* bonus tracks
All songs written and composed by Townes van Zandt. Except: 1- Elias McDonald / 3, Cocaine Blues, 13, 20- traditionals / 7- Lightin´ Hopkins / 17- T.C. Ashley
Recordings made 1976 thru 1979; 1,3,11- Blue Onion Cafe, Norman, Oklahoma / 2,9,17- Cellar Door, Washington, D.C. / 4- Hummingbird, Indianopolis, Indiana
/ 5,8,10,16- Good Woman CoffeeHouse, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee / 6,7,12,18,19,20,21- Cat´s Cradle, Chapel Hill, North Carolina / 13-
Bunky´s, Madison, Wisconsin / 14- Mariah Coffeehouse, East Lansing, Michigan / 15- Last Resort, Athens, Georgia . TVZ with band on tracks #1,3,4,5,8,10,11,
13,15,16,17. All other tracks TVZ solo . Musicians: Danny "Rouster" Rowland - lead acoustic guitar. Owen Cody - violin/fiddle. Jimmie Gray - bass.
These live recordings were made between 1976-79, drawn from performances at eight venues in Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, North Carolina,
Michigan and Washington DC. Townes Van Zandt was then in his mid-thirties — a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter with eight national-label LPs and a wellestablished
college, coffeehouse and folk club touring circuit that extended into every corner of North America. No time in those heady, hopeful days for wistful
gazing in the rear view mirror. . . Townes was in his prime as a performer and writer, riding a rising musical tide that seemed destined to carry him ahead and everupward
to new horizons, new possibilities. . . by the early ’80s his songs would provide chart-topping hits for Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Don Williams and
Emmylou Harris. . . by the early ‘90s he was touring Europe and Australia, performing to enthusiastic audiences until just before New Year’s Day, 1997, when he died
at age 52, his beleaguered physical health finally giving way even as his creative spirit was aflame with renewed vigor and passion. Townes is typically thought of
as a solo artist, yet he was never averse to performing in duets and small ensembles, the character of his songs inevitably enhanced by the added textures and
rhythms. Throughout his career he had the knack of gathering skilled supporting players alert to the subtleties of his music and able to contribute memorable flashes
of their own musical imprint. The accompanists here also performed on the original Rear View Mirror, Townes’ top-selling live album to date and Pulse
Magazine’s #1 folk album of 1997. Lead guitarist Danny “Ruester” Rowland’s credits included stints with Guy Clark and Billy Edd Wheeler; fiddler Owen Cody played
with Freddy Fender, Richard Dobson and Billy Joe Shaver; bassist Jimmie Gray was the bass player in Waylon Jennings’ original band The Waylors and a popular
solo recording/touring artist in the Southwest. With lineups like these, a Townes Van Zandt concert could never be accused of predictability. Townes always kept in
touch with his personal roots music, the Southern blues and country traditions that inspired his early interest in performing and shaped his basic writing and guitar
style. While most of the songs on this CD are Townes’ original compositions, he delivers standout versions of Jolé Blon (the Cajun national anthem), Coo Coo (the
American folk classic by way of 17th-century Ireland), FFV (the West Virginia train wreck tale immortalized by the Carter Family), Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins’
Hello Central, rock pioneer Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love and a stunning segue into Rev. Gary Davis’ Cocaine Blues from Brand New Companion. All the material
here is previously unreleased, which makes this edition of Rear View Mirror even more of an intriguing snapshot lifted out of time. Townes was a performer whose
music took on an extra fullness and depth in front of a live audience. In addition, there are three bonus tracks (Snake Mountain Blues, St. John the Gambler, FFV).
Much of what is written and remembered about Townes Van Zandt focuses on his life on the road — the excesses, the eccentricities, the exacting toll of non-stop
one-nighters. Too frequently obscured is the actual music he made in the heat of the performing moment. . . the music that was the message and the medium for a
supremely talented explorer of the human soul. . . music that continues to enlighten and entertain and ennoble.
Here it is, a look back in the rear view mirror at a musician who never stopped moving forward.
L.E. McCullough, Woodbridge, New Jersey, September 2004
I knew I would play guitar with Townes Van Zandt before I ever met him. I had a promo copy of "Our Mother the Mountain" in 1969 and listened to it again and
again. My work had mainly been with songwriters and I was always looking for the best ones...When I heard that LP I knew he was one of the best. Years later, after
working with Guy Clark, I got a call from Guy...he said, "How would you like to go on the road playing acoustic guitar with Townes?"
It had come full circle....I said yes, of course, and my life was forever changed. Changed not only by the music, but also by the man himself.....Walking down the
street with Townes was an adventure and living on the road with him was more than that, it was a way of life. All the songs you will hear on this recording were recorded live. As a band, we didn´t rehearse...we understood each other´s competence and capabilities. Each song was different every time it was played depending
on the circumstances. Live recordings exist in a milieu all their own...left untampered, they often put the listener "in the audience". And the music, from whatever
place or time, has only one boundary....it´s audience. I hope you will enjoy these performances. There are many miles on them, but the miles were necessary and true.
Danny "Ruester" Rowland, Kentucky, 2004
As did Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt lived his life as a rambling troubador of the highest degree, and in the process influencing the singer/songwriters of the
world. The international press considered him one of the best. The highway was truely Townes home. In his words "being a folk singer is 80% traveling, and 20%
performing, and the humm of the wheels is one of my favorite sounds". I started working with Townes in 1976 as road manager. Traveling across America with
him and his band was quite and experience. At that time, I began recording his live performances, and playing them back as we sped to the next gig. Continued
doing this over a twenty year span. As the years flew by, I wore many hats while working with Townes. I was his manager, agent, and confidant. Eventually I became
business partners with Townes, half owner in charge of all his live recordings he made throughout his career. As we traveled, Townes and I discussed in detail
what recordings he wanted released, and the future plans for his extensive live recording catalog. Basically we had an office on wheels, trains, and planes, right
up until the day he died. We were the best of friends, and as he would say, "partners in crime". The first live album we did together in 1988, received such good
reviews, that Townes said let´s do another. While Townes was alive, he saw each new live release garnish rave reviews internationally. Townes was extremely
proud of this ongoing accomplishment. He arranged contractually for me to continue this process after he was gone. The extensive amount of hours we listened to
his live recordings, and discussed future plans for them and previous recordings, was his way of keeping the legacy alive, without me even realizing it. Also began
working with Townes on his biography, a year before his death. The book is still in the works, now collaborating with renowned Austin KUT DJ/writer Larry
Monroe and music scholar L.E. McCullough to complete. One of the most successful Townes live recordings to date is Rear View Mirror, which Pulse Magazine
(Tower Record Stores) picked as the #1 folk album of 1997. It was also a Boston Globe top ten pick for 1997. The same band is on this new collection, Rear View
Mirror Volume # 2. Townes personally picked the songs for this album. The magic and intensity of Townes and his band is captured again. If you close your eyes
when you listen to this CD, you can feel your self to be in the moment of the making of these recordings. The ghost of Townes is alive and well, his words and
music will always ring down the halls of time, as he intended. Townes Van Zandt is a timeless musical wonder that continues to touch our souls each day. Thanks,
Townes for letting me come along for the ride of a lifetime. Townes and the road will go on forever.
Harold F. Eggers Jr.
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