Live and Obscure [Bonus Tracks]by Townes Van Zandt
Townes Van Zandt played to a standing-room-only crowd in Nashville on April 19, 1985, when he recorded Live and Obscure at 12th and Porter. The show was billed as "the return of the lost sheep of the songwriting fold." The rambling Texas troubadour did not disappoint his fans, peers, and colleagues that night (or any other). In this intimate setting, Van Zandt's aw-shucks charm comes through not just his songs, but his in-between banter. Luckily, he failed to heed his mother's advice to not talk, just play and sing. Another beauty that appears in a raw setting such as this is of the songs themselves. No one will argue that a stunning performance by a great singer can make any song seem transcendent. That phenomenon has certainly played a part in Van Zandt's career. But when the author stands on-stage with little musical support to deliver the goods in their truest, original form and they still shine, well, that's what separates the men from the boys. That's the moment when legends are made or broken. Van Zandt was certainly no great singer, but his songs were no less transcendent when sailing on his voice. Though Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard made some of these tunes famous, it was Van Zandt that gave them life. [The set was later reissued by Germany's Normal label with new cover art and four bonus tracks.]
- Release Date:
- Normal Germany
Performance CreditsTownes Van Zandt Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Donny Silverman Flute,Saxophone
Mickey White Guitar
Technical CreditsBruce Springsteen Composer
Townes Van Zandt Composer,Producer
Robert K. Oermann Liner Notes
Harold F. Eggers Executive Producer
Olaf Meyer Artwork
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
I first bought this as an LP. It was my introduction to Townes Van Zandt and, out of the four TVZ CDs I own, is probably my favorite. It was recorded in the 1980s at a time where Townes sounded sober and in control. Later his personal demons destroyed him and he died about a decade later. He is joined by a second guitarist and a sax and flute player, giving it a texture that is unique in his concert recordings. The sound is good and so is the program. I have a German import Live And Obscure CD with bonus tracks but I have not seen that edition for a long time.
I first heard Townes Van Zandt on the shorter Sugar Hill LP of this concert. The flute and sax player (Donny Silverman) adds a different texture to many of the versions of these songs. Van Zandt was still in good form in 1985. I think that Rear View Mirror is a better live CD but get them both if you like one of them.