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Gram Parsons Fans Only!

Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 01 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson at work 08 Feb 01 - 03:58 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 01 - 04:09 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 01 - 04:22 PM
dwditty 08 Feb 01 - 04:37 PM
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Wesley S 08 Feb 01 - 05:10 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 01 - 05:28 PM
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Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 01 - 05:53 PM
rube1 08 Feb 01 - 06:29 PM
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dwditty 08 Feb 01 - 07:11 PM
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winniemih 09 Feb 01 - 12:01 PM
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Erica Smith 09 Feb 01 - 05:22 PM
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Subject: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 03:41 PM

Copied this from another website. I never saw Gram or the Burritos, but always loved their stuff. This is a great eyewitness story. If you like, there's others...

Snake handlers & holy rollers

Gram Parsons "Cosmic American Music" had me by the short hairs from the second I heard it ripe and full-blown on the Gilded Palace of Sin album. I had listened to some country music all through my high school years and into early college, when my contemporaries were twirling their dials to rock stations. In my teens I began playing guitar myself, singing folk music, and for musical inspiration started to sneak out to San Francisco, to the Avalon Ballroom on Van Ness Avenue, and the Matrix on Fillmore Street, and the original Fillmore auditorium, the Longshoreman's Hall down on the wharf where the earliest versions of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Beau Brummels, Charlatans, Country Joe & The Fish and other bands were playing landmark shows. This was circa 1965-1966. There were barrels of apples laced with LSD, and trippy light shows, beautiful hippie girls twirling and floating on the stage, and it was an intimate scene before the "San Francisco Sound" became notorious world-wide. As a teenager I was in awe of what was going on, but I didn't have a clue where it would lead and how important the whole movement would ultimately prove to be.

I'd also been fascinated by the Byrds since their very first album, and had seen them live in San Franciso and at the Whiskey in L.A. Those guys had groupies like no one else on the scene except for Jim Morrison, whose groupies were all Satan's Mistresses... The Byrds were the very essence of progressive folk-rock, their jangly resonant guitars lead so ably by Roger McGuinn's 12–string, the fresh and unusual interpretations of traditional songs, those soaring harmonies. I bought all their albums and followed their musical progress like an eager puppy. But when Sweetheart of the Rodeo came out, I was confused to say the least. Where was David Crosby? Where were the solumn, chiming chords? Who the heck was Jon Corneal, Earl Ball, JayDee Maness and... Gram Parsons? What was this stuff about the Canadian Rockies and some outlaw named Pretty Boy Floyd? Was this a country music album with the Byrds on the side, or the Byrds trying to deliver a country-flavored rock record or.....? Little did I know that Gram Parsons had boldly and effectively hijacked the Byrds, bringing in his own crew from the International Submarine Band to make a superb and ground-breaking recording that just seems to get better and better, even thirty years on. I understand he was only with The Byrds for about 6 months, and to this day I wonder if Jim McGuinn ever knew what hit him.

When I heard the Gilded Palace of Sin, my life changed forever, and I am not exaggerating one bit. For some reason it resonated in me unlike any other kind of music, let alone straight country, whose themes were limited and self-obsessed, and whose musicianship was more often than not seriously stilted and formulaic. Gram and Chris Hillman's singing and harmonies had the elusive white soul component that a lot of other pop music was clearly missing. While bands like the Beatles, the Dead and the Airplane were looking towards Nepal, India and other exotic places for their musical inspiration, the Burritos found their musical gold mine right here safe at home. Besides, as a band they were just fucking nuts–who ever heard of a fuzztone pedal steel guitar being used as a lead instrument? The Nashville steel guitar players were all politely tiptoeing around with delicate, formal bits of whiney lace fippery in the background, except for about 15 seconds of lead time, then get back where you belong with the syrupy strings and muted harmony singers. Sneaky Pete was using the damn thing like a rampaging chainsaw, cutting wide swaths of dazzling musical space in your head with his incredibly inventive riffs, tight & tasteful arrangements. Straight country bass was a dull thumping dum, duhm, dum, duhm, dum, duhm. Dark and devilish Chris Ethridge fingered lyrical, intricate, punchy, loping bottom-end parts, more like counterpoint bass guitar leads than anything else. What a combination! And, uh, what was with the pill, dope leaf and flying dinosaur country suits?

