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#SLS — Townes VanZandt — Pancho & Lefty

Jim Adams is the dedicated host of Song Lyric Sunday, which has been in existence for over three years now.  Thanks to you, Jim, for continuing this fun challenge after Helen Vahdati needed to step down, as it brings music lovers together to share their favorites with each other.  This week, Jim says:
Song Lyric Sunday is mostly about having fun and sharing your music with others. Tell a story, post a video, show the lyrics, but most important, make sure that you have fun. I feel that everyone should be able to find a song that fits the prompt Cowboy/Gun/Hat/Horse/Western.
Here are the “rules”:

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not. If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Have fun and enjoy the music.

townes

John Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997), better known as Townes Van Zandt, was an American singer-songwriter. He wrote numerous songs, such as “Pancho and Lefty”, “For the Sake of the Song”, “Tecumseh Valley”, “Rex’s Blues”, and “To Live is to Fly”, that are widely considered masterpieces of American folk music. His musical style has often been described as melancholy and features rich, poetic lyrics. During his early years, Van Zandt was respected for his guitar playing and fingerpicking ability.

The Late Great Townes Van Zandt is a 1972 studio album by Texas singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt. It was the second album that he recorded in 1972, and a follow-up to High, Low and In Between. The album features two of his most covered songs, the Western outlaw ballad “Pancho and Lefty” and the gentle love song “If I Needed You.”

Although many have covered “Pancho and Lefty,” Jim Beviglia of American Songwriter says, “Better to stick with Van Zandt’s original, where his woebegone voice fills in all the emotional blanks left by the quirky narrative. The title immediately suggests an outlaw song, and that’s what it is in the most basic sense. Yet it becomes something more profound as it wears on, a subtle meditation on life and death, friendship, and the consequences of the choices we make.”

 

Living on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath’s as hard as kerosene
You weren’t your mama’s only boy
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye
And sank into your dreams

Pancho was a bandit boys
His horse was fast as polished steel
Wore his gun outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel
Pancho met his match you know
On the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dying words
That’s the way it goes

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out of kindness I suppose

Lefty he can’t sing the blues
All night long like he used to
The dust that Pancho bit down south
Ended up in Lefty’s mouth
The day they laid poor Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
There ain’t nobody knows

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him slip away
Out of kindness I suppose

The poets tell how Pancho fell
Lefty’s livin’ in a cheap hotel
The desert’s quiet and Cleveland’s cold
So the story ends we’re told
Pancho needs your prayers it’s true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do
Now he’s growing old

A few gray federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness I suppose

Songwriters: TOWNES VAN ZANDT

18 thoughts on “#SLS — Townes VanZandt — Pancho & Lefty

  1. The cowboy hats, the gentle strumming, and the drawl in the way the lyrics are sung – it’s a really distinctive sound isn’t it. It’s funny I have never listened to so much country before this week. It’s really recognisable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know Willie Nelson had a big hit with it, which is where I heard it first. It was only when I started listening to Steve Earle that I was led to Townes, and the dominoes fell into place. Very glad you liked it, Barbara.

    Liked by 1 person

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