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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I get my hippie bands mixed up...

I dislike Neil Young. I much prefer The Ledge. Anyway, I been a bit under the weather and I finally watched this movie a friend loaned me a year ago. It has Townes Van Zandt singing, "Dead Flowers" which I thought he wrote.

I was wrong.
I like his cover much better than the Rolling Stones original ($5 says Gram Parsons really wrote it).
So I looked up some Townes Van Zandt (may he rest in peace) as I was looking for the song with the lyrics, "been on the job too long," and I thought he wrote "The Needle and the Damage Done," but all I can find is Neil Young's tuneless warble. There are some good covers but none by Van Zandt.

Turns out the song I want is the Ballad of Dunkan and Brady and is a traditional song covered by Lead Belly, Bob Dylan, and folkie Tom Rush recorded it in the 1960's. It is on a old 8-track somewhere. The tape is white and the next song is Ballad of Pancho and Lefty and I know Townes Van Zandt is singing that one.


  1. I like Neil a lot, but it seems that he's either really good (Down By the River, Cowgirl in the Sand, Like a Hurricane) or pretty bad (After the Gold Rush, Only Love Can Break Your Heart). I dig the long guitar freak-outs.

    Don't know as much Townes as I should. I read a joint interview of him and Steve Earle in Rolling Stone many years ago, wish I could remember more about it.

  2. Townes Van Zandt never had a hit album. He spent his musical career taking lots of drugs, drinking very heavily, and playing dives.
    After his death in 1997 he was "rediscovered" by sort of folks that think lots of pain equals real emotion.
    I think he was a good song writer and I've always kind of liked him. His music had terrible distribution. If he would have lived to the YouTube and music filesharing age I think he would have benefited greatly.
    Although, I suppose I like the music because it reminds me of being a little kid and having the whole world ahead of me. And then the realization that this guy spent his life in self doubt and self medicated beyond belief and sometimes I think I understand. As a potential pretentious sort I also prefer sad music to happy music.

  3. Neil Young's "Harvest Moon' is one of my favourites. Long May You Run, lots of others I can't think of right now, Townes Van Zant? I have to admit it is only within the last year or so that I had even heard of his name. I'll have to read a little more about him when I get the time.

  4. Neil Young I can live without. Leadbelly is another thing. I still have some of his vinyl somewhere around. My favorite songwriter has to be Leonard Chohen. I guess I like sad music too.


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