Townes Van Zandt tribute show at Bottom Line, New York
        Sun, 09 Feb 1997 14:13:38 -0500
        Vin Scelsa 


I just posted this to the conference page.  I wanted to make sure you
know about this.  Thanks for all you're doing for Townes.  -- Vin Scelsa

     I haven't noticed this posted yet on any of the
Townes-related web pages.  There will be a tribute
called "TOWNES VAN ZANDT -- To Live Is To Fly: A
Celebration Of His Life And Music" featuring Rosie Flores,
Jonell Mosser, Tom Russell, Mike and Margo Timmons (of
Cowboy Junkies), Two Dollar Guitar (with Sonic Youth's
Steve Shelley), Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, "plus an
array of friends and surprise poets and pickers."
     I can tell you that also on the bill are Joe Ely,
Jimmie Dale Gilmore and David Olney. (Also,
a woman whose name can't be advertised; hint: last name
rhymes with the title of a famous Robert Altman movie.)
Jeanine Van Zandt is helping to organize this and she will be
present at the Bottom Line that night -- Sunday February 23.
There will be two performances.
     There is a possibility that I will be broadcasting the
show live from the club on my radio program over WNEW-FM.
I'll keep you posted on that and on additions to the bill
(t's "Grammy Week" in NYC, so lots of folks will be in

Vin Scelsa

         about-townes: TVZ tribute 2-23-97
         Wed, 19 Feb 1997 19:15:25, -0500
    From:  (MR JIM ABBOTT)

Yes. The early show will be broadcast on WNEW 102.7 in NYC. Roseanne 
Cash will not be appearing after all due to some schedule conflict or 
something, but the show promises to be great without her. The 
broadcast, on Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight show, will begin at 7:30 
instead of the usual 8:00, so don't be late.

         about-townes: Another Townes tribute
         Tue, 18 Feb 1997 11:39:12 -0800

I pulled this section from a message today that was send to the Postcard
list. Hopefully, more information will be available as March 2nd approaches.

Los Angeles -  a tribute to the late Townes Van Zandt--featuring Peter Case, 
Butch Hancock and Mark Olson of the Jayhawks, among others--March 2 at the Ash Grove;

        Townes tribute show at the Bottom Line
        Tue, 25 Feb 1997 09:14:45 -0500
        Vin Scelsa 

Len:  Here's what went down at the Townes tribute show at the Bottom
Line Sunday night.   -- Vin Scelsa WNEW-FM 2/25/97

These are the songs I played on WNEW-FM / NY on "IDIOT'S

This was a special edition of Idiot's Delight   a live broadcast from
the Bottom Line of "To Live Is To Fly: A Celebration of the Life and
Music of Townes Van Zandt".  We broadcasted the early show commercial
free from 7:30 PM to approximately 9:40 PM.  Here's a list of the
performers and the songs they played:

We opened with a recording of Townes singing "Old Shep" from the
Abnormal album.  His guitar was on stage, lit by medium light.  Jeanene
brought two posters with his photo on them and the word "Poet" -- these
hung on the two onstage pillars and were medium lit throughout the
entire show.  It was just like he was there.  There was no emcee.  I
gave some introductory remarks onstage for the broadcast, then everyone
simply walked out and introduced themselves when it was there turn.  It
was very simple, and very effective. 

JONELL MOSSER   If I Needed You   (duet with JOE ELY)
CHIP TAYLOR   Pueblo Waltz
PAUL K   A Song For
PAUL K   Only Him Or Me
ROSIE FLORES   Pancho And Lefty
ROSIE FLORES   Brother Flower
TWO DOLLAR GUITAR   Harm's Swift Way
TWO DOLLAR GUITAR   Song For A Dead Friend   (with LORETTE VELVETTE)   
JOE ELY   Waiting Around To Die
JOE ELY   Indian Cowboy   (Joe's song that Townes recorded; never
recorded by Joe)
TOM RUSSELL w/ANDREW HARDIN   White Freight Liner Blues
DAVID OLNEY   For The Sake of the Song
DAVID OLNEY   Dollar Bill Blues
JIMMIE DALE GILMORE   Buckskin Stallion

Here's who all these wonderful musicians are:

JOE ELY  A member of the seminal early-'70s Texas band the Flatlanders
(with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock).  Joe has toured with the
Clash, recorded with Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones and been
produced by Al Kooper;  his most recent album is Letter To Laredo.

