ARTIST: Gram Parsons
YEAR RELEASED: 1973
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Two promos: She and The New Soft Shoe
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A Song for You
LINEUP: Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Barry Tashian, Ric Grech, Al Perkins, Byron Berline, Glen Hardin, James Burton, Ronnie Tutt, John Guerin.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Enigmatic and legendary figure (even then) in the fusion of country and rock records his first real solo album.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first thing you notice about GP is that for the most part, it’s a straight old-fashioned country album. Fiddles, steel guitar, banjos, and all that.
The second thing you notice is that even after his recent stint of being a party animal with the Rolling Stones (and even before then), he still has that voice. You also notice that Emmylou Harris, then an unknown, can sing right with him.
There are a lot of great songs here, especially the first side. We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning is a wonderful duet with Harris, and his cover of Streets of Baltimore is fantastic. The second side runs a bit flatter, with only an interesting J. Geils Band cover (Cry One More Time) and the final cut Big Mount Blues that stands out.
It was evident that Parsons had a lot left in the tank, and could have had a great solo country career (he may have been one of the outlaws since he was not loved by the Nashville establishment at all).
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Merle Haggard was supposed to produce the album, but backed out at the last minute.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but it’s been released with his second solo album and as a large set with outtakes and interviews.
GRADE: A-: This album definitely lives up to the Parsons hype – only a few cuts are adequate – the rest fantastic.