I don't think San Francisco ever really knew what to do with the Burritos. Most of the popular bands here had come out of the white folk-music scene. Jerry Garcia & Jorma K and John Cippolina were ex-folkies, Carlos Santana came from the Mission District, which is mostly Hispanic now but Irish back then.. For the most part San Francisco rock in the mid-60's was high-concept white rock with an unspoken kind of counterculture formalism that encouraged experimentation only within a certain set of rules. There were rockers who were "royalty," and just like the stifling set of rules in traditional European monarchies, the rules in San Francisco were equally stiff in their own wierd way. To be blunt, no one in San Francisco knew shit about country music, or Georgia, or the South, or deserts near Joshua Tree, or real American music at all except for effete folk music rip-offs, and most of them came from black Southern field songs anyway.

I saw the Burritos probably ten or twelve times total, at places like the old Fillmore, the Avalon Ballroom, Winterland, the Whiskey and Palamino. One of the best concerts I ever saw and heard was a gig they did out at the old Family Dog hall on the Great Highway here in San Francisco. The Family Dog was a huge old dance hall that was originally part of Playland at the Beach, a turn-of-the-century amusement park that had become run down and mostly abandoned. Some rides and amusements held on into the 60's, but the bulk of the buildings were boarded up by the time the San Francisco Sound started to emerge in 1965. It was a large rambling old place, later to become a slot car race track after the live San Francisco music scene faded away. It had good acoustics, a very high ceiling and was made of wood. It was a large venue, able to hold a couple thousand people so that promoters could book in larger acts and still make a bit of a profit. It was smack-dab across from the beach in what was then the middle of goddamned nowhere as far as most straight San Franciscans were concerned, surrounded by literally miles of free parking spaces. Best of all there were no houses or apartments close-by, so the sound could be cranked waaaaaay up.

It was probably 1970, and I was just about twenty. I admit to forgetting who opened for the Burritos that particular night, but it might have been someone like Buck Owens. I can't tell you much about the opening act, but there sure were a lot of us eagerly awaiting the Burrito's set, you can bet your cowboy hat on that. Tension was so thick you could cut it with the proverbial knife, and I'm sure there were a few Buck knives in the crowd along with the prequisite velvet floppy coats, Lennon glasses, patchouli oil perfume, bell bottoms and love beads, this being SF and all. Country rock had actually started to sink in as a separate musical form by this time, the Byrd's "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" was accepted listening fare, and the the next natural progression was the Gilded Palace of Sin, although it was a pretty far jump from "Blue Canadian Rockies" to "Wheels." Jerry Garcia was playing pedal steel guitar with the New Riders of the Purple Sage. He was an interesting if slightly uninspired steel player, but he bought the Dead's bluesy-noodling rock sensibility to his Emmons double-necker steel git-tar. He was no Sneaky Pete, no siree...

The Burritos took the stage a predictable forty-five or so minutes late, from the very beginning you could tell they were pumped (or jacked up, hard to tell which without a Physician's Desk Reference...) I was so close to the stage I could almost touch Gram, and Chris Hillman with his innocent face and blonde curly afro was just the other side of Gram on his own mike. Chris Ethridge stood there with his bass, intense and serious. I had a great clear view of Sneeky Pete on steel. Gram's hair was long and had those angelic pageboy flips just at the very ends. He was wearing one of his wilder Nudie suits, a red one I think, plus fancy-dan cowboy boots and a blue spangly scarf at his throat. He looked every bit the two-and-a-half-zillion dollar's worth of country-rock star, and all the girls in the audience lost their hearts to him the second he stepped up to the mike, shielded his eyes from the lights and asked us how we were all doin'.... Gram had a stage presence like you couldn't ever buy, he absolutely knew it and man did he ever use it.

