20 Years with Townes Van Zandt

by Harold F. Eggers, Jr.

New TVZ Album

Somebody Had To Write It

Townes Van Zandt "Somebody Had To Write It" on Chicken Ranch Records is a reimagined, 180 gram colored vinyl LP, collector's limited edition album available for the first time on vinyl in the USA. These recordings and Townes spoken words are as close to the bone of Townes as you can get.

These are timeless, one of a kind recordings including ten of Townes best songs and bonus digital downloads of extensive Townes spoken words culled from six hours of in depth interviews on his life and music.

Here is Townes Van Zandt in his purest musical form: alone on guitar singing his most beloved songs live and in the studio. It's seven intense Townes live recordings and three studio sessions at their best. It's the songs stripped bare by the guy who'd bared his soul all along. Herein lies a new perspective on some of Townes greatest songs.

—Rush Evans KOOP radio DJ, Austin, Texas, Music writer for Goldmine Magazine

"Austin's natural springs produce life-giving song founts: Willie Nelson, Roky Erickson, Daniel Johnston, Britt Daniel. Even so, consider it no mere tissue-paper hyperbole to muse that perhaps Townes Van Zandt (1944-1997) remains the greatest. Lean, razor-sharp, full of deadeye wisdom and gorgeous poetry - Lightin' Hopkins' folk-blues pulsing through like crimson - describes both the songs and their native Texan composer. He didn't need a band to underline them either. All either required was an acoustic guitar and that weathered, lived-in-voice. A pair of Nineties CD post-motems (Documentary and Last Rights) finally vinylized, the newly waxed Somebody Had To Write It collates prime TVZ solo before either a small audience or alone at Terra Nova Mastering. Orange vinyl scans like a "Best Of": "Waitin ' Around To Die", "Tecumseh Valley", and everyone's favorite , "Pancho & Lefty". It's like a knife to the heart you welcome, because the pain still feels so exquisite. Digital bonus: Interview excerpts with friend Larry Monroe talking songwriting philosophy. It approximates an intimate audio autobiography, and you're the audience.

— Tim Stegall, Austin Chronicle

This new album, compiled from two separate Townes Van Zandt's albums: Townes Van Zandt "Documentary" - Normal Records - European version and Townes Van Zandt "Last Rights" - Gregor Records - USA version, are recordings that were originally released in 1997. These recordings have not been on the market for over fifteen years. A limited edition collector album, this 180 gram color vinyl LP includes unique artwork & packaging, never seen before Townes photographs and extensive bonus studio interviews culled from six hours with Townes conducted by renowned Austin Disc Jockey (DJ) Larry Monroe.

Allmusic.com noted "Van Zandt personally selected and approved each track, giving this disc an authenticity that comes close to rendering it essential listening". Harold Eggers, Townes road manager and producer over a span of twenty years said "These recordings are as close to the bone of Townes as you can get". Especially since Townes personally chose all the tracks to go on the album. These recordings and spoken words were very important to Townes so the world could hear his music and life story as he lived it, as told from the man himself". This album is timeless and one of a kind because of the intensity in each song and Townes spoken words. These are heart felt recordings of Townes singing his best songs, and in his own words sharing his music and life story. Included are ten of Townes greatest songs taken from seven live recordings compiled over a span of many years of Townes touring internationally, plus three tracks recorded in studios, one of which is a duet "I'll Be Here In The Morning" with Townes and Barb Donovan. Barb was one of Townes favorite singer/songwriters.

The album is dedicated:

IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM KEVIN EGGERS (1943 - 2020) Kevin Eggers was a music pioneer and an innovator in film, literature. theater, and the arts. Townes and Kevin were old friends and business partners in their songwriting publishing company "Columbine Music", which had the biggest Townes' songs in it from "Pancho & Lefty" to "If I Needed You" and so many more great songs. Kevin had many of Townes recordings on two of his record labels; "Poppy" and "Tomato". Townes was the first artist to be on Kevin's 1968 initial record label "Poppy Records". Harold Eggers remembers; My brother Kevin hired me to be Townes road manager in 1977 when Townes was recording his "Flying Shoes" album for Tomato Records. That began my music journey with Townes which lasted over two decades.

"Kevin Eggers believed in Townes and did more for him than anyone in the music industry."

—Guy Clark

The album is also dedicated;


Renowned award-winning disc jockey Larry Monroe was truly the heart and soul of Austin, Texas, the "Live Music Capital of the World.” For twenty nine years his free-style innovation consumed the air waves at KUT, the NPR station at the University of Texas. Larry's three separate and unique radio programs at KUT captivated the Austin, Texas music community as well as listeners around the world. Larry cast an international music shadow as few have ever done.


"This album is a collection of high quality recordings of some of Townes best songs. His song writing reflects a reality that we have all experienced, and he invites us to see and feel his view with his words and music. He gives words to these places from the edge. The recordings capture his emotions as felt in each song. The songs are doorways for me that I am glad to enter".

— Kathleen Hudson, Ph.D, founder of Texas Heritage Music Foundation (1987-2017), English professor at Schreiner University, author of 3 books on Texas music.

"Home grown imprint Chicken Ranch Records worked with TVZ archivist Harold Eggers Jr. for a 12 song live cull, an intimate in-ear audience with the Lone Star storytelling martyr levitating through his holy song book moments including rippling "Tecumseh Valley" and lucid "Cowboy Junkies Lament", not to mention the title track and an almost late-life Billie Holiday time stopper in "Brand New Companion"

— Raoul Hernandez, Austin Chronicle

This album came about from a chance meeting with Troy Campbell (artist, music & film innovator), arranged by mutual old friends who were here for their annual Austin music visits. Patrick Hurley (definitive collector and archivist of Townes music) and Des Gallagher were visiting from Ireland, During the meeting, this potential Townes album was mentioned to Troy who then introduced Harold Eggers Jr. to his friend Michael Dickinson, owner of Chicken Ranch Records. From there, a deal was set in motion, the result of which is this album Townes Van Zandt "Somebody Had To Write It" .

“The corporal form of Townes Van Zandt left the Earth more than two decades ago, yet so many people still want to hear Townes Van Zandt songs and Townes Van Zandt singing them. A Townes Van Zandt song exudes a joyful melancholy, music by turns wistful and defiant, romantic and rakish, humorous and haunting. It’s the music all of us really want to hear — need to hear — when we arrive at the inevitable point in life where we finally accept that our true destiny can only be explained and guided by a deft and caring storyteller like Townes Van Zandt.”

— L.E. McCullough