Rarities, Oddities, and other fun stuff
Airing Saturday mornings 10 am - 11 am - Hosted by Eric Davis
Download the podcast (MP3). To save the file to your computer, right click the link and choose "save as".
Gram Parsons (November 5, 1946 – September 19, 1973) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work within the country genre; he also mixed blues, folk, and rock to create what he called "Cosmic American Music". Besides recording as a solo artist, he also worked in several notable bands, including the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers. His career, though short, is described as "enormously influential" for both country and rock, "blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other." Born in 1946, Parsons emerged from a wealthy but troubled childhood to attend Harvard University. He founded the International Submarine Band in 1966, and after several months of delay their debut, Safe at Home, was released in 1968, by which time the group had disbanded. Parsons joined The Byrds in early 1968, and played a pivotal role in the making of the seminal Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. After leaving the group in late 1968, Parsons and fellow Byrd Chris Hillman formed The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1969, releasing their debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin, the same year. The album was well received but failed commercially; after a sloppy cross-country tour, they hastily recorded Burrito Deluxe.
Gram Parsons and Keith Richards first met back in 1968. Gram was with the Byrds; touring Europe to promote their landmark Sweetheart of the Rodeo record. When Gram told Keith the band was headed to South Africa, Keith was like– “Man, we don’t go there.” The sanctions and the embargo were on. So Gram quit the Byrds, right there and then. Gram, with nowhere to stay, crashed with Keith in London and fed his friend a steady diet of classic Country music– which would seep its way into the Stones’ sound soon enough. Parsons moved to France, where he lived for a short period at Villa Nellcôte with Keith. Returning to America, Parsons befriended Emmylou Harris, who assisted him on vocals for his first solo record, GP, (with the backing of Elvis Presley’s band), released in 1973. Although it received enthusiastic reviews, the release failed to chart; his next album, Grievous Angel (released posthumously in 1974, which included tracks from the 1973 sessuions) met with a similar reception. Parsons died of a drug overdose on September 19, 1973 in hotel room 8 at the Joshua Tree Inn at Joshua Tree, California, at the age of 26. Since his death, Parsons has been recognized as an extremely influential artist, credited with helping to found both country rock and alt-country.
Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels – LOVE HURTS - written and composed by Boudleaux Bryant. First recorded by The Everly Brothers in July 1960, the song is also well known from a 1975 international hit version by the rock band Nazareth. A recording by Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons was included on Parsons' posthumously released Grievous Angel album. This version was taken from a radio concert on WLIR, NY in 1973.
The Pretenders & Emmylou Harris – SHE – Written by Parsons and Chris Etheridge, and released on Gram Parsons' debut solo album, “GP” in 1973. This version is from Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons -- a 1999 tribute album to pioneering country-rock musician Gram Parsons, co-produced by his one-time singing partner, Emmylou Harris and featuring cover versions of songs written/co-written by or popularized by Parsons. The album surveys Parsons' songwriting efforts from his time with The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers to his solo career.
Sheryl Crow & Emmylou Harris – JUANITA – Written by Parsons and Chris Hillman (originally of the Byrds), and first appeared on The Gilded Palace of Sin, an album by The Flying Burrito Brothers, released in 1969. It continued Gram Parsons' and Chris Hillman's work in modern country music, fusing traditional sources like folk and country with other forms of popular music like gospel, soul, and rock & roll. This version is from Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, 1999.
Dwight Yoakam – SIN CITY – First released on The Gilded Palace of Sin, this version is from Yoakam’s CD Just Lookin’ For a Hit, 1989. Harmony vocals by k.d. lang. Written about Los Angeles (not Las Vegas as most people think), much of the it’s meaning has been debated since the release of the song.
The Rolling Creekdippers – IN MY HOUR OF DARKNESS - The Rolling Creekdippers are an Americana group formed by songwriter Mark Olson and his wife Victoria Williams after Olson left his previous band The Jayhawks. Written by Parsons and Emmylou Harris, and first released on Grievous Angel, the second solo album by Gram Parsons, compiled from 1973 sessions and released four months after his death.
Charlie Louvin – HICKORY WIND- "Hickory Wind" is a song written by country rock pioneer Gram Parsons and former International Submarine Band member Bob Buchanan. Parsons' decision to play "Hickory Wind" instead of the planned Merle Haggard cover "Life in Prison" during The Byrds' performance at the Grand Ole Opry on March 15, 1968 "pissed off the country music establishment", and stunned Opry regulars to such an extent that the song is now considered essential to Parsons' legend. First released on the on The Byrd’s “Sweethearts of the Rodeo’ album, while Gram was a member of the band. This version is a live recording from the Charlie Louvin CD “Hickory Wind: Live at the Gram Parsons Guitar Pull”. On February 22, 1956, The Louvin Brothers warmed up for Elvis Presley at City Auditorium in Waycross, GA. On hand was a nine year old boy named Gram Parsons. It would leave an indelible mark on the future legend, who went on to popularize several Louvin Brothers songs for the ages. On September 19, 2009, Charlie returned to Waycross to pay tribute to the granddaddy of "Alt Country"/"Americana", singing "Hickory Wind" for the first time ever, as well as Louvin Brothers songs Gram either recorded or must have heard in his early years.
Elvis Costello and the Attractions – HOT BURRITO # 1 (I’M YOUR TOY) – Written by Parsons and Chris Etheridge, it was first released on The Gilded Palace of Sin. This version was recorded by Elvis and the band with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, live at the Royal Albert Hall, January 7th, 1982.
Lucinda Williams & David Crosby – RETURN OF THE GRIEVOUS ANGEL – Written by Parsons and Thomas Stanley Brown, it was first released on the album “Grievous Angel” in 1974. This version taken from Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, 1999.
Whiskeytown – DRUGSTORE TRUCK DRIVIN’ MAN –Written by Parsons and Roger McGuinn (Byrds), it was first released in 1969 on the Byrds’ album “DR. BYRDS & MR. HYDE” The song details a moderately unpleasant on-air exchange between Emery and Roger McGuinn, the lead singer of The Byrds, concerning their 1968 appearance at The Grand Ole Opry. Recorded live at the Cat’s Cradle, Carborro, NC, May 25, 1995. Whiskeytown was one of the first bands that featured Ryan Adams.
Keith Richards – WILD HORSES - "Wild Horses" is a song by The Rolling Stones from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It is one of the many Stones songs which benefitted from Keith relationship with Gram. This version comes from the DVD – “Return to Sin City- A Tribute to Gram Parsons”, released in 2004. Additional vocalists include: Jim Lauderdale, Jay Farrar, Jim James, John Doe, Kathleen Edwards, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and Norah Jones.