It takes guts to cover Townes Van Zandt. A musician will fall short of the original can take comfort that though they get leads of cred for choosing the legendary songwriter.
“Waitin’ ‘Round To Die” is one of Van Zandt’s darkest songs in a discography brimming with melancholy. A nameless drifter recalls abusive from his father, abandonment of his mother, drug and alcohol abuse, fast women and then a stretch in prison. All leading to a husk of man waiting for his new companion, codeine, to take his wretched life.
This is not a tailgate party ditty.
Townes’ first wife, Fran Petters, stated in the Townes documentary, “Be Here to Love Me, that “Waiting ‘Round To Die” was the first song Van Zandt composed during their marriage in Houston, Texas. My favorite version of the song was done Van Zandt on the extraordinary documentary of 1970’s roots music, :Heartworn Highways.” Townes lays the song his Austin, Texas home picking his guitar picking in his signature style as his neighbor and friend Seymore Washington sits nearby. At one point during the performance 75 year old Washington begins to weep.
This is the power of music.
Where’s Townes original was spare and spacious, Whitey Morgan fills the space with a Ennio Morricone-style arrangement swirling around his his Southern-soul baritone.
Whitey Morgan’s “Waitin’ ‘Round To Die” from forthcoming ‘Sonic Ranch’ – May 19th