ROSIE FLORES One of  rockabilly's leading proponents in the 1990s, Rosie
recently toured America on a co-bill with the legendary Wanda Jackson;
her albums include Rockabilly Filly, Once More With Feeling,  After The
Farm and Honky Tonk Reprise.

JIMMIE DALE GILMORE  A member of the seminal early-'70s Texas band the
Flatlanders (with Joe Ely and Butch Hancock); his most recent album,
Braver Newer World, is a Grammy nominee this year for  "Best
Contemporary Folk" album.

PAUL K  Trouser Press called him "one of the post-punk generation's
first bona fide bluesmen"; he has recorded many albums with his group
The Weathermen, most recently, Love Is A Gas.  He recorded Townes'
"Tecumseh Valley" on his 1995 release, Achilles Heel. 

MARY LEE KORTES  Lead vocalist and songwriter for the New York-based
band Mary Lee's Corvette, produced by musician and NYC club owner Eric
"Roscoe" Ambel. 

JONELL MOSSER  A Nashville-based vocalist extraordinaire with extensive
studio credits; in 1996 she released Around Townes, an album of Townes
Van Zandt songs executive produced by Jeanene Van Zandt.

DAVID OLNEY Townes' spiritual and songwriting soul brother, about whom
Townes wrote in the liner notes for David's 1991 album Roses,  "He has
written some of the most powerful, most hauntingly beautiful songs I
have ever heard.... He has unknowingly helped me to keep my standards
high."  David records for Philo Records.

TOM RUSSELL   Brooklyn-based cowboy/songwriter; his albums include Box
Of Visions, Cowboy Real, and Rose Of San Joaquin.  He has collaborated
with such diverse artists as Barrence Whitfield and Ian Tyson. 

CHIP TAYLOR  Composer of the yin and the yang of American pop songs:
"Angel of the Morning" and "Wild Thing"; his recently released album Hit
Man features newly recorded versions of these and other Taylor-penned

MICHAEL & MARGO TIMMONS  Members of the Cowboy Junkies, who toured with
Townes and for whom Townes wrote "Cowboy Junkies Lament."

TWO  DOLLAR GUITAR  Steve Shelley is the drummer with Sonic Youth and
runs Smells Like Records; Tim Foljahn plays with Cat Power and was a
member of Half Japanese and Mosquito; Dave Motamed was in Das Damen and
Cell.  Steve was producing Townes' last recording sessions in Memphis at
the end of 1996.  Two Dollar Guitar was Townes' band for those sessions.

LORRETTE VELVETTE  Lorrette is a vocalist with Dave Soldier's New
York-based band The Kropotkins; she was also participating in Townes'
final recording sessions in Memphis.  

GILLIAN WELCH & DAVID RAWLINGS  Songwriting partners who co-wrote  most
of the material featured on Gillian's critically acclaimed 1996 debut
album, Revival. 

Once the concert broadcast was over I presented a special pre-recorded
segment featuring Townes' own recordings, as follows (song title and
album title):


        To Live Is To Fly        High, Low & In Between
        Where I Lead Me         Delta Momma Blues
        Who Do You Love Live At The Old Quarter Houston Texas
        Blaze's Blues   No Deeper Blue

        Rex's Blues     Live and Obscure
        Quicksilver Dreams Of Maria     Townes Van Zandt
        Don't You Take It Too Bad       Rear View Mirror
        If I Needed You Abnormal
        The Catfish Song        At My Window
        My Starter Won't Start  Roadsongs
        Delta Mama Blues        Delta Momma Blues
        Wabash Cannonball       Roadsongs
        Faretheewell Miss Carousel     Townes Van Zandt
        No Place To Fall        Rear View Mirror
        BW Railroad Blues       No Deeper Blue

