Album: Gram Parsons

Sacred Hearts & Fallen Angels: Anthology , WSM/Rhino
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The Independent Culture

Among rock's prematurely deceased, there's a distinct difference between those who died as superstars - Jimi, Janis, Jim, Brian, Kurt - and those cult figures who died without such widespread acknowledgement. For this latter group - who include Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and Gram Parsons - posthumous reassessment seems largely dependent on their work being imbued with an authentic bittersweet melancholy that seems to presage their own tragedy. The melancholy is perhaps at its sweetest in Parsons' case, thanks to such heartbreaking compositions as "A Song For You", "Hickory Wind" and "$1000 Wedding", songs which helped define the spirit of the country-rock genre he instigated. Fast friends with Keith Richards, his lapse into similarly dissipated rock-star behaviour damaged his own career, but it didn't prevent him from belatedly realising his potential through the two solo albums - GP and his poignant swansong Grievous Angel - upon which his reputation rests. A model of the archivist's art,

Among rock's prematurely deceased, there's a distinct difference between those who died as superstars - Jimi, Janis, Jim, Brian, Kurt - and those cult figures who died without such widespread acknowledgement. For this latter group - who include Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and Gram Parsons - posthumous reassessment seems largely dependent on their work being imbued with an authentic bittersweet melancholy that seems to presage their own tragedy. The melancholy is perhaps at its sweetest in Parsons' case, thanks to such heartbreaking compositions as "A Song For You", "Hickory Wind" and "$1000 Wedding", songs which helped define the spirit of the country-rock genre he instigated. Fast friends with Keith Richards, his lapse into similarly dissipated rock-star behaviour damaged his own career, but it didn't prevent him from belatedly realising his potential through the two solo albums - GP and his poignant swansong Grievous Angel - upon which his reputation rests. A model of the archivist's art, this sumptuously packaged 2CD compilation contains all Parsons' essential work, from his early days with The International Submarine Band, through The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, to those final solo efforts.

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