Called the greatest songwriter ever by Nashville rebel Steve Earle, A Far Cry from Dead is a collection of the sharp, insightful writing that led Earle to make such a bold claim about Townes Van Zandt. Included are the songs that became hits for others, such as "Pancho & Lefty" (which Willie Nelson made into a 1983 hit), as well as the material that made Van Zandt a revered songwriter and performer in his own right. More than anything, though, the album showcases just how honest and revealing Van Zandt's words are. The blunt reality of the aborted relationships in "Many a Fine Lady," for example, and the exalted freedom of "To Live's to Fly" do more to broadcast his mastery than the magazine covers he always seemed to be overlooked for.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Kurutz