Gram Parsons - Grievous Angel (1974)

Gram Parsons was an American singer-songwriter, considered a pioneer in the country-rock genre.

After the release of his debut solo album GP in 1972 (representing a creative resurgance after a couple of unproductive years), Gram Parons went on tour with his band The Fallen Angels, which featured Emmylou Harris as his duet partner (check out Live 1973 for some recordings from this period). He managed to keep away from heroin and keep his drinking in check, and things were going well. However his record sales still weren't picking up, as his style of country-rock was now seen as far too traditional in comparison to the popular new sound pioneered by the Eagles. He began work on his second album, featuring backing from an all-star band consisting of James Burton (lead guitar), Herb Pederson (rhythm guitar), Al Perkins (pedal steel), Glen D. Hardin (piano), Emory Gordy (bass), Ron Tutt (drums) and of course Harris (vocals). There were also cameos from ex-Burrito Brother (and then-Eagle) guitarist Bernie Leadon, fiddler Byron Berline and singer Linda Ronstadt.
However it was then that tragedy struck. Parsons died in September 1973, from an overdose of morphine and alcohol. He was only 26. In the eight years from the formation of The International Submarine Band to his death, he had been one of the most important figures of the country-rock movement, and surely would have still had great career ahead of him.
His second album, Grievous Angel, was released posthumously in 1974. It was a continuation of the sound he had found with GP, with excellent support from Harris and the band. It didn't feature many new original songs, but the ones which opened and closed the album ("Return Of The Grievous Angel" and "In My Hour Of Darkness") rank among his best. It didn't sell many copies at the time, but was well received by the critics, and today can be looked back on as another country-rock masterpiece.

GP (1973) <|
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