Townes Van Zandt’s work, as far-reaching and as universal as it has become, begs for possessorship. It’s a love language understood by all who find it, yet one that remains acutely difficult to translate to those who haven’t. No one understood this better than his earliest fans. It’s perhaps why his first studio album, For the Sake of the Song, remains a point of controversy among anyone who discovered Townes Van Zandt outside of these LP’s grooves. Townes Van Zandt the songwriter was the antithesis of bells and whistles, and so an album with such accoutrements, as this album has in spades, rings false — however unfairly — among purists. Taken in context, though, For the Sake of the Song is a gorgeous study in polarity. Each anchor is an artist from wildly different backgrounds, united under the profound effect of songcraft.