They started out with a low-key tune, God's Own Singer of Songs, and then Gram sang Luxury Liner, a song I love, but the beginning of the set wasn't all that energetic. The band was in a great mood, relaxed, clearly glad to be pickin' and singin' for us. I recall an unusual amount of playfulness in the interaction as the songs reeled off, and a few special moments remain embedded forever in my brain. One of my all-time favorite songs of all times by anyone anywhere (did I mention it's one of the greatest all-time songs? Good...) was, and is, Christine's Tune. There's something so wicked, so expository, so confessional in a slyly abstract way, so up-front about a guy tellling us that all she'll do is hate you and she's a devil in disguise and you can see it in her eyes, can't you? It's a song bursting with beautifully crafted, finely honed, gut-wrenching lyrical imagery. I've listened to it at least 1,000 times, and I hope to listen to it another1,000 times before they lower me down in that custom-decorated Nudie casket I've got on order.

After after a couple of slower numbers, they started in on Christine's Tune, one of the most recognizable songs from the GPoS album, something the audience had been eagerly waiting for it. The rhythm guitar riff that kicks the song off is so Pavlovian to me that I think I peed my pants when it came roaring like a steam locomotive out of the p.a. system, and Gram and Chris stepped up to their mikes. The bass kicked in, and then... Sneaky Pete did his steel guitar black magic thing. Back then Pete was regarded as some kind of a mystical electronic pedal steel guitar God. I don't know if he had what they call "technicians" but I never saw anyone but Pete himself fiddle around with the cables and such, so probably not. He had this button on the front panel of the steel guitar body facing his playing position, and it was the button that controlled the fuzztone technique.

The band was just flat-out pounding Christine's Tune for all it was worth, Chris Ethridge effortlessly holding down the bottom end with notes so deep and resonanat they weren't heard so much as felt through the floor and rafters of the hall. The drums hit crisp and hard, the guitars nasty, ringing and Sneaky Pete's steel dancing and growling and leading everyone else around, all totally backwards from what you thought a country music sound should sound like. Chris Hillman and Gram were trading beautiful lead vocals and harmonies, and it was enough to make you see God I swear. Gram would sing a verse with Chris doing harmony. Then Chris would sing another verse with Gram on harmony, and they'd both sing the chorus. They were doing the harmonies just a tiny bit of a note off, so it created an eerie, floating, otherworldly dissonance in the hall. The whole band was trading glances and smiles, and when it came time for Sneaky Pete's trademark fuzztone steel riff, Gram would step back from his mike, turn towards Pete and grin like a Cheshire cat. Sneaky Pete would lean back in his chair and whack that fuzztone button hard with his hand and launch into the fuzztone riffs... ohmygawd. No one in the audience knew if they were hearing a psychotic country musician on acid or some astonishing lead guitar rocker who really knew how to move the pedals on that wierd-looking stringed box. It was awesome to see and hear.

That evening the band played as hot and hard as I ever saw or heard them, ever, and they played the songs with feeling and sincerity so you alternately cried, laughed or simply stood there mouth gaping open, reeling under the onslaught of so much talent and concentrated emotion directed at you, and you alone, because that's they way Gram and the Burritos could make you feel when they really wanted to. The hall was hot, the air thick with dope smoke, the stage lighting halo'd the musicians so it looked more like a messianic holy-roller snake-handling convention instead of a country-rock music concert. I think Gram would approve of this comparison. The Flying Burrito Brothers were preaching without judging, and we were hearing and being converted without having to lift one finger... for the piddly price of admission.

Later they sang"Dark End of the Street," and Gram played a trick on Chris Hillman. Their mikes were just a few feet apart, and at the end of that song there's a section where they each sang "You and me...." "You and me...." "You and me...." "You and me...." a bunch of times. Gram would sing the words and then Chris would sing 'em, and so forth, normally. But on about the third go-round, Gram casually walks over to Chris' mike and sing Chris's words. So Chris walks over to Gram's mike and sings his words, and so they go back and forth, round and round in this loopy, funny, real-life game of musical chairs (or in this case, mikes). Gram would fake Chris out and lunge for his mike, then when Chris started to move towards Gram's mike, Gram would pull back, laughing, and so forth and so on. the whole thing was really hysterical because this was way before cordless guitar connections, so their guitar cords got tangled up and they had to stop and get things straight before ending the song. They probably strung out this genuinely playful ending to 3, 4 minutes or so.

