Buckskin Stallion Blues

Album: At My Window (1987)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is one of what Townes Van Zandt called his "poem songs," telling an oblique tale of regret and lost love. He was never a very popular artist, but had many admirers in the songwriting community, including Neil Young and Bob Dylan. He certainly knew his way around a lyric:

    If three and four was seven only
    where would that leave one and two?
    If love can be and still be lonely
    where does that leave me and you?


    Van Zandt died at 52 on New Year's Day, 1997 after years of drug and alcohol addiction.
  • A buckskin stallion is a horse of a particular color. Van Zandt sings here about taming one so he can ride away. In the last verse, he rhymes it with "galleon," which is a sailing ship used in the 16th and 17th Centuries.
  • Mudhoney and Jimmie Dale Gilmore teamed up to cover this song for a 1994 EP they recorded together.
  • The Texas singer Amy Annelle recorded this for the 2010 tribute album More Townes Van Zandt By The Great Unknown. Her version plays in the last scene of the 2017 film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. Said Annelle: "I am a great admirer of Townes Van Zandt and his music. I chose to sing that song because I feel at home in it, and I could sing it while I was in pain myself and it helped me sing around the pain. Townes' genius was in simply but profoundly inhabiting worlds of tenderness, love, loss, desperation, escape and loneliness, and how they can exist simultaneously, and all those things are present in this one song. That it could be used in such a moving way at the end of the film, that somehow Townes' song, my rendering of it, and Martin McDonagh's storyline all came together in this way, it's just such a long shot that it happened, but I'm really happy that it did."

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