Gram Parsons


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1963-650

- Joe Kelly -- bass

- Gram Parsons (aka Cecil Ingram Connor) (RIP 1974) --  vocals,

  guitar
- Paul Surratt -- banjo 

- George Wingley -- guitar 

  line up 2 (1974)

- Emory Gordy -- bass 
- Glen Hardin -- keyboards
- Emmylou Harris -- vocals, guitar

- Bernie Leadon -- guitar 

- Gram Parsons (aka Cecil Ingram Connor) (RIP 1974) --  vocals,

   guitar

- Herb Pederson -- acoustic guitar
- N.D. Smart -- rhythm guitar

- Ronnie Tutt -- drums, percussion


 

The Byrds

- The Eagles (Bernie Leadon)

- The Flying Burrito Brothers

- The International Submarine Band

 

 

 


 

Genre: country-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  GP

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MS-2123

Year: 1973

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/vg+

Comments: minor ring wear; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

catalog ID: 1516

Price: $25.00

 

Since his untimely death in 1974, singer/songwriter Gram Parsons' reputation has continued to grow, reaching the point where many people now credit him as one of the founders of modern country-rock. Ironically, Parsons remains best known for his work with The International Submarine Band, The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. In contrast, Parsons' abbreviated solo career largely fails to live up to his posthumous legend.

Signed by Reprise, Parsons made his solo debut with 1973's "GP". Co-produced with Ric Grech (of Blind Faith and Family fame), the collection highlighted Parson's sweet voice while underscoring his country roots. Musically the set proved enjoyable, if somewhat erratic. Originals such as 'How Much I Lied', 'She' and 'The New Soft Shoe' were first-rate, while other tracks ('Streets of Baltimore' and 'A Song for You') succumbed to pedestrian ideas and bland country arrangements. Other highlights included Emmylou Harris' sterling backup work ('We'll Sweep Out the Ashes In the Morning' and 'That's All It Took' and excellent support from members of Elvis Presley's old band. (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve.) 


"GP" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Still Feeling Blue (Gram Parsons) - 2:38
2.) We'll Sweep Out the Ashes In the Morning Allsup) - 3:13
3.) A Song for You (Gram Parsons) - 4:57
4.) Streets of Baltimore (Glaser Howard) - 2:50
5.) She (Gram Parsons - Ethridge) - 4:55

(side 2)

1.) That's All It Took (Edwards - Grier - Jones) - 2:57
2.) The New Soft Shoe (Gram Parsons) - 3:52
3.) Kiss the Children (Gram Parsons - Rik Grech) - 2:50
4.) Cry One More Time (Wolf - Justman) - 3:55
5.) How Much I've Lied (Gram Parsons - Rifkin) - 2:27
6.) Big Mouth Blues (Gram Parsons) - 3:52

Unfortunately, at the end of a brief tour in support of the album Parsons suffered a sudden and fatal heart attack. Only 26, years of alcohol and drug abuse (including a nasty heroin problem) apparently caught up with him. 

 

In one of rock's odder stories, following Parsons death, manager Phil Kaufman and longtime friend Michael Martin stole his body; transported it to Cap Rock national monument; burned it; and scattered the ashes over the area. Prosecuted, the two claimed they were following Parsons wishes, were fined $750 and released.

 

 

 

 


Genre: country-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Grievous Angel

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MS-2171

Year: 1974

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/vg+

Comments: minor ring wear; gatefold sleeve

Available: SOLD

catalog ID: SOLD 4723

Price: SOLD $25.00

 

