For the Sake of the Song, Our Mother the Mountain, Townes Van Zandt, Delta Momma Blues, Flyin' Shoes

Gift Guide


Townes Van Zandt

For the Sake of the Song (Fat Possum)

Townes Van Zandt

Our Mother the Mountain (Fat Possum)

Townes Van Zandt

(Fat Possum)

Townes Van Zandt

Delta Momma Blues (Fat Possum)

Townes Van Zandt

Flyin' Shoes (Fat Possum)

Fat Possum's reissue of Townes Van Zandt's first four albums, along with 1978's Flyin' Shoes, squanders the opportunity to re-envision and expand an understanding of the songwriter in simply replicating the originals. Neither new liner notes nor bonus tracks accompany the series, which, weighed against the benefit of hindsight and existence of more popular live recordings, lends the albums little new significance other than their availability. The lack is particularly telling on Van Zandt's first two LPs, 1968's For the Sake of the Song and 1969's Our Mother the Mountain, both suffering from Cowboy Jack Clement's notorious production. In addition to the debut's editing of "Tecumseh Valley" to avoid the Nashville-offending "whorin'," the songs sag with superfluous instrumentation, from the bouncing harpsichord of "I'll Be Here in the Morning" and military percussion of "Waitin' Around to Die" to the dreadful choir backing most egregiously employed on "The Velvet Voices." Mother, meanwhile, trills with flute on the title track and "Be Here to Love Me," and the devastating beauty of "Kathleen" is washed in overly dramatic strings, though Van Zandt's poeticism remains indomitable. The self-titled third release revisits three songs from his debut with Jim Malloy's engineering stripping the sound, and the disc remains Van Zandt's best studio output behind definitive versions of "I'll Be Here in the Morning," "For the Sake of the Song," and Dylan-esque "Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel." 1971's Delta Momma Blues is equally powerful with "Only Him or Me" and "Come Tomorrow," while Flyin' Shoes, even copying the original's mismatched track listing, finds Van Zandt utilizing a band to his best effect, from "Rex's Blues" to the rockin' cover of "Who Do You Love." When will future reissues provide the thorough archiving Van Zandt deserves?

(For the Sake of the Song) **

(Our Mother the Mountain, Flyin' Shoes) ***

(Townes Van Zandt, Delta Momma Blues) ****

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Aaron Einhouse
It Ain't Pretty (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, June 24, 2016

Texas Platters
Strahan & the Good Neighbors
Strahan & the Good Neighbors (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, June 24, 2016

More by Doug Freeman
Texas Platters
David Messier
Waiting for Eldridge (Record Review)

June 24, 2016

My Little Red Book
Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy Behind Cheatham Street Warehouse
Brian T. Atkinson & Jenni Finlay

June 17, 2016


Townes Van Zandt

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)