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Townes Van Zandt wrote songs with an uncommon grace and poetic clarity, and he sang them with a voice that was at once straightforward, eloquent and mindful of the arid beauty of his images. A decade after Van Zandt released his first album, there would be dozens of singer/songwriters following his example, but he was a rather unusual commodity when "For the Sake of the Song" was released in 1968, and the album's production and arrangements occasionally suggest that Jack Clement and Jim Malloy didn't always know what to make of what he brought them. The 11 songs on Van Zandt's debut are all the fine stuff (even the throwaway novelty "Talkin' Karate Blues" at least brings a chuckle), and the emotional face with which Van Zandt delivers (Quicksilver daydreams Of) Maria, Tecumseh Valley, and the title tune belies the fact this was his first album. But on several tracks Clement and Malloy attempt to match the elusive mystery of Van Zandt's music with overblown accompaniment and deeply echoey recording, especially the cheesy chorus on The Velvet Voices, the clichéd Western accompaniment of I ll Be Here in the Morning, the tinkling keyboards on Sad Cinderella, and the rattling percussion of "Waitin' Around to Die." In spite of the occasionally misguided production, "For the Sake of the Song" remains a classic debut. These songs make clear that Van Zandt s genius was already fully formed and as both a composer and a performer he was a man of rare gifts; even when backing threatens to drown him out, his gifts come shining through, and "For the Sake of the Song" was an auspicious debut offering from a talent of the first order.
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*SEALED* Jacket still sealed in shrink original wrap; disc sold ungraded or "as is."
NM (Near Mint) Appears unplayed and will bear no marks, sleeve scuffs, or scratches.
EX+ (Excellent) May have one or two visible imperfections (i.e. sleeve scuffs, faint scratches, or other superficial marks) that will not affect playback.
VG+ (Very Good+) A few visible imperfections. These may include sleeve scuffs, light scratches, or other superficial marks.
VG (Very Good) Similar imperfections found on VG+ records but in slightly greater numbers. Records graded VG and above will typically not have any scratches that are deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
VG- (Very Good-) A number of visible imperfections; the presence of a considerable number of light scratches will force a VG- grade, as will the presence of significant isolated defects such as scratches deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
G (Good) Record can be played without skipping, but will have significant surface noise, scratches, and visible groove wear. G+ and G- are used to indicate stronger and weaker copies within this range.
*SW/DNAP* Slight warp, does not affect playback
*QUAD* Quadraphonic Sound, similar to today’s surround sound
All records are visually graded by our experienced staff, using a bright lamp and an Audio-Technica ATLP-120 turntable.