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Goin’ to Townes

August 8, 2021

This week Jim asks us to roll the dice and share a song about “Fate, Fortune, Luck“.

My first thought was to share Gordon Lightfoot’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald but then I thought about sharing something less popular and someone more obscure. Someone with a poetic genius that believe deserves more attention and that took me to Townes Van Zandt.

Copied and edited from Wikipedia:

John Townes Van Zandt[1] (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997) was an American singer-songwriter.[2][3] He wrote numerous songs that are widely considered masterpieces of American songwriting. His musical style has often been described as melancholy and features rich, poetic lyrics. During his early years, Van Zandt was respected for his guitar playing and fingerpicking ability.

Much of Van Zandt’s life was spent touring various dive bars,[5] often living in cheap motel rooms and backwood cabins. For much of the 1970s, he lived in a simple shack without electricity or a telephone.

His influence has been cited by countless artists across multiple genres, and his music has been recorded or performed by Bob DylanWillie NelsonLyle LovettMerle HaggardNorah JonesEmmylou HarrisCounting CrowsSteve EarleRodney CrowellRobert Earl Keen Jr., Nanci GriffithGuy ClarkWade BowenGillian WelchPat GreenColter WallJason IsbellCalvin RussellNatalie MainesJason MolinaKevin Morby, and Frank Turner.

He suffered from a series of drug addictions[6] and alcoholism,[6] and was given a psychiatric diagnosis of bipolar disorder. When he was young, the now-discredited insulin shock therapy erased much of his long-term memory.[7][8][9]

Van Zandt died on New Year’s Day 1997 from cardiac arrythmia caused by health problems stemming from years of substance abuse.[6]

There’s no question that Van Zandt’s lyrics are depressing – sometimes relentlessly so – but there’s no doubt that he was one of the greatest songwriters of our time. Maybe the best.

Of himself he said: “I don’t know why I write really depressing songs. I’m a kind of melancholy guy, I suppose. But I figure I’m about normal.”

I chose the song, Brother Flower, because it’s a somewhat positive song and because in the second verse he talks a little about where fate has led him, and because I love the the thought of nature healing all that needs to be healed.

Well, brother flower, are you listening?
Let me sing a song for you.
Brother flower, petals glistening
in the bashful morning’s dew.

Brother flower, when the sun shines
and the dew has flown away,
if you don’t mind weak and wrong rhymes,
brother flower, may I stay?

Brother flower, you ain’t lonely
for you’ve always been alone.
But I haven’t been so lucky,
I had love and now it’s gone.

I have arms to hold another,
never to hold her again.
I have life to give a lover,
you have life to give the wind.

Brother flower, when the snow flies
and you lay your beauty down,
brother flower, are you sleeping,
there upon the cold, cold ground?

Brother flower, please awaken,
show the sky your face of blue,
let me know I ain’t forsaken,
seems like all I have is you.

Well, brother flower, are you listening?
Let me sing a song for you.
Brother flower, petals glistening,
in the bashful morning’s dew.

Brother flower, when the sun shines
and the dew has flown away,
if you don’t mind weak and wrong rhymes,
brother flower, may I stay?
Brother flower, may I stay?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2021 2:55 pm

    Wow. He has some kind of story. And no relation to Steve Van Zandt?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. August 8, 2021 3:49 pm

    No, I guess they’re not related. At least that’s what Google told me!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. August 8, 2021 4:03 pm

    very enjoyable Michael.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. August 17, 2021 10:23 am

    Nice blog

    Like

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