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Home Blogs The Arts All Roads Lead to Townes - FRATERNITY BLUES

All Roads Lead to Townes - FRATERNITY BLUES

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According to the late Townes Van Zandt, there are only two kinds of music – the blues and zippidy doo dah. While most of his songs centered around pain and struggles, every now and then, he let loose with something incredibly corny. FRATERNITY BLUES is one of those silly, stupid ditties. It was released on the 1973 record LIVE AT THE OLD QUARTER.

Earlier in the night, Townes talks about how hot it is in the room. Evidently, the air conditioning system was broken, but if you listen to the crowd's reaction, it didn't seem to matter. Townes charmed 'em all.


I decided to improve my social station
I joined a fraternity organization
Tucked in my shirt
Signed on the line
Right away they said about to improve my mind
The car I drove
The books I read
The food I ate
The booze I drank
The girls I took out
My breath

Said kid, we don’t much like the way you walk
And you gonna have to change the way you talk
They said your dress is kind of slouchy
And your attitude is mighty grouchy
Said you got to learn to bubble
You got to bubble with enthusiasm I started bubble
Most important thing you can’t forget
Is learning the entire Greek alphabet
I never did really understand
That that’s gonna make me anymore a man
But I learned it
I can whip through that son-of-a-Beta backwards in five seconds

Then they hit me with some pretty bad news
Concerning the payment of monthly dues
I never did know where that money went
I never was sure it was well spent
But I paid it
I’m no trouble causer and 'sides I figured that’s life

If you want good friends it gonna cost you

Well, finally it got to be party time
I got a great big old jug of wine
I went back to the house in about an hour
everybody's drinking whiskey sours
Brandy Alexanders
Frozen dacquiries
Reciting the Greek alphabet to one another

I could see I was gonna have to do my very best
To get myself out of that fraternity mess
I stood right there outside the door
And I chugged that wine like never before
Walked inside and bubbled
All over a couple of their dates

So now everything’s back to normal again
But there is still lots of room for improvement my friend
’cause that fraternity stuff is too much for me
Next time I’m gonna join a sorority

Really get them something to bubble about


Click here to listen to the LIVE AT THE OLD QUARTER cut ... I dare you not to smile.



This is the sixth in a series of blogs inspired by Darrell Scott, the talented singer/songwriter and Nashville musician who wisely said once during an interview several years ago, "All roads lead to Townes." Thank you, Darrell, for the lovely idea.



Comments (2)Add Comment
It's so worth it
written by a guest , November 28, 2012
Wow. That's a long way for a show, but I think you will be glad you made the effort. It's a great evening of nothing but Townes fans pouring their hearts out. I might get there myself this year. Safe travels.
written by a guest , November 28, 2012
Hi Terry,
thanks very much for your recent articles on Townes. I'm lucky enough to be heading to The Old Quarter this January 1st. A 4000 mile trip from Dublin, hopefully worth it. Keep up the good work.

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