PANCHO & LEFTY

Latest update on 26/11/2015

Artist: Townes Van Zandt
Author: Townes Van Zandt
Label: Tomato
Year: 1973

Covers:

1977:

Emmylou Harris

1977:

Hoyt Axton [as Poncho & Lefty]

1983:

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard [n°1 C&W, two outlaws mirroring the song's protagonists]

1989:

Bob Dylan

1993:

Sanne [the Flemish Emmylou as Charlepoen]

2002:

Delbert McClinton

2002:

Old & In The Gray [with Vassar Clements]

2009:

Steve Earle

On German live cd Rain On A Conga Drum ('91 - Silenz) Townes described the exact, hilarious circumstances that made him write this song. True story: "I was playing a three day show in Dallas, Texas and it so happened that on the same three days, Billy Graham and the Guru Maharaji were playing three days in Dallas. So, Billy Graham drew some 500.000 young christians from all over the world, and the Guru had about 250.000 young gurus from all over the world, and I had some seven winos from downtown. Anyway, because of all these young christians and young gurus, there were no hotel rooms anywhere 50 miles from Dallas. So my friend and I, Daniel, had to go 50 miles, we finally found this place, had no TV, no Coke machine, it had a swimming pool that had a big crack in it, you know. Anyway, nothing to do, not a very fun place. The second day we were there I sat down in a chair and said: well, I'm not gonna move from here until I write a song. And I sat there for about three hours, three and a half hours, Poncho & Lefty kinda drifted through the window and I wrote it down or else I'd still be sitting there. Anyway, here's the funny part of the story: Danny was a real, he wasn't even a hippie, he was a flower child. Whole different ball game. He had hair about to his elbows and I didn't look too straight myself. The only ID Daniel had was a Georgia driver's licence that had been expired for like 11 years, right? And the only ID that I had was a record album. Had my name and my picture right there on it, you know. I mean that's all right. So we're driving in to the last night of the good old Dallas job. Daniel's swirving like all over the highway. He never drank or anything like that but he was missing all these young christians that were all hitchhiking to go see Billy Graham. Like hundreds of them, thousands of them on the side of the road. Anyway, a big Dallas cop sees us swirving down the road in this broken down car. He pulls us over and he comes up to the window and he looks down and he sees Daniel, he looks over and he sees me and he says: I better see some ID's boys! He's kinda like mirror shades, flat hat. So Daniel hands him his expired Georgia driver's licence. The cop is looking, I mean scowling at it, you know. And Daniel, out of the blue, looks over to the policeman through the window and says: Excuse me sir, do you know Jesus? Waw. The cop looks at him, hands him back his driver's licence and says: You boys be careful! You bet."

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