Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gram Parsons - GP

Gram Parsons – GP
Reprise, 1973
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $5
It’s hard to find a more beautiful pair of duetters than Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. The tenderness they achieve on “A Song For You” is something outrageously special. You can tell Parsons—the son of wealth and privilege—is trying VERY hard to be a good old boy, and actually succeeding. Granted, the backing band he threw together is doing most of the heavy lifting, what with all those mournful fiddles and all, but it’s the way Parsons sells his compositions that is so impressive. He’s not a great singer in the classical sense, but it doesn’t matter because he gets across what he needs to get across. You feel like you’re slipping on his drug-addled shoes. The covers he does feel like the cement he mixed himself to bring in that legitimacy I was talking about, but his originals are what make this album special. The aforementioned “A Song for You” is one of his best , but then you’ve got tunes like “Kiss the Children” and “How Much I’ve Lied” which feel like they’re trying to sneak into the classic country & western songbook. And then there’s the obnoxious shit-kicker “Big Mouth Blues” that caps the record off, a song I relate to on a deep personal level because, like the protagonist, I can never keep my big goddamn mouth shut. Overall GP is a better record than the posthumously compiled Grievous Angel, even though the latter features most of Parsons’ best songs. This one feels more complete, though.

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