A-Z of Dead Man Singing: V

A-Z of Dead Man Singing: V

18 days ago

V is for Van Morrison. His double live album It’s Too Late to Stop Now features in the list of 100 albums that Dave takes with him for his new post-death life. Despite this, Van himself doesn’t really feature in Dead Man Singing, apart from a passing reference when Dave hears something of him in a Hothouse Flowers album, but it’s safe to say that Dave would have been a big fan.

Another V with only a slightly more prominent place in my narrative is country-folk singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt. His 1972 album The Late, Great Townes Van Zandt is one of Dave’s selections in the fierce competition of tour bus soundtracking. Supposedly, the album was named by Van Zandt’s manager in the hope that people might think his client was dead (he didn’t actually die for another 25 years), and consequently be more inclined to buy the record. That fact alone makes it an appropriate inclusion in Dead Man Singing, even without the fact that I think Dave would love Van Zandt’s work.

My first awareness of Townes Van Zandt was probably when Lyle Lovett included four of his songs on Step Inside This House, a double album of cover versions of songs by other Texan songwriters. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big Lovett fan (though I decided that Dave probably wouldn’t be), and his songwriting is the biggest part of what I love about him. Despite this, Step Inside This House is one of the Lyle Lovett albums that I’m most likely to put on these days: praise indeed for Townes Van Zandt, Gene Clark and the rest of the Texan troubadours.

I’ve seen Lovett a handful of times, and on one occasion there was a giggly, overly vocal American woman in the crowd several rows behind us who kept calling out between songs. If I’m honest, I was finding her continued outbursts quite irritating, but Lovett seemed endlessly patient and accommodating to the interruptions. Several weeks later, the news broke that Lyle Lovett had unexpectedly got married to… Hollywood icon Julia Roberts. Was it Ms Roberts at that Hammersmith Odeon gig? I’ll never know for sure, but it would take a lot to convince me otherwise.

Which artists did you first discover due to someone covering one of their songs? 


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