Townes Van Zandt

Yet another of those legendary Texas singer-songwriters whose reputation turns out to be much greater than his accomplishments. (They've got a lot of them down there, but it's a big state, you know.) Van Zandt has cut at least half a dozen albums since the late sixties, but they're all impossible to find. I'm including this one to stand for his oeuvre, if you will, for several reasons. As his most recent album, it's probably less rare than the others. As a live album in which he accompanies himself, it really does showcase his songs, which is what he is about; on his studio albums stock arrangements often subverted his intents. As a double album, it offers quantity. And as an added bonus, it flaunts his sense of humor, whereas studio albums always flaunt his sense of impending doom (not that the two can't go together; it's just that they never did until now). Good luck finding it. (And good luck, Townes.)

--John Morthland
     The Best of Country Music