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