In the year before his death in the fall of 1973, Gram Parsons recorded two superb solo albums, and Warner Brothers has conveniently reissued them in their entirety on a single compact disc. Since many of the same musicians played on both G.P. (released in January of 1973) and Grievous Angel (which appeared in stores almost exactly a year later), the two albums flow together quite well as a single set…
GP is American singer-songwriter Gram Parsons' debut solo album. Working with a crack band of L.A. and Nashville's finest (including James Burton on guitar, Ronnie Tutt on drums, Byron Berline on fiddle, and Glen D. Hardin on piano), he drew from them a sound that merged breezy confidence with deeply felt Southern soul, and he in turn pulled off some of his most subtle and finely detailed vocal performances; "She" and "A Song for You," in particular, are masterful examples of passion finding balance with understatement.
In the year before his death in the fall of 1973, Gram Parsons recorded two superb solo albums, and Warner Brothers has conveniently reissued them in their entirety on a single compact disc. Since many of the same musicians played on both G.P. (released in January of 1973) and Grievous Angel (which appeared in stores almost exactly a year later), the two albums flow together quite well as a single set. And while no bonus tracks were added, the booklet features well-written essays on Parsons from John M. Delgatto and Marley Brant, the complete liner notes from both albums, and lyrics for all the songs on the disc (which weren't included in the original vinyl issues). While the material and performances on G.P. are a shade stronger than on Grievous Angel, both albums have more than their share of pearly moments, and this disc is a treat from start to finish; James Burton's guitar leads are chicken-pickin' at its smartest and most tasteful, Al Perkins' pedal steel is the definitive sound of country & western heartache, fiddler Byron Berline effortlessly reveals how he became one of Nashville's leading session musicians, and Parsons' duets with the young Emmylou Harris are nothing less than sublime.
Gram Parsons is the father of country-rock. With the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the songwriter pioneered the concept of a rock band playing country music, and as a solo artist he moved even further into the country realm, blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other. While he was alive, Parsons was a cult figure that never sold many records but influenced countless fellow musicians, from the Rolling Stones to the Byrds. His legacy continued to grow, as both country and rock musicians built on the music he left behind. Musicians such as Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello covered his songs, and his influence could still be heard well into the next millennium. The Complete Reprise Sessions is a box set released in 2006 featuring both of Gram Parsons's early 1970s solo albums, GP and Grievous Angel. The box set features interviews and previously unreleased alternative takes…
Gram Parsons fondness for drugs and high living are said to have been catching up with him while he was recording Grievous Angel, and sadly he wouldn't live long enough to see it reach record stores, dying from a drug overdose in the fall of 1973. This album is a less ambitious and unified set than his solo debut, but that's to say that G.P. was a great album while Grievous Angel was instead a very, very good one. Much of the same band that played on his solo debut were brought back for this set, and they perform with the same effortless grace and authority (especially guitarist James Burton and fiddler Byron Berline).
GP was the first solo album by Gram Parsons, former member of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, and, is probably the best realized expression of his musical personality. Allmusic 5/5
Grievous Angel was the second solo album by Gram Parsons, compiled from 1973 sessions and released four months after his death. Like all of Parsons' records, it failed to rate high on the charts, never reaching the top hundred on the Billboard charts. Nonetheless, it is viewed as a successful example of the hybrid between country and rock and roll Parsons called "Cosmic American Music."