As a general rule, I prefer Dan Zanes' uptempo rockers to his slower, more acoustic tunes. He and his band have a ragged quality that encourages dancing and general tomfoolery. (I am in full support of general tomfoolery.) The acoustic stuff, more folky in nature, isn't bad, but it's not my first pick for what of Zanes to share with others.
If there's an exception to my general rule, it's his duets, particularly those with women. Zanes has a knack for picking female singers with whom to duet. I'll gladly listen to Dan Zanes and Barbara Brousal sing just about anything, including the phone book (in Spanish, of course). "Waltzing Matilda," with Deborah Harry or "Loch Lomond," with Natalie Merchant (off the new album, Catch That Train!) -- both are great versions of classic songs. Zanes pairs his ragged voice with the angelic voices of his partners, and the result is wonderful.
But there's no better duet in his discography than "Wild Mountain Thyme," with folk-rocker Dar Williams, on the Night Time! album. It's a wistful love song, itself a relative rarity in the Zanes discography. (He typically shies away from romantic love songs in his children's music albums.) Zanes and Williams take their turns on the verses, but sound best together, with Williams' clear voice matching perfectly with Zanes' voice. Zanes notes in the liner notes that the opening lines to the chorus, "And we'll all go together," are what he loves about the song, and it's what I love, too. It begs for singing along.
Find a link to the song here.
And, I know it's miles away from this song lyrically and musically, but I can't hear the chorus without hearing Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon," with its chorus "And we'll all go down together." To hear it, go here to Billy Joel's discography, click on "The Nylon Curtain" album cover and go from there.