When Was The Last Time You Played This Album?

Posts tagged “Gram Parsons

Merle Haggard “I Am What I Am”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#154 in the Series) is Merle Haggard, I Am What I Am.

I was REAL late coming to the Merle Haggard appreciation society.  I’ve loved traditional country for many years.  But for some reason Merle slid though the cracks for me.

That changed due to his classic song, Sing Me Back Home.  About five years ago I started noticing all these artist I really respected had covered it. The Grateful Dead, Flying Burrito Brothers, Heartfield, Gram Parsons and Keith Richards together, The Everly Brothers, etc etc. I had to look in on it.  Then I started checking out all these old albums and wow.  I sure missed quite a bit.

Instead of featuring one of those classics albums, I’m going to go right to the end of the list. His most current. I Am What I Am was one of my favorite albums of 2009.

There are absolutely some wonderful songs on this album.  I’m going to attach two videos.  I challenge you to listen to them and tell me they are not a couple of great songs.  Merle fans know this already.  The challenge is more aimed at those that are thinking, What the hell is he doing!

This also gives me a chance to bitch at country radio. They didn’t touch this work. But they continue to pollute the airways to lazy pop music that they pawn off as country just because as an afterthought a fiddle or pedal steel was added.

Merle hasn’t won a country award since 1982.  He hasn’t had a #1 hit since 1987.  Thanks country radio.

Give these two a listen. I’ve Seen It Go Away and Pretty When It’s New.

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Gram Parsons “GP”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#134 in the Series) is Gram Parson’s, GP.

I was shocked to see that I hadn’t featured Gram Parson’s as of yet.  He’s one of my all-time favorites.   I did feature him as part of The Byrds, Sweethearts of the Rodeo era.

GP was Gram’s first of two studio albums.  Grievous Angel was the second and could have been as easily featured as GP since they are both outstanding pieces of music.

GP was home for some of Gram’s most wonderful moments.  He was in excellent voice in this era.  Give a listen to some of the slower moments of the disc including ‘A Song For You, Streets of Baltimore, She’ or ‘The New Soft Shoe.’ Gram never sounded better.

There are some nice up tempo songs here as well. Those would include ‘Still Feeling Blue, We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning’ and ‘Big Mouth Blues.’

Gram will always hold a very special place for me in the landscape of American music.  He was one of, if not the, first to bring country music to the rock and roll field.  He would play albums of the early country greats to the hippies in LA until they ‘Got it.’  Without his influence we may never had heard the likes of bands like his own ‘Flying Burrito Brothers’ or ‘New Riders of the Purple Sage, Poco, Heartsfield, The Eagles, Pure Prairie League, etc etc.’

GP was produced by Blind Faith bassist Rick Grech. It was released in 1973.

Unfortunately, Gram would leave us by the end of that year.

Listen to the masterpiece of She or Song For You (Including a short interview with Gram) or the up tempo, Still Feeling Blue.


The Byrds “Sweethearts of the Rodeo”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is the 1968 release by The Byrds, “Sweethearts of the Rodeo.”

Quite simply, a masterpiece. Was it the first country rock album? That’s debatable.

There has been so much written and discussed about this music that I’m not even going to try and invent an original idea.

Just listen to the music. I’d have loved to have heard Roger McGuinn and Gram Parsons stay together longer. But then Gram might not have gone on to to record two other great pieces of music (Gram Parsons and GP). And maybe he wouldn’t have gone on to discover (along with Chris Hillman) EmmyLou Harris.

Some of the classic songs here are Bob Dylan’s ‘You Aint Goin’ Nowhere, You’re Still On My Mind.’ Woodie Guthrie’s ‘Pretty Boy Floyd,’ and of course, GP’s ‘Hickory Wind.’