Gram Parsons GP on 180g LP
To place Gram Parsons properly in the pantheon of musical pioneers would be an impossible task. This willowy, dreamy country boy is right up there with Elvis, The Beatles and Bob Dylan when it comes to his influence on the state of popular music. After stints in the Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, Parsons made his solo debut in 1973 with the game changing album GP.
Akin to so many profoundly influential works of art, GP had auspicious beginnings. Parsons spent 1971 palling around with Rolling Stone Keith Richards, who, originally, was tabbed to produce. But logistical circumstances ultimately led to putting Rik Grech behind the boards. He performed on and presided over sessions that witnessed Parsons redefining music via aching ballads, gospel-styled weepers, honky-tonk barn-burners, and rollicking shuffles.
Whether it’s James Burton’s dobro or guitar playing, drummer Ron Tutt keeping the beat, or Glen Hardin’s tuckpointed piano riffs, the combination of instruments and deliveries translate into Southern-flavored, California-stirred, desert-ripened magic. And those nuanced vocals. Restrained, plaintive, melodic, and almost effortless, Parsons and Emmylou Harris' angelic harmonies sound like country music spirituals, hearts breaking and souls being torn into two as a result of unrequited love and unyielding passion.
GP never cracked the Billboard album charts or yielded a hit single. But time has testified on behalf of its magnificence and importance. Parsons is now seen as the golden god of country rock, and for good reason. As for his goals? He once said that he wanted to unite the people in overalls (country) with those adorned in velvet (rock). Consider the mission accomplished. GP is a temple that contemporary leaders such as Wilco, the Decemberists, the Jayhawks, and myriad others worship.
"He loved country music, but he really didn't like the country music business and didn't think it should be angled just at Nashville. The music's bigger than that. It should touch everybody." - Keith Richards
Gram Parsons GP Track Listing:
1. Still Feeling Blue
2. We'll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning
3. A Song for You
4. Streets Of Baltimore
6. That's All It Took
7. The New Soft Shoe
8. Kiss The Children
9. Cry One More Time
10. How Much I've Lied
11. Big Mouth Blues