        Tecumseh Valley / Dead Flowers     Abnormal
        Racing In The Streets   Roadsongs
        Tower Song      Delta Momma Blues
        For The Sake Of The Song     Townes Van Zandt

        Pancho & Lefty  Live At The Old Quarter Houston Texas
        Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold     Live At The Old Quarter Houston Texas
        Nothin' Delta Momma Blues
        Lungs   Townes Van Zandt
        Snowin' On Raton        At My Window
        A Song For      No Deeper Blue
        Flyin' Shoes    Abnormal
        To Live Is To Fly       Rear View Mirror

This lasted until approximately 11:45 PM, at which point I returned to
the station and finished the show.  I received a special recording from
RICHARD JULIAN, a New York artist who was a friend of Townes' and
couldn't be at the show because he's touring in Europe, opening for
Suzanne Vega.  He performed and recorded a Townes song during a show in
Oslo, Norway a few days ago specifically for me to play after the

RICHARD JULIAN   To Live Is To Fly   (live recording of Townes' song)

The Townes "tribute" ended at this point (I guess) and I began to work
my way back into the "regular" show.

RICHARD JULIAN   Sick Sick Love   (from his new album)
BESSIE SMITH   Aggravatin' Papa
HANK WILLIAMS   Cold Cold Heart
JOHN MELLENCAMP   Just Another Day 
WILCO   Red-eyed and Blue
ENYA   Anywhere Is
JOE ELY   Run Preciosa

WILCO   Red-eyed and Blue
OTIS REDDING   (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
KATE CAMPBELL   When Panthers Roamed In Arkansas

YO LA TENGO   Moby Octapad   (advance release of new album due in April)
THE WHO   Armenia City In The Sky
DAVID BOWIE   Looking For Satellites
PETER GABRIEL   Passion: The Feeling Begins
   (this is from Gabriel's soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's "Last
Temptation Of Christ")
IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS   Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3
THE DEAD MILKMEN   Do The Brown Nose
J. GEILS BAND   I'll Be Comin' Home
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA   Sette Sequenze: Look Out
   (with the String Quartet from the Graunke Orchestra of Munich)

FREEDY JOHNSTON   I'm Not Hypnotized
BEN FOLDS FIVE   Evaporated   (advance release of new album due out in
from their new duo album "Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories)"
LORI CARSON   Make A Little Luck
   Grass & Concrete; Taxi To Brooklyn; Speak Easy It's A Whiskey Scene
This is the '70s English band fronted by Jon Mark and Johnny Almond  
hence their name; not to be confused with Marc Almond (of Soft Cell);
this was staple record on WNEW-FM back in the '70s.
JOHN COLTRANE QUARTET   The Drum Thing   (Featuring Elvin Jones - drums)
   from the 1964 album "Crescent"

SANTO & JOHNNY   Sleepwalk   (closing theme)

Show ended approxiamtely 3:10 AM

         about-townes: TVZ Tribute in NYC (long)
         Tue, 25 Feb 1997 13:03:24 -0500
         Ross Whitwam 

There was a tribute show to Townes Van Zandt at the Bottom Line
in NYC two nights ago (Sunday 23 Feb).  I was hoping someone
better at this than I would describe and review it, but I
haven't seen anything posted yet, so I'll give it a shot
before it all recedes in my memory.

It was billed as "To Live Is To Fly, a celebration of [TVZ's]
life and his music".  There were two shows.  The earlier one
began at 7:30 and was broadcast live on WNEW (102.7 FM)
on Vin Scelsa's "Idiot's Delight" radio program.