Released a few weeks after Gram Parson's 1973 fatal heart attack (itself brought on by a nasty drug habit), among critics 1974's "Grievous Angel" seems to have benefited from what you might call the sympathy factor.  To some extent that's understandable since nobody wants to criticize a dead artist ...  That's not to imply the album isn't good, rather it isn't as good as the debut.  Self-produced, the album actually should have been credited as a collaboration - given her achingly pretty performances on material such as the title track, 'Hearts On Fire' and 'Love Hurts' Emmylou Harris clearly deserved equal billing.  Interestingly, a lot of folks are probably put off by the album thinking that it's a country set.  While Parsons was clearly heavily influenced by the genre (he called it 'Cosmic American Music'), the albums really better described as country-rock.  Anyone into early Eagles will be comfortable with this album - to say nothing of the fact there would not have been early Eagles without Parsons' groundbreaking work.  I'm not a big country fan, but this album is regularly played on my turntable. Personal favorites - Parson's rocking cover of Tom T. Hall's 'I Can't Dance' (anyone who didn't think Parsons could rock needs to hear it) and the beautiful 'Brass Buttons'.  By the way, in spite of the album credits, 'Medley Live from Northern Quebec' is almost certainly not an in-concert performance.   Ironically even though today it's widely viewed as a classic album, upon its release the set did little commercially peaking at # 185 on the album charts.

"Grievous Angel" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Return of the Grievous Angel   (Thomas Brown - Gram Parsons) - 4:19

2.) Hearts On Fire   (Walter Egan - Tom Guidera) - 3:50

3.) I Can't Dance   (Tom T. Hall) - 2:20

4.) Brass Buttons   (Gram Parsons) - 3:27

5.) $1000 Wedding   (Gram Parsons) - 5:00

(side 2)

1.) Medley Live from Northern Quebec

a.) Cash On the Barrelhead   (Louvin - Louvin) - 2:12

b.) Hickory Wind   (Buchanan - Gram Parsons) - 4:15

2.) Love Hurts   (Boudleaux Bryant) - 3:40

3.) Ooh Las Vegas   (Ric Grech - Gram Parsons) - 3:29

4.) In My Hour of Darkness   (Emmylou Harris - Gram Parsons) - 3:42

 

 

 


Genre: country-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Sleepless Nights

Company: A&M

Catalog: SP-4578

Year: 1976

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

catalog ID: 1513

Price: $15.00

 

Essentially a posthumous 'best of' set, "Sleepless NIghts" pulled together nine previously recorded and released Flying Burrito Brothers tracks; tacking on three previously unreleased "Greivous Angel" era Gram Pasons solo sides.  Elsewhere, Emmylou Harris' liner notes were also worth reading.  Focusing on the band's country-influences, The Burrito sides didn't do much for me.

 

"Sleepless Nights" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Brand New Heartache   (B. Bryant - F. Bryant) - 2:26

2.) Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down   (Merle Haggard) - 2:56

3.) Sing Me Back Home   (Merle Haggard) - 3:50

4.) Your Angle Steps Out of Heaven   (Ripley) - 3:08

5.) Crazy Arms   (Seals - Mooney) - 2:45
6.) Sleepless Nights   (B. Bryant - F. Bryant) - 3:21

 

(side 2)

1.) Close Up the Honky Tonks   (Simpson) - 2:20

2.) Together Again   (Buck Owens) - 3:10

3.) Honky Tonk Women   (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards) - 4:15

4.) Green, Green Grass of Home   (Putnam - Woolsey) - 4:00

5.) Dim Lights   (Adler) - 2:55

6.) The Angels Rejoiced Last Night   (C. Louvin - I. Louvin) - 2:23

 


Genre: folk

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Gram Parsons The Early Years 1963-1965

Company: Sierra/Briar

Catalog: SRS-8702

Year: 1979

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/vg+

Comments: includes the multi-page booklet

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4569

Price: SOLD $20.00

Cost: $66.00

 

The late Gram Parsons is one of those acts that seems to generate a much bigger following in death than he ever saw while alive.  That fan base continues to grow and is exceptionally dedicated to Parson's legacy ...

 

As a 17 year old, Parsons found himself in Greenville, South Carolina where he hooked up with The Shilos (banjo player Paul Surratt, bassist Joe Kelly and guitarist George Wingley).  With an extensive folk music repertoire, the quartet became rather popular on the local party, dance and coffeehouse scene.  Those local successes culminated in a 1965 recording session at The Bob Jones University radio station.  Those sessions subsequently lay on tape for some 14 years before being released as 1979's "Gram Parsons The Early Years 1963-1965". 

