Acclaimed Albums – Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 65/250Grievous AngelTitle: Grievous Angels
Artist: Gram Parsons
Year: 1974
Position: #151

So here is a benefit I had not thought of when I switched to a looser blog schedule, the chance to have two album posts in a row. This album will have an interesting meaning to me now, the music that was playing when I booked my honeymoon.

On a more related note now. Grievous Angel is one of those sad albums which found its initial release after the death of the singer. Gram Parsons, who passed away a few months earlier due to an accidental overdose, is someone that I have already looked at in a previous post. Listening to Grievous Angel it is hard not to hear his previous involvement as a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. He was a true pioneer in the world of country music due to his mission to properly unite it with rock and roll.

He also helped to introduce the world to Emmylou Harris, who is everywhere on this album despite not receiving a proper credit on the front cover. She was meant to, this album was meant to be by both of them until Parsons’ widow intervened and removed as many traces of Harris that she could without compromising the integrity of the album.

Maybe I am a bit more country than I really realised because Grievous Angel is an album that immediately hit me, unlike Revolver which failed again on a further listen. When I listen to this album I can hear pretty much every mainstream country act that has emerged since. Yes, there are the traditional country music hallmarks of twangs and the more maudlin subject matter but with lusher orchestrations and the introductions of more mainstream instruments and tempos this is an album that helped to promote the world of country music to a wider audience. Then again, this was a commercial flop upon its initial release so I probably have no idea what I am talking about.

There are no real tracks that I want to pull out since they all work together as a coherant whole. If I did have to pull out one it would be the closer ‘In My Hour Of Darkness’ just for the wealth of ABBA-style harmonies during the chorus.


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