Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Townes Van Zandt

Further Notes:

Subjects for Further Research [1970s]: Texas's resident singer-songwriter (I use the term generically) has always struck me as unreasonably doleful, but when I played his live album to ascertain just how unreasonable I noticed him cracking jokes and talking blues, including a side-splitter about fraternities (not fraternity). Made me take his melancholy more seriously. Unfortunately, I also caught him singing "Pancho and Lefty" as if it had no melody (a big mistake, just ask Emmylou) and uttering the phrase "harlequin mandolins harmonize helplessly."