music · Song Lyric Sunday

SLS — The Catfish Song by Townes VanZandt

song lyric sunday


Jim Adams is the host for today’s Song Lyric Sunday. Today’s theme is a good one:


per wikipedia:  The Catfish Song” is from the album, “At My Window”, an album released by… Townes Van Zandt in 1987. This was Van Zandt’s first studio album in the nine years that followed 1978’s Flyin’ Shoes, and his only studio album recorded in the 1980s… According to the 2007 biography To Live’s To Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt, the song “The Catfish Song” was written while Van Zandt sat by the Harpeth River, where the Battle of Franklin took place, when the singer lived in a cabin in Franklin, Tennessee in the late 1970s.

The Catfish Song

Down at the bottom of that dirty ol’ river
Down where the reeds and the catfish play
There lies a dream as soft as the water
There lies a bluebird that’s flown away

Well, to meet is like Springtime
And to love’s like the Summer
Her brown eyes shone for nobody but me
Then Autumn forever, the fool come a fallin’
And the rain turned to freezin’ inside of me.

I’ll kindle my fires with the words
I can’t send you
And the roads I can’t follow
And the songs I can’t sing

I’ll wander alone on the sleighbells of winter

With the stars for a diamond

And the world for a ring

Well, all you young ladies
Who dream of tomorrow
While you’re a listenin’
These words will I say
Cling to today with its joy
And its sorrow
You’ll need all your memories
When youth melts away.

Well, the angel of Springtime
He rides down the Southwind
The angel of Summer
He does just the same
The angel of Autumn
She’s blue and she’s golden
And the angel of Winter
Won’t remember your name

Down at the bottom of that dirty ol’ river
Down where the reeds and the catfish play
There lies a dream as soft as the water
There lies a bluebird that’s flown away

There lies a bluebird
That’s flown away

Songwriters: Townes Van Zandt


21 thoughts on “SLS — The Catfish Song by Townes VanZandt

  1. When his millionaire parents sent him for electroshock therapy he came out a different person. He was drinking heavily before he went in. Who knows if anything could have changed his trajectory. I’ve watched interviews where he made statements that he knew he wasn’t long for this world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man, what a song! New to me, and I don’t know his background, but sounds like he sure had his troubles. Such profound lyrics. My eyes are stinging as I read over the words. Thanks for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are welcome. He grew up in the home of his parents, who were millionaire oil barons. The poor kid never had a chance when he decided not to follow in his daddy’s footsteps. He lived every one of his lyrics 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great song. His story slightly reminds me of Gram Parsons…son of rich parents that lived off a trust account…talented but wasted much of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t know that about Gram Parsons but I don’t know much about him anyway. I’m not really sure Townes was a trust fund baby. I think he wrote his family off after he got out of the treatment facility. Not 100% sure on that. It’s almost like Townes knew he had an “expiration date” and he lived life on his terms until that date came. Didn’t Gram die young?

    Liked by 1 person

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