425 Grievous Angel

Gram Parsons was an American musician best known for his country music. He played what he called “Cosmic American Music,” which was a combination of country, rhythm and blues, soul, folk, and rock. He had a solo career and, also, played with the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers (that name though!). Parsons was found unresponsive while visiting Joshua Tree National Park and pronounced dead on September 19, 1973. He was 26 years old. His official cause of death was an overdose of morphine and alcohol.

Grievous Angel was Parsons second solo album and was released 4 months after his death. It has been viewed as a successful example of country rock and roll (“Cosmic American Music.” It sounds like twangy country music to me and I disliked listening to all of it.

I did learn two things, however. First, Parson’s worked with Emmylou Harris on this album but he was married at the time. It seems his widow did not like Harris and made some major changes to the album before it was released (she removed Harris’ picture from the cover art and relegated her credit to the back cover). 

Second, the song Love Hurts appears on this album, which made me go, “huh?”  Apparently, Love Hurts was written and composed by Boudleaux Bryant (American songwriter) and first recorded by The Everly Brothers in July 1960. Most of us have probably heard it thanks to the international hit by Nazareth released in 1975. I had to go listen to The Everly Brothers version. Nazareth does it better.