1001 Albums You Must Hear (and Blog about) Before You Die

My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die

667. Grievous Angel – Gram Parsons

Brief Background: Grievous Angel was recorded during the summer of 1973 in Hollywood, CA.  Parsons overdosed days after finishing the mixing of the album and it was released posthumously in January of 1974.

What I think: As a young man in the early 2000’s I really delved into the Alternative Country genre.  I started with Wilco, moved to Son Volt, then there was of course Uncle Tupelo and everything branched off from there. This album was of course mentioned everywhere as an influence on the whole genre. At the time, I didn’t much dig it. I mean I thought it was good, but didn’t have much of an emotional connection to it. I think it was too advanced for me, I still was looking for a more aggressive Rock sound everywhere.

As I listen to it these days though, I can really appreciate the whole thing. It simply does not get better than Parsons’ and Harris’ voices, they are flawless. The music is fairly spare, but isn’t lacking in energy and together the mix is just perfect. I love how all of the songs are about hard luck, but some make you want to dance and others may you want to cry.  My favorites are “Brass Buttons” and “$1000 Wedding”. “Ooh Las Vegas” and “In My Hour of Darkness” aren’t too bad either. I really wish this version of “Love Hurts” was the first I’d heard as the Nazareth version just butchers it has ruined the song for me. Which is really unfortunate, because this is recording is one of the most beautiful songs ever put on tape.

The one miss-step to me is the fake “live medley” of “Cash on the Barrelhead” and “Hickory Wind”, they would have worked great on their own without the gimmick of fake applause and stage banter and being smack dab in the middle of everything really throws the mood off.

Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? Any album that starts a genre belongs on this list, let alone it being a genre I’m a big fan of. Sign me up.

Rating (Out of 5) 4.5 

Grievous Angel Amazon Review (Out of 5): 5

Is this my first time hearing this album? No (73/335)

Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 78%


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