I think some bands are unable to recreate the excitement and emotional intensity of their studio-recorded albums for various reasons. Then other bands do as good as what they can record, and maybe better. Sometimes, once in a real rare while, you'll get a bunch of musicans to whom the album is just a tight little flower bud, and their live performances are the full, fragrant, opulent blooms, far surpassing anything you could ever hope to hear or feel by just listening to the recordings. The Burritos could be all over the map. Sometimes they were too wierded out by the tense interpersonal relationships, especially when Gram got so caught up in getting high that his music became sloppy. At other times they could, almost literally, walk on water. The sheer force of Gram's vision, the collective talent and beyond-cutting-edge musicianship, the spare but spinetingling arrangements made them special to those of us who were touched by the music in our hearts and souls. But the the Flying Burrito Brothers were, what, 20 years ahead of their time? Being pioneers, someone once said, gets you shot in the back with arrows and buried in a shallow grave.

Brian Day September 27, 2000


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson at work
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 03:58 PM

more! more! thanks LEJ


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:09 PM

Great story Leej. Thanks for the "find." Like you, I never saw them but have always dug the music. Gram was a real one-off character surrounded by a lot of others and he knew and respected the abilities he sought. They were not just ahead of their time, they are still unique.

Lots of good Gram stuff at one of my favorite lyric sites, The Insurgent Country Home Page. It'll be interesting to see who else shows up on this thread won't it?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:22 PM

Yep, Spaw. Guy has been gone as many years as he lived (27), but I still have to give Gilded Palace, Grievous Angel, and Sweetheart of the Rodeo a spin about once a month. I'm going to see if I can get hold of this Brian Day and ask if he'll host a thread here on the Cat.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: dwditty
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:37 PM

I always wanted one of Gram's suits with the pot plants and pills all over it. Just for kickc, of course, and, well, ok, to remind me of days long past. I just sang Grevious Angel the other night on Paltalk. Oh, how I longed to have Emmylou (or better yet, Margaret V) on hand to sing the harmony. Thanks LEJ, enjoyed the story.

A few years ago, I stumbled across a Rolling Stone issue on Gram's death. Great articles, photos, etc. Sent it off to my friend Kilroy, who had introduced me to Gram's music.

dw


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:50 PM

Seriously, y'all need to go check all of the info at Insurget Country on Gram...tons of stuff (linked above)....RICH, check out the picture....YOUR SUIT man!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Wesley S
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:10 PM

I always liked grams too. Oops - excuse me - I always liked Gram Parsons music. Talk about a trust fund baby. I've heard rumors that Gram had a lot to do with the writing of "Wild Horses" and the Rolling Stones never gave him credit. Who knows ? He's one of those guys that make you wonder what kind of music he would be up to if he were alive today. Don't you know he'd be giving Nashville a kick in their wimpy ass. It's a shame he had to self-medicate himself to death. What a waste.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:28 PM

GP was hanging hard with the Stones around the time of the Let It Bleed, and although Keith and Mick give him no songwriting credit, they do cite him as a big influence on the Country direction they took on that and later albums. Mick's faux-southern accent (ie Far away Eyes) was a direct impression of Gram's Georgia drawl. The song Dead Flowers refers to a bouquet that Gram's wife Gretchen sent him at the Stones Swiss villa when they were having a quarrel....it was mis-routed and arrived a week late. Wild Horses, although likely a Jagger/Richards number, was promised to Gram and the Burritos for a single.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Wesley S
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:32 PM

I'm pretty sure that Gram grew up in the great state of Florida. I could be wrong though - I'm sleep deprived.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:53 PM

He was heir to part of an orange juice corporation his Grandfather founded. He lived for a while near Cypress Gardens FL (might have been born there), but his family moved to Waycross GA when he was a kid.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: rube1
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 06:29 PM

He attended Bolles High school in Jacksonville FL briefly. I have an early album he recorded with a "combo" of gospel and traditonal songs. A photo of him as a clean cut kid, wearing a suit and tie, taken at Bolles school on the cover.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 06:33 PM

I have long been a Gram fan and have often wished I could have seen him. I can think of few pleasure greater than singing a song like "Hickory Wind" or "Wheels" with lots o'harmony. I swear, on those night when you do it right, you can channel that guy. . .

