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Saturday, 5 November 2022

Townes Covered - Pancho and Lefty


A low scoring round last week when Tecumseh Valley was the song under the spotlight with Nanci Griffith as Townes' opponent.

Rol and I both plumped for Townes as did George and his goat. George was keen to throw Steve Earle into the equation again. Don't worry Mr Earle will come along in due course.

While both acknowledging it was close both Alison and C opted for Nanci as did Ernie who had confidently predicted a whitewash for Townes. Although he is at pains to say he would have gone for Townes had it been the version from Our Mother the Mountain as opposed to the live one that I put up.

Therefore we appear to have a draw on our hands meaning that the score remains 1- 0 to Townes

This week it is probably Townes' most famous song. Panco and Lefty which first appeared on his 1972 album The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. When you google it the first version that pops up is the one by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. I'm not having that! The definitive version is of course by Emmylou Harris from her Luxury Liner album in 1977.It has also  been covered by Delbert McClinton and inevitably by Steve Earle.

I shouldn't imagine that there will be many occasions in this series that my vote will not go to Townes but on this instance this gray Federale will be voting for Emmylou.

Others, of course, may choose to differ


  1. I will go for Emmylou's version, it is tremendous. I will confer with Parsley later after he's had his breakfast (leaves, a roll and acorns)

  2. That could be the best song I hear today

  3. I like female country voices so I really enjoyed Emmylou's version. However, the song itself and its lyrics suits being performed by a man better I think, as a story song about two guys. That sympatico kind of thing. Townes this week for me.

  4. I love Emmylou, and she did a great version of Townes' If I Needed You with Don Williams. But on this song, I have to vote for Townes. I do like Willie and Merle's version, though.

  5. It's Townes for me, I prefer the instrumentation on it, and I'm not so sure about Emmylou's voice on this version, sorry!

  6. I am ashamed to say that I have never heard Emmylou Harris's version until now. It is a stunning vocal. I love the slick arrangement too. But I'm afraid that low-down growling version by Townes which you have posted (that version it aint from The Late Great Townes Van Zandt lp! Where is it from?) knocks Emmylou's wondrous attempt into a cocked hat. That guy Townes singing it can give it all the world weary inflections required which a host of Emmylou's couldn't provide in a month of Sundays. Townes version for me. By the way, I picked up a pretty great copy of Townes' "Kitchen" lp on the Strawberry label in a Lanark Charity shop a few months back. I cannot imagine how that particular copy of the record wound up there in among the Glen Daly's and Mantovanis! I gave them a pound.

    1. Not sure where that version is from! Excellent Lanark find.

    2. The first 1978 repress on the US 'Tomato' Label! "Strawberry" jeez I am getting old. Doh! I am genuinely mystified as to what kind of route this beautiful lp took to manage to find its way to C H &S on Lanark High Street. Loving the Townes covers - thanks.

    3. I bought two or three of the Tomato ones from Echo on Byres Road