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**2019 stock** Townes Van Zandt's third recording is an early guitar-and-voice singer-songwriter classic laden with memorable originals. Start with For the Sake of the Song, an oft-recorded classic here enlivened by tasteful percussion. Move on to a couple of Van Zandt's gritty, death's door laments - Waiting Around to Die (where the ex-con protagonist finds a friend in codeine) and a miner's sad tale, Lungs. Colorado Girl is another in a career-long series of paeans to Colorado, where Van Zandt went to college. I'll Be Here in the Morning is a tender love song, while the Dylanesque Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel is almost playful.
Like most Van Zandt albums, this one has the obligatory buried-but-beautiful small masterpiece, in this case the undeniably gorgeous (Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria. The closer is another oft-covered piece of scrimshawed tunesmithery, None But the Rain.
This 1969 effort is the first of several essential Van Zandt albums. - Robert Baird