The Late Great Townes Van Zandt was Townes Van Zandt’s sixth release—hitting the shelves in 1972. It built on the previous year’s High, Low And In Between, adding texture in both song and production. The album is probably best known for “Pancho & Lefty”—the song Emmylou Harris covered for 1977’s Luxury Liner and which Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings would take to the top of the charts in 1983. Full of originals, as well as covers like Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonkin’,” the album was Van Zandt’s perfect storm. With every element in place, it’s arguable that Townes would ever hit this creative height again.
The Late Great Townes Van Zandt might be his masterwork. And, it is a release that should be in every collection of great American music.