 

Before going on, let me warn everyone expecting to hear something along Parson's patented country-rock moves ...  this set may disappoint you. Here's what the liner notes say: "This album of early tapes by Gram Parsons with the group, The Shilos, has been issued by Sierra/Briar Records partly as an historical record illustrating the development of Parsons as a gifted performer and songwriter; and partly as a means of demonstrating our respect for and thanks to an artist who has given - and, through his later recordings, continues to give - joy to countless fans around the world. May his legend never stop growing. Recorded live with two microphones and Surrat handing production chores, this is Kingston Trio/Peter, Paul and Mary-styled acoustic folk.  There's nothing really wrong with it, but it hasn't aged particularly well.  There are actually two Parson's originals on the album - 'Zah's Blues' and 'Surfinanny'.  They also happen to be the two most interesting songs.

 

"Gram Parsons The Early Years 1963-1965" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) May Be Right   (Dick Weissman) - 2:03

2.) Big Country   (Jay Irwin) - 2:53

3.) Zah's Blues   (Gram Parsons) - 4:02

4.) Mary Don't You Weep   (Dennis Hupp) - 2:21

5.) Bells of Rhymney   (I.D. Ris Davis, Pete Seeger) - 5:38

 

(side 2)
1.) Goin' Away, Don't You Wanta Go   (Pat Sullivan) - 3:43

2.) They Still Go Down   (Dick Weissman) - 2:02

3.) On My Journey Home   (traditional) - 2:07

4.) Surfinanny   (Gram Parsons) - 3:09

5.) Oh Didn't They Crucify My Lord   (traditional) - 2:51

 

 

 

 


Genre: country rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Gram Parsons

Company: Shilo

Catalog: SLP 4088

Year: 1979

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; minor ring wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1512

Price: $25.00

 

Billed as a Gram Parson's solo effort, 1979's cleverly titled "Gram Parsons" was actually nothing more than a repackaging of his 1967 album with the International Submarine Band.  New cover and a couple boring comments from Sneaky Pete ...  Anyhow, I've gone ahead and copied the review from that album here.

 

An audition for eccentric Lee Hazlewood's newly formed LHI label won the band a contract and within a matter of weeks they were in the studio with producer Suzi Jane Hokom. If nothing else, 1967's "Safe At Home" deserved immediate notice as one of the first true country-rock outings. Offering up a mixture of covers and original material (penned by Parsons), tracks such as "I Must Be Somebody Else You've Known", "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Still Miss Someone" left no doubts as to the the band's country roots and interests. That shouldn't scare anyone off, since the combination of Parsons' melancholy voice and a rhythm section with one foot firmly in the rock camp (in the middle of recording sessions bassist Etheridge was replaced by Bob Buchanan), made for a thoroughly entertaining effort. Parsons-penned originals such as "Blue Eyes" (first song we're aware of to make reference to getting stoned) and "Luxury Liner" were genre standards. While the album generated a buzz among critics and with musicians themselves, it was simply too odd for mainstream radio - too rock for country audiences and too country for rock audiences. Sales proved non-existent.

"Graham Parsons" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Blue Eyes   (Gram Parsons) - 2:45
2.) I Must Be Somebody Else You've Known   (Merle Haggard) - 2:15
3.) A Satisfied Mind   (J.R. Hayes - J. Rhodes) - 2:30
4.) Folsom Prison Blues/That's All Right   (John R. Cash / Arthur Crudup) - 4:23
5.) Miller's Cave   (J. Clement) - 2:45


(side 2)

1.) I Still Miss Someone   (John R. Cash) - 2:45
2.) Luxury Liner   (Gram Parsons) - 2:43
3.) Strong Boy   (Gram Parsons) - 2:01
4.) Do You Know How It Feels To Be So Lonesome?   (Gram Parsons - Barry Goldberg) - 3:33

 

 

 

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