Album: Various artists

'Grand Theft Parsons' Soundtrack, Cube Soundtracks

Andy Gill
Friday 12 March 2004 01:00

2004 is, it seems, the year of Gram Parsons' canonisation among the fallen angels of rock, with last week's excellent BBC documentary to be followed by the film Grand Theft Parsons, in which Johnny (Jackass) Knoxville plays the role of Phil Kaufman, the road manager who stole Parsons' body and cremated it in the Mojave Desert, according to the late singer's wishes. Parsons' reputation has to an extent always been overshadowed by this melodramatic posthumous flourish, but the sheer quality of the material he recorded with The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, and particularly on his solo albums G.P. and Grievous Angel, has secured his position as prime mover in the development of country-rock, and ensured his rediscovery by successive generations of fans. Some of those fans appear on this soundtrack: Starsailor may be an odd choice to do "Hot Burrito #2", but Wilco's "One Hundred Years From Now" and The Lemonheads' "Brass Buttons" are faithful enough to one's memories of the originals. Gillian Welch's version of "Hickory Wind", however, is a measured, magical performance which brings out every ounce of the song's wistful yearning and is well worth the purchase price on its own.

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