I had tickets to the later show (scheduled for 10:30 pm;
actually starting at closer to 11:30 pm), so I was able
to catch most of the first show on the radio before
I headed out to the club

The first show was introduced by Vin Scelsa.  He reminisced
about Van Zandt a bit and described Van Zandt's influence
and legacy and what-have-you.  Then there came what, over
the radio at least, seemed to be a very SCTV moment.  He
said that that was Townes' guitar on the stage -- and in my
mind's eye I pictured a spotlight hitting a lone guitar
sitting on a chair on the stage -- and now -- with everyone
presumably watching the guitar -- they were going to
play a recording from Van Zandt's last appearance
at the Bottom Line.  And the voice of Van Zandt came over
the speakers, doing a rather ragged and fitful -- but not
unaffecting -- version of "Old Shep" (about a beloved dog
who was Van Zandt's pal and companion and then died.)
Van Zandt had to stop a couple of times  during the performance
to laugh at his own sentimentality in the song, but it was
all rather sweet and touching.  In the theatre I don't think
I would have known whether to laugh or to cry at the sight
of Van Zandt's spotlighted guitar during all this, but on
the radio, it was, as I said, rather touching.

Then the show proper started.  The show was well orchestrated.
Each artist appeared, did his or her allotted song or two, then
gave the stage over to the next performer (sometimes staying
on stage and joining in for a song with whoever was following.)
All the mics seemed to have been pre-tested, all the instruments
pre-tuned and ready.  One act would leave the stage and the
next would immediately walk on.  The longest interval between
sets was maybe a minute.

A handout provided at both shows identified all the artists,
including a few of the names I didn't recognise off the top
of my head:

"David Olney.  Townes' spiritual and song-writing soul brother,
about whom Townes wrote in the linear notes for David's 1991
album _Roses_, "He has written some of the most powerful, most
hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever heard.  He has unknowingly
helped me keep my standards high."  David records for Philo Records.

"Chip Taylor.  Composer of the yin and the yang of American pop
songs:  "Angel of the Morning" and "Wild Thing"; his recently
released _Hit Man_ features newly recorded versions of these and
other Taylor-penned hits.

"Two Dollar Guitar.  Steve Shelley is the drummer with Sonic
Youth and runs Smells Like Records; Tim Foljahn plays with
Cat Power and was a member of Half Japanese and Mosquito;
Dave Motamed was in Das Damen and Cell.  Steve was producing
Townes' last recording sessions in Memphis at the end of
1996; Two Dollar Guitar was Townes' band for those sessions.

"Lorrette Velvette.  Lorrette is a vocalist with Dave Soldier's
New York-based band The Kropotkins; she was also participating
in Townes' final recording sessions in Memphis."

Here's a setlist, with some random comments from me.

- Vin Scelsa's introduction and comments.

- tape of Townes Van Zandt doing "Old Shep"

1.  Jimmie Dale Gilmore - "No Lonesome Tune"
Gilmore was a bit choked up appearing on stage immediately
after hearing Van Zandt do a song, but he quickly started
singing and did a terrific job, I thought.

2.  Joe Ely and Jonell Mosser - "If I Needed You"

3.  Jonell Mosser - "Tower Song"

4.  Chip Taylor - "Pueblo Waltz".

5.  Gillian Welch and David Rawlings - "Snow On Raton"
Like Gilmore, Welch was a bit choked up initially and
didn't say much, just jumped into the song.

6.  Paul K - "A Song For"
7.  Paul K - ?
I didn't recognise the second song.  It started
        "Don't go saying I'm leaving you
         Thinking I never got close enough to stay"

8.  Rosie Flores - "Pancho and Lefty"
9.  Rosie Flores - "Brother Flower"

10.  Two Dollar Guitar - "Who's Going To Mind Your Time"?
I'm guessing at that title.  I didn't recognise this song, but it
was one of the songs Van Zandt was recording with this band
just before he died.  The tune was reminiscent of "House of
The Rising Sun".  I suspect it is a new composition:
        "There is a home out of harm's swift way
              I set myself to find
         I swore to my love I would bring her there
              Then I left my love behind"

The band sounded very good to me.  They were the only performers
of the evening with bass and drums, which seemed a bit jarring at
first after nothing but guitars and vocals, but I ended up liking
their sound a great deal.  I hope anything they managed to finish
in the recording studio with Van Zandt eventually sees the light of
day, because they strike me as being a kick-ass band who had
the potential to sound great behind TvZ.  At the show, Tim Foljahn
also did a good job with the songs' vocals; his timing and phrasing
were very much in the vein of Van Zandt's.

