Previously Unreleased Early Reocrdings of Gram Parsons
Ron Frankl | Hendersonville, NC | 12/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gram Parsons is best known as the founding figure of the country-rock movement. As a member of the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers and, later, as a solo artist, Parsons created the marriage of two musical styles that is still going strong today in the "Alt Country" or Americana movements. Although raised on rock & roll and country, Parsons was known to have spent a period of his teenage years performing in a folk trio known as the Shilos (Sierra Records released a recording of the group circa 1964 that is, sadly out of print). Now the folks at Sundazed Records, one of the finest reissue labels on the planet, have released a previously unknown set of private recordings made by Parsons in 1965 and 1966.This is a significant release because of relatively limited number of recordings made by Gram Parsons, but fans eager to trace the origins of country rock will be somewhat disappointed. This is a folk album, pure and simple, featuring Gram and his guitar recorded at a friend's home. The songs are a mix of familiar folk revival tunes and a few originals. The most surprising aspect here is that Parsons sings in the very proper and stagy style favored by most folkies at the time, devoid of individuality and emotion. He had recently spent time in New York's Greenwich Village, and it appears that he was influenced by the then-thriving folk movement, in terms of both repertoire and performing style. Its interesting to hear him sing in such a formal manner, because it is the antithesis of the highly emotional if sometimes sloppy vocal style that was one of the most obvious characteristics of his later work. Several of the originals on this CD would reappear later. "Reputation" was recorded by the Byrds for their landmark "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" album in 1968, although it wasn't released until the expanded CD reissue of the mid-'90's. More significantly, "Brass Buttons," which Parsons recorded for his final album, "Grievous Angel", in 1973, is included in a nice version that hints at Parsons' future musical direction, and it is clearly the highlight of "Another Side of This Life."Fans of Gram Parsons will certainly want to hear this, and probably even own it. It is definitely not the place to start, though, it you want to discover what made his music so special."
hansinidaho | LA | 09/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a Gram fan, you'll probably disagree heartily with the preceding review when you hear these sounds. The recordings are in fact dramatically different--less mature--than later work, but that's what makes them so interesting. It's enchanting to hear that youthful, at-times-frail-at-times-powerful voice. You just might cherish this one."
Not Worthy Of The Legacy
whoopycat | Des Moines, IA United States | 02/06/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Folks, I love Gram just as much if not more than the next guy, but I have to advise you to spend your money elsewhere. As other reviewers have mentioned, the material is folk, not country or rock. Which there's nothing wrong with; after all, much of Gram's writing was influenced by folk. However, as you listen to this disc, it's clear that Gram has not yet found his voice that would elevate his songs into the cosmos. The sound is surprisingly good, but this is clearly the work of an artist in the embryonic stage. It's almost as if Gram came to the realization after these recordings that he wasn't going to become the next Bob Dylan. It doesn't even begin to approach the greatness he would attain starting with the ISB and onwards. If you feel you must hear this disc, borrow it from somebody. It's not something you will play repeatedly."