Monthly Archives: May 2008

Best Gram Parsons tunes (That I have heard)

country person

“Sin City” from the first Flying Burrito Brothers record is quite humorous and tasty, with a dark element of fun and a chorus that repeats the bitter downcast mood. There’s an appropriate steel guitar lead in the middle of the cut which adds to the overall mood. I am wondering if this tune is in reference to Los Angeles or Las Vegas, or maybe both? Regardless, it’s hard to tell if this song is sincere or almost a parody…it is magically somewhere in the middle perhaps and all the better and bizarre for it.

Of course, with Country & Western music being so vocal-driven, it certainly helps that Parsons had a peculiar sincerity in his voice and a genuinely recognizable voice at that, which is another calling card of the Country genre. Certainly, regardless of the level of truthfulness in the delivery, Gram and his various collaborators new their stuff…and it is far closer to the real deal compared to any supposed “Country” music you might catch on the radio today. But then again, what Gram did was a hybrid as well, Country Rock. And while deplorable groups like The Eagles may have taken the genre to the top of the charts, they were by no means the best at it, and certainly not the first to do it (Even former Monkee Mike Nesmith beat them to that punch, and throw in Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” as well, goddamn it).

How do you explain “Hot Burrito #1” to an elderly couple that has never once had a sip of the devil’s cough syrup? Well, basically you don’t…as this is one bizarre break-up song. And this one is really hard to figure out, there’s a somber Country backdrop, again with the steel guitar…but the vocal is almost sung in a tried and true Vocal Pop style, and am I hearing a quiet Waltz beat? Anyhow, this is a meditative piece about a break-up of some sort…between man and dog, man and woman or robot? I don’t know…it’s interesting though, and with perplexing enunciation as well.

“Hot Burrito #2” is truly cool; it’s more Jazzy and radical all up in my britches. The general mood is somewhat upbeat, although Gram seems to be a bit fed up with someone on this cut and doesn’t sound so strangely wounded…

Finally, I would like to mention “A Song for You”, which I believe was on his first solo LP entitled simply “GP”. There is a haunting whimsical quality on this tune, and it is one that tends to linger with such emphasis placed upon the lyric “Take me down to your dance floor…”

My knowledge is rather minimal on this chap, a bit of a recent discovery. But have you anything to say, which Gram tunes do you enjoy best? Something he did with The Byrds, perchance?

Thank you.

“Sin City”