Graham Reid | | <1 min read
As Australian compiler Glenn A. Baker notes in the essay accompanying this excellent 21-track, 75-minute collection, country-rock visionary Parsons was never embraced by country audiences back in the late Sixties/early Seventies, and rock has remained largely indifferent to him since his death at 26 in September ’73.
He's a man more honoured than played.
Fortunately record companies have been right on the case and Reprise repackaged his GP and Grievous Angel albums on to a single, spectacular CD, there's a live albm with Parsons and guests from '73, and somewhere out there is Close Up the Honky Tonks, a collection of material from the Flying Burrito Brothers, the band he formed alter quitting the Byrds in mid-68.
Baker's collection goes for the broad sweep and opens with the heartbreakingly beautiful and jazzy Zah’s Blues from ’64 with the Shilohs, moves easily through his International Submarine Band/Byrds/Burritos years (and includes Wild Horses, the Stones track on which this one-time Keith Richards’ offsider gives them a run for their money) and into eight tracks from those final years when he teamed up with Emmylou Harris.
Baker has judiciously chosen material from a scattering of labels including the tiny Sierra from which he has lifted a rare live Drug Store Truck Driving Man.
Much-recommended compilation and from here it’s a short step into that Reprise two-fer.
Gram Parsons - an innovator incapable of mediocrity and one of those rare ones better served by record companies than his potential audience.