Townes Van Zandt – You Are Not Needed Now

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There’s no way to pick a favorite Townes Van Zandt song. If you’re a fan you’re bound not just to the song but the singer. This singer was more than the sum of his parts. He represented, indeed typified, a point of view on land, living, heart-ful-ness. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a song of his I didn’t like, much less admire like this one from his titanic 1972 recording ‘High, Low & In Between’:

Well, the birds were talking all at once
and the old man mowing down his lawn
he didn’t look like much too bad a guy
And I was thinkin’ Hang on, man, something’s wrong
your blues seems to be gone
heaven ain’t bad but you don’t get nothing done.

Lay down your head a while
you are not needed now
you are not needed now

Well, Allison laid an egg on me
and every time I turn around
it’s swimming through the air above my bed
I told Miss Higgs and she said fine
as long as you’re back in your room on time
I keep you clean and the girls will keep you fed

Lay down your head with mine
you are not needed now
and we got things to do

Between the blankets made of wool
the trains roll by every half an hour
and the body can get no restin’ done, it’s true
so I spend my time as best I can
thinkin’ big and making plans
and wondering where them trains are rolling to.

Lay down your head poor boy
and feel how the ground does move
and hear how them drivers sing

Well, goodbye friends, it’s time to close
everybody knows that’s the way it goes
where was it you lived in case I’m ever there
Well, three doors down and two behind
and it gets a little bit out of hand sometimes
don’t let it fool you into thinkin you don’t care.

Lay down your head and fly
and I’ll quietly pass you by
you won’t even see me go.

If I thought about it long enough
I just might make some kind of move
watchful lies are too hard on the soul.
With the smoke house just across the way
and this fog upon the light of day
I’d be hard put comin’ up with where to go.

Lay down your head poor boy
feel how the ground does move
hear how them drivers sing

What now, my darling one
go find a little fun
you are not needed now.


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