16 A SONG FOR YOU
Several of Parsons’ greatest songs echo the age-old gospel plea to “sing me back home”, few more movingly than this searching, spiritual love letter to God, a woman and America itself. It is a delicate creation: Harris is a distant, almost ghostly voice, Glen D Hardin’s organ bubbles warmly in the background, and Parsons seems heartbreakingly lost.
17 THE DARK END OF THE STREET
The Gilded Palace Of Sin, 1969
A crackling version of Dan Penn’s dark Southern Soul staple: loose, funky, racked and slightly raucous. Between hot-wire guitar licks and a Byrdsy solo, Parsons and Hillman channel The Everly Brothers, throwing the words “you and me” back and forth in a soulful game of pass the parcel.
18 BLUE EYES
Safe At Home, 1968
The blissfully old-fashioned opening track on ISB’s only album pivots on a classic Parsons conceit: the indignities of life leavened by the simple pleasures of having “a pretty girl to love me with the same last name as mine”. Sailing happily above the counter-culture, it may be the most carefree song he ever wrote, with its catchy chorus and almost indecently busy steel guitar.