Townes Van Zandt: If I Needed You

Townes Van Zandt, Songwriter, 1944 - 1997
One of the most beloved songs of the legendary singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt is "If I Needed You." It's bone simple, but each line resonates with beautiful rightness. I think this is because the song came to Townes fully formed in a dream. He actually changed one line, he said, because it had something to do with a cow, oddly. This is one of the songs that seems like it must be traditional and anonymous. It's been covered a zillion times, but there's nothing like hearing Townes sing it, what with his distinctive style of hitting notes slightly off key and then gliding into tune. The song becomes a little less pretty that way, a problem that creeps in when Emmylou Harris covers his songs. (Don't get me wrong: I love Emmylou!)

Here's a high quality video from 1975.


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