Four months after ex Byrds and former Flying Burrito Brother Gram Parsons was found dead at the age of 26 of an overdose in a Joshua Tree,CA motel, his second solo album, Grievous Angel, was released to critical acclaim and little interest from record buyers. They were still buying albums from the singer who died the day after Parsons, Jim Croce.
What did they miss? Well. Grievous Angel sounds like a hodgepodge of tracks from various sessions. It's padded with cover versions. There are a couple of tunes Parsons quickly tossed together and, in "Ooh Las Vegas", there's a reject from the first solo album, GP.
And yet, here lies the best of the solo albums, full of soulful country rock, highlighted by the slower tunes: "Brass Buttons", "Hearts On Fire", "Love Hurts" and "In My Hour of Darkness".
With the exception of "Brass Buttons", written when Parson was still a Harvard undergrad, all the slower ones feature a then unknown Emmylou Harris on harmonizing vocals.
The mix is about 50-50 and when you pan the speakers on some of the tunes, like "Love Hurts", Grievous Angel sounds like it could be her album. Her enduring career is part of his legacy as are those he influenced, including everyone from The Eagles to Wilco. GP and Grievous Angel are now purchased together on the same CD.
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