11.  Lorrette Velvette & Two Dollar Guitar
        - "Today Is Just Another Day" ?
I didn't recognise this one either, so it might also have been a new
composition for the aborted album.  The song's melody sounded like
John Lennon's "Imagine" to me.
          "Let's drive into the desert
                Inside a rented car
           You can sleep in the back seat
                Tired highway star

Velvette and Foljahn duetted nicely on this one.

12.  Lorrette Velvette & Two Dollar Guitar
           - "Your Hell is Real, Your Heaven is Deceiving" ?
Velvette sung this solo.  She introduced it as "a song I wrote
recently".  Sounded like it might have been written with
you-know-who in mind:
           "You're waiting around to die
            It's the demons that you're feeding"

13.  Joe Ely - "Waiting Around To Die"
14.  Joe Ely - "Indian Cowboy"
This was Ely's own composition written about an incident
he experienced while working for a circus.  Van Zandt
both recorded it and played it live occasionally.  Ely
expressed great pride in this fact, but noted with some
wryness that, in the middle of performing the song
live, Van Zandt used to claim that he hated circus songs.

15.  Mary's Corvette - "No Place To Fall"

16.  Tom Russell - "Tecumseh Valley"
17.  Tom Russell - "White Freight Liner Blues"
I really like Russell's singing.  He was terrific on these
songs, just as he was covering Merle Haggard's " They're
Closing The Labour Camps Down" on the recent Haggard
tribute album.  I just wish his own material -- which
generally leaves me cold -- was as strong as the stuff
he covers.

18.  David Olney - "For The Sake of a Song"
19.  David Olney - "Dollar Bill Blues"

20.  David Olney & Chip Taylor - "Rex's Blues"

21.  J.T. Van Zandt II - ?
Another song I didn't recognise.  It started:
        "My days they are the highway kind
            They only come to leave
          But the leaving I don't mind
            Cause it's the coming that I crave"

J.T said that he thought it would be appropriate to start
with what he thought was Townes' corniest joke ever.
Like his singing, J.T.'s joke delivery is reminiscent of his
father.  Just like his dad would, J.T. laughed charmingly
at his own punch line.  (The joke, btw, was Q: What did the
snail say on the turtle's back?  A: Whee!)

J.T Van Zandt is a strong singer.  His voice does sound close
to his father's, but doesn't come across nearly as fragile.  I
hope he hasn't inherited his father's demons (at the moment he
looks strong and young, but maybe so did Townes at that age.)
He may have a bright future as a singer.  I wonder if he writes.

22.  Marco & Michael Timmins - ?
Yet another song I didn't recognise:
       "Breath I'll take and breath I'll give
           And pray the days aren't poison
        Stand among the ones that live
           In lonely indecision"

The Timminses were pretty much as you'd expect.  Those
who aren't inclined to like them wouldn't have, but I
think they are terrific, subdued but not somnambulant.
Marco Timmins had a cheat sheet with the lyrics because,
she said, she shared with Van Zandt the tendency to blank
out on a song's words.

22.  Marco & Michael Timmins - "To Live Is To Fly"

23.  Group finale?
This is where I had to leave the radio behind to head over
to the club.  Jimmie Dale Gilmore seemed to be leading the
song, but I missed what song it actually was -- it might have
been "Buckskin Stallion", but I'm not sure --and whether there
was one song or more before the first show came to an end.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

The second show was the one I attended in person.  The first
show was a sell-out, and the second show must have been close
as well.  We were tightly packed in there.  Tickets were
$20 (ouch.) but "net proceeds" were ear-marked for an
education fund for Katie Belle Van Zandt, which sounded
good to me.

This time Jeanene Van Zandt introduced the show.  She
read a written account of her recent dream about Townes
(the one that was posted here not too long ago, about Van
Zandt's nonchalantly strolling into their house, and then
talking with her and playing with his two kids Katie Belle
and Will.)

