UK based record label Charly celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. The label specialise in reissues covering Blues, Jazz, Americana, Country, Funk, primal Rock and Roll, Soul, Reggae, and more. In June they will be releasing a double CD of the legendary Townes Van Zandt’s first two albums: For The Sake Of The Song / Our Mother The Mountain.
For The Sake Of The Song was Van Zandt’s debut release and was produced by Sun Records legend Cowboy Jack Clement, recorded in 1968. Despite the huge recognition Townes now has as one of the finest songwriters this album was released on Kevin Eggers small Poppy label who was also his manager. The release had a small budget and achieved no commercial success. It also wasn’t without its critics who felt the release was ‘over-produced’ in an effort to project Townes as a more contemporary performer. Despite this the album contains three of his best known songs: For The Sake Of The Song, Tecumseh Valley and the all-time classic Waitin’ Around To Die – songs that remaind in his repertoire for the remainder of his life and which continue to attract cover versions.
Our Mother The Mountain was his second album, again produced by Jack Clement and recorded in 1969. It featured some well known guest artists of the time incldung names Burton, Charlie McCoy, Don ‘Richie’ Frost and Don Randi. But unlike his debut this was critically well received. Despite this the release on the under-funded Poppy label meant it fell into relative obscurity.
Standouts were the much-covered title track; Townes’ epic re-recording of Tecumseh Valley from his first LP – here, retitled simply Tecumseh – which added a couple more verses and took it at a slower, more melancholic pace; Second Lovers Song; Kathleen and Be Here To Love Me, the latter two titles also attracting plenty of cover versions.
Once described by the LA Times as “A cross between Woody Guthrie and Leonard Cohen” this release is sure to be a must have for fans and those new to Van Zandt’s work.
Release Date: 16th June
If you haven’t see the documentary Be Here To Love Me on his life then we highly recommend it. You can watch it below:
Film: Be Here To Love Me