Townes Van Zandt – Pancho and Lefty

By • Feb 19th, 2009 • Category: Acoustic, Country, Folk, Music
Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt

A few weeks ago I was having a coffee with a friend and the conversation turned to music (I dont do sport politics and religion can be “tricky”, so music is really about the only “safe” subject – besides I love finding out what people are listening to), and we discovered we were both fans of Townes Van Zandt.

Here is a bio from Paul Evans over at Rolling Stone

Texas singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt never gained much more than a long-lasting cult follow-ing for his well-crafted, mildly countryish folk pop, but his best record, Our Mother, the Mountain, remains powerful — and he deserves a revival. He hasn’t the fine voice that Eric Andersen had circa Andersen’s classic Blue River (1972), but he shares some of the same sensibility — he writes well about loss and yearning, and conveys subtle emotions through telling images. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard scored a country hit with his “Poncho and Lefty,” a song with pervasive, dark nostalgia that encapsulates Van Zandt’s approach. A deft finger-picking guitarist and a careful lyricist, he delivered work that stands the test of time. … The Best of Townes Van Zandt does him justice, but every individual album is worth a listen.

The killer song for me is “Pancho and Lefty”, head straight over to and play it in the background, it’s a killer live version. “Pancho and Lefty” is a wonderful story that for odd reasons always conjures ou visions of  Butch and Sundance. It would have made a much better theme song than the terrible “Raindrops” (what were they thinking?). It’s been covered by just about everyone, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan and one of my personal favourites Ross Ryan. There is a recording I did at one of his shows over at thatchspace.

From Youtube here is a video of Townes Van Zandy performing “Pancho & Lefty” in 1993…

Townes Van Zandt died in 1997 but his songs are as potent today as when they were written.

Website at

is fascinated by guitars, music, guitars, production, silly noises, guitars and used to be a musician. Did I mention the thing about the guitars?
Email this author | All posts by |

Disagree? Leave a comment