Townes Van Zandt
In his later years Townes Van Zandt often struggled to put together an album's worth of material, but in his early days he managed three albums in his first two years of recording (and six in the first five years). Granted, he often included re-recordings from his 1968 debut, For the Sake of the Song, since he'd been unhappy with their productions. Yet there are still new songs of great distinction on all of his albums. This self-titled release was his third album; strong versions of "For the Sake of the Song," "(Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria," "Waiting Around to Die," and "I'll Be Here in the Morning" are among the highlights. Yet the new songs "Lungs," "Don't Take It Too Bad," and "None but the Rain" are equally stunning and are well-served by the sparse arrangements, where Van Zandt's beautifully fingerpicked guitars form a simple but effective backdrop for his poetic lyrics. Even the grander arrangement of "Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel" serves its song with empathy.