But do not forget to give some praise to the living. Chris Hillman was also a key figure in the Burrito's music, as well as with the Byrds as they moved toward country music (small "c"), Manassas (with Steve Stills) and so on and on. He's still playing and singing as good as, if not better than ever. His latest CD on Sugarhill Records has some great stuff. And his work with the Desert Rose Band is top notch.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: dwditty
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 07:11 PM

'Spaw, I am well familiar with insurgent country. I've had it bookmarked for 3 years. I often peruse the Gram Parson lyrics section. One of my life's goals is to play "She" in a manner that brings tears to my eyes.
dw


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:11 PM

Another Brian Day story...

I remember the first time I heard the Burrito's Gilded Palace of Sin. My roomie came bursting through the door to our little California beach house waving the album and gibbering "ohmygodyougottahearthis youwon'tbeilieveit..." Being a staunch folk-rock San Francisco-sound kinda hippie guy, raised on the snaky, lithe, headcentric guitar leads of Quicksilver's John Cippolina, Garcia's bluesy forever-noodling and and The Airplane's slashing Jorma K, I hadn't listened to all that much country music. I mean, how much George Jones do you need, anyway?

But the very second those first rhythm guitar chords of Christine's Tune slammed out of our monstro speakers, they seemed to penetrate directly into the _feeling_ part of my psyche, rather than the thinking part. What in hell was this stuff, anyway? Sneeky Pete's screaming fuzztone steel leads made every single hair on the back of my head stand straight up, and I felt like the world was coming to an end because I didn't need to think about what these guys were playing and singing about, _I already felt it.

We wore that album out, and then we bought another copy, and wore that one out,too, and I can hum and or sing every single word, every single guitar part, every single fuzztone steel part to The Gilded Palace of Sin right up to this very day. I was a Gram Parsons junkie right from that specific moment on. We saw the Burritos a few times here in SF, but the one concert that stands head and shoulders above the rest is the one the Burritos played in....Stanford, California, of all places.

One fine Saturday afternoon in the spring of '68 or '69? (memory problems due to excessive drug abuse, sorry...) I was cruising in my '66 Ford, listening to the local progressive rock station, which back in those days meant that once in a while they'd play a cut longer than exactly 2:05. The dickhead jabberwocky dj came on and said "Hey, listen to this one, haw haw haw.... the Flying Burrito Brothers are playing a free concert at Tressider Union hall at Stanford this afternoon! Haw,haw,haw, the Flyring Whooshit Breeders? Sounds like a circus act to me, but it's free. If you've got nothing else at all to do, head on down and watch 'em do trapeze tricks.." (insert sound of '66 Ford pulling a 180 degree turn in the fast lane of Bayshore freeway here)

We got to Tressider,which is about a 500-seat venue,used mostly for poetry readings, overy-serious folksingers with massively pretentious social messages and angry student leaders tring to whip up the bored rabble. But there, on stage, were the Burritos in all their Nudie-suited glory, amps set up, going through that tuning-up thing that seems to take about three hours even if you're straight. I guess it was part of a tour for their new release, or they were between "real" gigs and needed gas money, or whatever, but there they were, and there I was and there was only one slight problem...

In this 500-seat small auditorium, I counted exactly, specifically 47 people. oops... Maybe the Flying Burrito Brothers weren't as well known up 'Frisco way as they were at the Palamino? So there they were, and there were a couple of angry on-stage conferences between Gram and Pete And Chris H and Chris E and whoever was the manager-type guy...my guess is the Burritos wanted to pull the plug and go get stoned or something. They were clearly not a bunch of happy campers...

