The very best of the late great Townes Van Zandt
Vinyl reissues, part of Charly Records’ 40th anniversary celebration, of two of the finest singer-songwriter records ever released.
The single Snowglobe preceded the album release, which includes an edited version of the lead track and another brand new song, Funny Bones, not available on the album.
This compilation spans more than 25 years of recordings, including three new songs written specially for MY NAME IN THE BRACKETS. His November UK tour of
11 towns and cities, featured much of this album, including the new material, alongside his renowned bone-dry between song banter, with an endless supply of anecdotes about his brushes with “almost, nearly, not quite fame!”
He was born Marcus Hewerdine in London in 1961, before a move to Cambridge as a child. His work includes lead singer and creative force behind The Bible, formed in the 1980s, and reformed in 1994, as well as solo recordings and work for film. He has also produced records by several artists, including a long association with Eddi Reader. He is one of Britain’s most consistently accomplished songwriters, whose songs have been cut by dozens of top artists.
The album opens with four from The Bible days; Graceland, and Mahalia, which were both singles from their debut album, which got them noticed by Chrysalis Records who signed the band at the end of 1986. Graceland was re-released as a single, and reached number 86 in the UK singles chart. A new album, the Steve Earle-produced EUREKA followed, but failed commercially. A new version of Graceland gave the band their biggest hit (number 51) in 1989. In 1990, Boo Hewerdine decided to leave the group and pursue solo projects.
His debut solo album, IGNORANCE, was released in 1992. Invited by Tori Amos to play support promoting these songs, Hewerdine managed to find a new audience and that album and a single, History, did relatively well commercially.
Back to this new album; three in is Honey Be Good, and then Dreamlife. He gives us 59 Yds, Joke, Last Cigarette, The Birds Are Leaving, and the superb Mapping The Human Heart. That ladies and gentlemen, concludes the first half ofthealbum.
Track nine, the lovely The Girl Who Fell In Love With The Moon, precedes Patience
Of Angels, originally written for The Bible, and recorded by Eddi Readerfor her self-titled 1994 album, which featured several Hewerdine compositions. Her version was a top 40 hit in the UK Singles Chart.The song brought him a nomination for the Ivor Novello Award in 1995.
Bell, Book & Candle, (from Thanksgiving) has been used in several television dramas, including an award-winning death scene in Emmerdale. Nice to hear Muddy Water. Then come Geography, Blaze of Glory, Amazing Robot, and the album version of Snowglobe. The closer is the exclusive new track, Last Shot On The Roll.
It’s the perfect showcase of a clever writer and brilliant lyricist, whose classy material has helped to boost the careers of many an artist out there over the years. A long overdue compilation of some of his best stuff. Much more to come methinks. Simon Redley