Complete? Yes and No!
Christopher L. Dolmetsch | Hurricane, WV USA | 06/28/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Having been treated to so many outstanding career retrospective CD boxsets over the past twenty-four years, we've come to expect several things from such compilations: 1. Remastered tracks; 2. Outtakes and demos; 3. Insights into the creation of the music through studio chatter, false starts and mistakes; 4. Rarities and previously unreleased songs. How does this set stack up? It is reasonable in the first and second instance, but has nothing in the third and fourth areas. Do these things exist? Previous bootlegs and a rare out-of-print "Cosmic American Cowboy" collection say so. So, what we have are the two original Gram Parsons solo albums, an interesting and likely incomplete set of outtakes, and some teasers from interviews and radio performance. For the novice, this box is probably too much (stick with the previous Gram Parson anthology!) and for the diehard fan, there is just not enough."
The Best-Sounding Gram Reissue yet!
A. Dennis | Portland, ME | 08/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was extremely excited about this set when it was rumored to be released, and then I was annoyed at the format. We know that the two albums here fit on one disc, so why separate them and make us pay for 3 discs instead of 2? This kept me from buying it straightaway (coupled with the fact that if you have the two-fer disc already, you have the bulk & best of this set already). I, of course, broke down and bought it like any true fan and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Although I have most of these songs already, these mixes are superb -- better than perfect almost -- it's easily the best-sounding Gram Parsons related reissue of the CD era & some of the alternate takes are amazingly good, if in tentative arrangements -- "Hickory Wind", "She", "Love Hurts" & "Ooh Las Vegas" all rival the master takes & "Return of the Grevious Angel #1" is a revelation if for no other reason than to hear another cut of this fantastic song (albeit with Gram flubbing the words a bit and EmmyLou not really opening up on the harmony part). The format is questionable and as one reviewer mentioned, since the albums are kept separated, it would've been nice to marry the SLEEPLESS NIGHTS tracks back up with the Grevious Angel album instead of tacking them on at the end. Similarly, the interviews and radio tracks (while pleasing) are simply fluff: why do we need an instrumental (karaoke) version of a Gram Parsons song? I would like to have seen the two records on one CD, the outtakes on another and all the radio stuff on a third, abbreviated "Bonus Disc" or something. Ultimately this really means nothing, though, since the music in this package is all fantastically performed & remastered & the price tag is reasonable. We can only hope for the same treatment of the Flying Burrito Brothers' first two records & eliminate the SLEEPLESS NIGHTS album altogether, get "Bonie Moronie" on CD and purge the vaults, there's no reason to hold back at this point."
Worth the wait
B. Carty | Boston, Mass | 07/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The third disc of this amazing compilation is as close to seeing GP/Emmylou live as it gets. Fresh, unfettered,natural, intimate. Totally different versions and feelings from the antecedent CDs.
"The New Soft Shoe" with the spare, alto fiddle gives the song an even more evocative southern feel and brings the story to life. Return of the Grievous Angel is a front palor, rocking chair, lope along story. Totally different harmony line from Emmylou. Different phrasing from GP, adding a syllable to "grievous" and stretching out "that ooold Bible belt" in the verse about Elvis. Has there ever been a more heartfelt version of "Hickory Wind" and there are a lot of versions of that chestnut. The stunner is "Love Hurts". Much more passionate than any other version on record. I saw GP and Emmylou and the Fallen Angels three consecutive nights at a club in Boston and "Love Hurts" was the showstopper.This is the closet version to those performances. Thank God for Emmylou putting this compilation together.