And then the most amazing thing happened: Gram shook his head angrily and said, quite loudly, "Fuck it...", Then he turned to the "audience", stepped up to his mike, pulled his guitar over his shoulder and slammed out the beginning chords of "Sin City." Singing acapella, all by himself, with the rest of the band standing shell-shocked in the background, Chris H not even plugged in and Sneeky Pete all the way across the stage from his steel guitar...And Gram sang the living shit out of the first verse, his voice cracking and full of pain and angst and the desire to make us all _feel_ what he felt the only way he knew how. I can close my eyes right this very second and see him, eyes glittering like faceted sapphires in the stage lights, looking straight at each and every one of us as if to say "I don't care if it's 47,000 or 47, we're gonna give y'all a show.

And give us a show they did. After everyone got settled down, the ran through the entire GPoS album, plus Cody's Song (first time I'd ever heard that one and it made my cry then as it makes me cry now)plus Hickory Wind, plus songs from the next album plus a bunch of Parson's-tweaked C&W standards plus who knows what else. If there were dry eyes in any of those 47 occupied seats, I didn't see them by the end of the Burrito's set.

I've been to the motel where Gram died, and I've spent a lot of time in the high desert, and I know the sounds of the coyotes at night and the smell of sweet creosote blossoms and seen hawks and eagles soaring on the the thermals of the Eastern Sierra, and there couldn't be a better resting place for the soul of a man so beloved by so many, no matter where his mortal remains may actually be.

Brian Day


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:17 PM

Where are you getting these Leej? Great stories!!!

Sorry Rich....I should have figured you for an insurgent guy. LOL

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: winniemih
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 12:01 PM

I came across a song a while back that Kate Wolf sang, didn't realize at the time that it had been written for Gram Parsons (if I had listened closely to the words I would have). I've added "A Legend In His Time" to my repetoire. It was written in 1975 by Cyrus Clarke and David West, and is on Kate's Back Roads tape/c.d. The chorus goes; He was a legend in his time I don't know the reason why When he'd sing a song You know I'd like to cry Now he's on the other side Standing on God's golden shore Singing country music for the Lord


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: BlueJay
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 12:30 PM

Cool Stuff LEJ, thanks. I'm with you- I have to get a GP fix from time to time, be it Byrds or Burritos. I'm also in agreement with Spaw, in wondering just where the hell you dug up these great stories! Thanks again, BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Erica Smith
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 05:22 PM

hi,

Ah, I'm a huge GP fan . . . never saw him live though; was still in th crib when he died, unfortunately :). But i love how he blended roots & singer/songwriter & "covers" without giving a hoot, and stayed with the heart of the music -- playing for love & fun -- as your anecdode illustrates. Fortunately people like that still exist, at least in my world!

Erica


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 10:15 AM

Ohmigod what a great thread. My younger brother and I were two of the earliest Scottish fans of Gram, and "The Gilded Palace of Sin" is one of my all-time favorites. Let us also remember Gram Parsons for accelerating the very wonderful Emmylou Harris' rise to stardom. Also worth remembering that the great James Burton went out of his way to make himself available to play on Gram's solo albums, which in itself is testimony to the esteem in which he was held.

I have a tape of his very earliest recorded work with a band called Shiloh. Basically folk music ,a bit rough, but the potential was there alright.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 12:16 PM

Well, GP fans, for your reading pleasure, the last of Brian's Burrito Brothers reminiscences...<

Many thanks to all those who have received my long GP/FBB posts so eagerly. I wish I had more material to share, but this last segment is pretty much it. Like many of us who grew up in the 60's, my memory looks more like Swiss cheese than solid titanium alloy, and I guess I'm lucky to be able to relate the few anecdotes I can remember. This segment will also probably be part of Jason's book. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have or trade noteson GP/FBB or whatever- email me at fallendevil@cabocasa.com if you'd like. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy this final segment.

