In the Beginning …

Townes Van Zandt. | Compadre.


Featuring 10 previously unreleased 1966 recordings, In the Beginning… offers a raw look at the evolution of this remarkable Texan. Townes Van Zandt — the late ballad singer best known for the epic “Pancho and Lefty” — hadn’t fully digested his influences yet: The woeful twang on “Waitin’ for the Day” recalls Hank Williams, while “Black Jack Mama” matches the swagger of a young Bob Dylan. Most striking are his studies of emotional desolation, including “Maryetta’s Song,” a haunting portrait of a woman who “lives for the pain tomorrow will bring.” From the very start, Van Zandt portrayed tormented humanity with rare sensitivity.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn’t fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation so we can keep on doing the type of journalism that 2018 demands.

  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.