Gram Parsons’ 20 best songs

The country-rock pioneer's greatest tracks…

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13 RETURN OF THE GRIEVOUS ANGEL
Grievous Angel, 1974

A wonderfully vivid song of experience which is almost Whitmanesque. Parsons’ dusty prodigal returns to his woman filled with memories of “the truckers… the kickers and the cowboy angels”. A free-flowing torrent of a song, lit up by Glen D Hardin’s gorgeous piano.

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14 IN MY HOUR OF DARKNESS
Grievous Angel, 1974

A premonition in song? The verse about a young country singer with a “silver-string guitar” creeps ominously close to self-mythology. Future Eagle Bernie Leadon contributes dobro on this rousing hymn to those who have passed, and Linda Ronstadt adds vocals.

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15 OOH LAS VEGAS
Grievous Angel, 1974

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The flipside of Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas”, which seems entirely apt. Elvis’ TCB band played on GP and Grievous Angel, and here it really shows: there’s a touch of “Guitar Man” in the good-time groove and James Burton’s scorching licks. It’s a losing-streak lament (“crystal city…gonna make a wreck out of me”) from a gambler who sounds like he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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