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Gram Parsons (and The Flying Burrito Brothers)

Gram Parsons Grievous Angel

Gram Parsons Album Reviews

Gram Parsons, or as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die describes him, “Keith Richards’ citrus-heir drug-buddy”, is remembered as a country-rock pioneer. While this description is certainly apt, I was generally a little taken aback by his music at first – it’s certainly not country-rock as sanitised bands like the Eagles and the Counting Crows have produced, but is much more rooted in traditional country.

Parsons started his career in the International Submarine Band, then moved into the Byrds as a pianist, but quickly influenced the Byrds into a country direction. He and Chris Hillman then left The Byrds after Sweetheart of the Rodeo and formed The Flying Burrito Brothers – it’s doing Hillman a disservice to list the  Flying Burrito Brothers on this page, even though it makes thematic sense, because the Burritos were very much a Parsons and Hillman collaboration.

After the Burritos petered out, Parsons recruited Elvis Presley’s backing band, found Emmylou Harris in a folk club and recorded a couple of solo albums, before overdosing at Joshua Tree Memorial. His career is short, and often erratic – he sounds often disinterested during a lot of Burrito Deluxe – but he wrote some great songs, and also launched the career of Emmylou Harris, who very much continued his legacy of a classy country and rock crossover.

Ten Favourite Gram Parsons Songs

$1000 Wedding
Love Hurts (cover)
Hot Burrito #2
Sin City
Return of the Grievous Angel
Hickory Wind
In My Time of Darkness
Brass Buttons

7 thoughts on “Gram Parsons (and The Flying Burrito Brothers) Leave a comment

    • I found a two-fer of GP and Grievous Angel in a second hand CD store. I was pretty taken aback how straight country it was at first – I guess I was expecting something a bit more rock. But I grew to love it, especially Gram’s originals. I do feel like his stock’s declined a little lately – haven’t seen him discussed much lately.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aphoristical I have no idea where he sits in popularity but I have a couple tributes by younger bands that are influenced by him and the Burritos. I don’t know if this is strange to you but I never got into the Eagles and the like. I went to the source after Gram. There were other similar artists i found around the same time and later. I was listening to Uncle Tupelo yesterday.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I actually went to the Eagles first – hardly surprising when they’re all over the radio. When I was a teenager I liked a lot of mainstream stuff – this was before the internet, and all I could go on was the radio. I have a pretty complicated love-hate relationship – I like a lot of their supporting pieces – Felder, Walsh, Leadon, Meisner – and I like Henley’s voice. But they often feel a bit too calculated and commercial, and I’m about 50/50 on their hits – some are pretty good (New Kid in Town) and some are awful (Heartache Tonight).

          Liked by 1 person

        • I think your bang on with your take. I was just putting time into other music. I was always wondering about the music they didn’t play on the radio. I noticed you didn’t do a take on them. Did you use them as portal to other similar music?

          Liked by 1 person

        • I have covered the Eagles a little on my 1970s’ page – I might give them a whole page one day. On one hand I’m pretty familiar with their 1970s’ albums, but on the other I don’t know that they deserve more attention. I don’t think I even used them as a portal – I just didn’t know about stuff like Gram Parsons until I got the internet.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I liked what you had to say on ME’s page on the “State of Rock”. You summed it up pretty well on the last paragraph of your second comment.

          Yeah the internet has blown it wide open. Easier to find obscure off the beatin track music but overwhelming at the same time. You have a pretty wide range of tastes. That’s a good thing. I see lots of good stuff to comment on, upcoming on your page.

          Liked by 1 person

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The Gilded Palace of Sin (1969), 8.5/10 The Flying Burrito Brothers were formed by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman after … Continue Reading The Gilded Palace of Sin – The Flying Burrito Brothers

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Gram Parsons Grievous Angel

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Grievous Angel (1974), 9/10 Gram Parsons’ second album was compiled and released posthumously after his heroin overdose at the Joshua … Continue Reading Grievous Angel – Gram Parsons

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