance to rise to the top of the country charts. Much of Van Zandt's material was not released in Europe until the late 70s, though his recording career actually began with for the Sake of the Song, released in the US in 1968. His media awareness belies the debt of many artists, including the Cowboy Junkies and Go Betweens, profess to owing him. Steve Earle went further: 'Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's table in my cowboy boots and say that.' in the 1980s Van Zandt continued to live a reclusive life in a cabin in Colorado recording occasionally purely for chance to 'get the songs down for posterity'. Since the late 80s more and more people got interested in his music. Although he has supported himself for years playing solo dates with his guitar, bookings were stronger than ever. Townes toured regularly with more and more success through Europe. And he still had a lot of plans. He compiled two records for release in 1997 (Highway Kind & Documentary) and started recording an album together with Sonic Youth. But death put an end to all these plans. Townes van Zandt died on New Years Day 1997, the anniversary of the death of Hank Williams. Abnormal was recorded on several locations during Townes Van Zandt's 1995 European Tour. Beside 'Flyin' Shoes', 'Waitin' Round to Die', 'Kathleen' and a collection of either equally memorable songs, Abnormal also includes new studio versions of 'Coo-Coo' and 'Dollar Bill Blues' and the never before released 'Shrimp Song'."