*****************************************

The Last Real Burrito

I wish I could say I was completely loyal to the Burritos and Gram Parsons throughout the years, but it would be untrue. There was a long stretch after Gram died that I didn't listen to the Burritos or Gram at all. I did keep following country-rock in general, and I've always been an Emmylou Harris fan, but after pop culture moved along (I'm not using the term "evolved," because a strong case can be made that it actually "devolved.") and music like disco and punk became dominant, Gram's Cosmic American Music just slipped out of my life. Some of my favorite San Francisco bands like The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver and the Starship (ex-Airplane) et al- were still gigging, but 60's-based stuff seemed really out of touch with the cultural and social changes the United States was going through.

Oddly enough it took a bunch of imposters and one real Burrito to rekindle my love of Cosmic American Music. Sometime in the late 80's our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, ran a tiny ad for the Sweetwater Saloon in Mill Valley that read "One night only! Direct from L.A.! The Flying Burrito Brothers!" My first thought was, "Gee, how did they re-animate Gram?" But I wanted to see the show, intregued by who would have the balls to pass themselves off as the Burritos fifteen years after Gram Parsons died. By this time Chris Hillman had his own strong solo career, and I don't know what happened to the others, but I strongly suspected there wouldn't be too many real Burritos at the Sweetwater...

The Sweetwater is indeed a sweet Mill Valley bar in Marin County, a snug, wooded little area North of San Franciso about 20 minutes. Lots of musicians live in the hills nearby, and the Sweetwater has a long and rich history of presenting talented artists in a relaxed club setting. I once missed a free performance by Van Morrison, for example, who apparently played for a couple of hours after simply calling the Sweetwater and asking if they wanted a "little piano entertainment" that evening. It's an old fashioned pubby place, all dark wood and gilt beer mirrors, lots of stuff hanging on the walls, just the sort of place you'd snuggle into on a cold and rainy evening. But it is very small- 120 people would pack the Sweetwater to the rafters, if you could get that many inside at all.

I was a little late getting to Marin, and the "non-Burritos" were already playing by the time I opened the door and pushed inside the Sweetwater. The club was packed, every table taken, lots of folks standing around the long bar, around the walls and in the aisle. There were plenty of musicians, some of whom I knew, and it was an attentive crowd. Standing far back from the stage, I tried to identify the players. I saw Sneaky Pete right away. His steel had been crammed against the stage wall and so far to the left that his elbow was almost in the aisle that led to the bathrooms in the back. He was literally trapped behind his instrument, and it must have been claustrophobic as hell. I wondered what it felt like for Pete, who once had played venues where the stage was the size of the whole Sweetwater itself.

I didn't recognize any of the other musicians, but it was the standard lineup of bass, steel, drums, two guitars, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. The lead singer/rhythm guitarist was a big guy, with blowdried salt-'n-pepper overstyled hair and neatly trimmed beard, loudly patterned boots, the whole standard "I-are-a-country-rocker" gaudy costume. Can't remember much about the others, except the bass player had a better voice than the lead singer when they let him sing some numbers. I'm sure they introduced themselves, but I can't recall anyone except for Sneaky Pete Kleinow.

I've always thought that Pete is the world's best pedal steel guitar player. I just haven't heard anyone else as innovative and original. Many people have no idea how fiendishly complicated pedal steel guitars are on a technical level, and how difficult it is to play them at all, let alone as brilliantly as he does. Double-neck Emmons steels can have multiple foot pedals and knee levers, each one lowering or raising one specific string a specific partial note. The instrument has return springs, bellcranks, lots of tiny set screws for string tuning, assorted push & pull rods, pedal racks, electronics and pickups, etc. Both your hands are busy doing complicated and precise movements and your feet and knees are flying all over the place. Playing a 6-string guitar is relatively easy by comparison.