1a.  Jeanene Van Zandt - dream about Townes
Jeanene Van Zandt was a lot younger-looking than I
was expecting.  No way she looked old enough to be
J.T. Van Zandt's mother.  Was Townes married to someone
else before her?  She introduced the same audio clip
they used at the first show.

1b.  Townes Van Zandt - "Shep's Song"

2.  Jimmie Dale Gilmore - "No Lonesome Tune"
Gilmore was less emotional this time around, and said
as much.  He predicted the entire show would be that
way, now that they all had had time to get ahold of

3.  Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Gillian Welch - "Buckskin Stallion"

4.  Jonell Mosser & Joe Ely - "If I Needed You"

5.  Jonell Mosser - "Tower Song"

6.  Chip Taylor - Suzanna Clark's funeral speech
Taylor started off talking about Guy and Suzanna Clark.
He had been talking to Suzanna on the phone earlier in
the day, and, with her permission, read what she had
said at Van Zandt's memorial service.  It was a rather
moving reminiscence of her friendship with Van
Zandt and their frequent phone calls over the years.

7.  Chip Taylor - "Pueblo Waltz"

8.  Gillian Welch & David Rawlings - "Dollar Bill Blues"
Like Gilmore, Welch admitted to being a lot calmer for the
second set.  She said she could barely talk the first time
around.  She asked Rawlings if he remembered the very first
thing Van Zandt had said to him upon meeting them.  Rawlings
laughed and recalled that it was "You gamble?"

9.  Gillian Welch & David Rawlings - "White Freight Liner Blues"
Welch described how backstage everyone was negotiating and
gambling with one another for the right to sing certain
songs.  She said she had won these two this time around.

10.  Paul K - "A Song For"
11.  Paul K - ?
This was the same song I didn't recognise from the first set.

12.  Rosie Flores - "Pancho and Lefty"
13.  Rosie Flores - "Brother Flower"

14.  Two Dollar Guitar - "Who's Going To Mind Your Time"?
15.  Two Dollar Guitar & Lorrette Velvette
         - "Today Is Just Like Any Other Day"?
The same two songs I didn't recognise from the first set.

16.  Lorrette Velvette - "Get Right Church"
This was an old blues-gospel song done solo with slide
guitar that she sang with in honour of Van Zandt's great
love for Lightning Hopkins, Bukka White, and other great

17.  Joe Ely - "Indian Cowboy"

18.  Mary Lee's Corvette - "No Place To Fall"

19.  Tom Russell - Tecumseh Valley"

20.  Tom Russell & Gillian Welch - "Snow On Raton"

21.  David Olney - "For The Sake Of A Song"
22.  David Olney - "Dollar Bill Blues"
Olney expressed good-natured surprise that Welch had already
sung this song claiming that she had won it from him.  He sang
it again anyway, putting a lot of pepper into it to distinguish it
a bit from Welch's more mournful take.

23.  David Olney & Chip Taylor - "Rex's Blues"

24.  J.T. Van Zandt - ?
The same song I didn't recognise from the first set.

25.  J.T. Van Zandt - "Flying Shoes"

26.  Michael & Marco Timmins - ?
The same song I didn't recognise from the first set.

27.  Michael & Marco Timmins - "To Live Is To Fly"

28.  Joe Ely, David Rawlings, & Andrew Hardin
          - "Waiting Around To Die"
Hardin and Rawlings both got into some amiable
guitar pyrotechnics, but mercifully nothing too long
or tedious.

29.  Joe Ely, Gillian Welch, Chip Taylor, Paul K, Rosie Flores,
       David Olney, Jonell Mosser, Mary Lee Kortes - "Fraulein"
The big finale, but missing the Timmins (perhaps M.T's voice
wouldn't have blended in too well?) and Jimmie Dale Gilmore
(do he and Ely get along these days; I never did see them share
the stage at all during the show.)  Everyone trying to take a
verse, it had the singing-around-the-campfire vibe that
these finales tend to have, ending everything on
an upbeat and good-hearted note

I enjoyed the shows.

Ross Whitwam            
Dept. for Biosynthetic Chemistry
Sloan-Kettering Institute