Tomorrow, Omnivore Records puts out Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971-1972 , a double-CD set of never-before-heard outtakes, alternate versions and solo demos from Townes Van Zandt’s classic albums High, Low and In Between and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt .
The legal wranglings and business machinations of the music business being what they are, the tracks had been unheard–and literally sitting on a shelf —since the time of their recording. Van Zandt died in 1997, but Omnivore’s Cheryl Pawleski had been trying to release this music even before then.
“These being session recordings, when we were cracking open the tape on the box, the last time they were handled was when the tape was put on,” Pawleski told Preston Jones of the Star-Telegram.
The two discs feature versions of such Van Zandt classics as “Pancho and Lefty,” “To Live Is To Fly,” “Lungs,” and “Mr Mudd and Mr Gold.” Disc one is alternate versions of tracks from the two albums, while disc two consists of solo demos. Below, an exclusive stream of “Heavenly Houseboat Blues.”
For more on the man Texas Monthly ’s Michael Hall calls “the most influential Texas songwriter of his time,” read Hall’s 1998 story , “The Late Great Townes Van Zandt.”