Before I get into talking about the album I just need to say that this is one cracker of a name for a band. If I didn’t know one of the members was Gram Parsons I would have really expected something psychedelic instead of country. It also brings to mind one of my favourite pastiches (just imagine it with a burrito rather than spaghetti and meatballs):
The Gilded Palace of Sin is, when compared to what is currently coming out, the father of alternative country music. I really enjoy a lot of country music that appears on my radar but it is all so infused with pop music (not complaining, pop is my jam after all) that it’s very much diluted. Then again what makes The Gilded Palace of Sin so interesting is that you are getting an early successful hybridisation of country with other genres. ‘The Dark End of the Street’ brings in elements of rock n’ roll whilst the closer ‘Hippie Boy’ takes on parts of gospel music.
There is a large shift here from Tragic Songs of Life by The Louvin Brothers (released some 13 years earlier) which shows just how the increasing presence of television and radio was causing genres to clash and merge. Whilst these are clearly still both albums of the country genre there is movement in how it is undertaken.
Despite the album’s significance in fostering the alternative country genre it has remarkably low visibility. At the time of release The Gilded Palace of Sin barely charted and to this day it has still not sold that many copies. It’s a good album and represents one of a very small number of country albums to make it onto the Top 250 of the acclaimed albums list. All of this is a pity, which makes me glad that I had to listen to this to complete this bucket list item. It’s always good to see where music comes from, makes me appreciate my copy of Ryan Adam’s Gold all the more.