The non-Burritos at the Sweetwater played well, I do remember that, but I also remember getting fairly pissed off when the fancy-dan lead singer introduced songs like Sin City, Christine's Tune, Wheels, Juanita and Hot Burrito #2 as being from "our first album..." Excuse me fellas, they might have been from Sneaky Pete's first album as a Burrito, but you were all probably working as busboys or sulking in 7th grade detention when the unstable genius of Gram Parsons brewed up a musically alchemical stew that became The Gilded Palace of Sin. Yeah, I could get pretty huffy and self-rightous...

The non-Burritos had the the Gilded Palace of Sin album songs down note-for-note, and I suppose if you'd never heard the originals you'd think these guys were an ok country-rock band. Except, I'd heard the origins of Cosmic American Music being created, sometimes painfully, sometimes transcendentally, always quirkily. I'd seen the menace, fire, and depth in Gram Parson's eyes, and I'd experienced firsthand the conflicting relationships the real Flying Burrito Brothers shared with each other. These guys at the Sweetwater were simply following dance-lesson footprints that Gram had painted on the floor.

But Sneaky Pete... ah, yes, Sneaky Pete. From the first verse of the first song there was no doubt that Pete still had it. Trapped in his eight-square-feet of working space, Pete took his arrngements and yanked them around like taffey, sometimes spidery and elongated, sometimes compact and fat. He spun out snakey, tortured, bone-chilling riffs on the faster up-tempo numbers. His steel buzzed, screamed and howled, the notes expanding and resonating, reached out like malicious ghostly sonic tendrils caressing the reptile part of my brain. On slower songs he would play softly, sweetly, with a great deal of taste and restraint, the licks superbly complementing the songs and the other players. Sneaky Pete was The Last Real Burrito that night, and I think most of us in the crowd would have paid the price of admission just to hear him. I've often thought that his playing had the potential to be some of the most apocalyptic instrumental music on the planet. Even now when I hear it trapped on vinyl, a pale imitation of the real experience, it sets the hairs on the back of my neck standing up and gives me the willies. Perhaps he's interpreting messages from another dimension and feeding them to us in a form we can absorb pleasurably, but not fully understand.

Pete would get ovations after many solos, and you could see that the crowd was really in awe of the licks this man was laying down. But then I had to pee, and at the Sweetwater, having to pee meant running the gauntlet of a tiny aisle to the left of the stage, in effect almost having to get on stage to access the bathrooms in back of the stage. Making things more complicated was the fact drunks or groupies would often just hang out in this little space, or there would be a line of people trying to get into the bathrooms and you'd be right there in the stage lights, being stared at by everyone else in the bar, so you had to try and squeeze by or wait until your turn came up... you avoided having to pee at the Sweetwater, but nature was calling me.

I got stuck about a foot away from Sneaky Pete while he was playing. The line had stopped dead for some reason, the band was cranking out song after song, and I was standing right next to Pete in the hot, bright stage lights. I was so close I could have touched his fingerpicks and he never would have noticed. But I didn't have a clue about what to do. Should I not look at him? Could I look at him? Maybe a sideways glance once in a while? Could I watch his feet and knees push the pedals, but not look at his face? Maybe just watch his hands? I mean, he was an artist I was absolutely in awe of, and he was performing, and it wasn't like approaching him in the parking lot for a casual conversation. I looked at all the parts of his instrument, then his feet, then his hands, then the strings, and finally over at his face and he looked right back at me. He smiled a little road-weary smile and shrugged his shoulders as if to say"what can you do?" and then the line moved forward and that was that.

Hearing the old songs and especially Sneaky Pete's stunning playing, the last remnant of something so special, energized me. I got out my International Submarine Band, Byrds, Burrito and GP albums and started listening to them again. They sounded so fresh and new to me after all that time. They had just as much appeal as when I had actually seen the band and Gram live. Most importantly it was crystal-clear that the material was important from a historical perspective as well as in a musical sense, much more important than I had realized when I had first been attracted to it and seduced by it. I knew how incredibly lucky I was to have been present at some of the creation, to have seen and heard the original lineup, to have simply been in the same room with Gram Parsons, Sneaky Pete, Chris Hillman, and the rest of the boys when they were making music and history together.

Brian Day October 2, 2000


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 08:33 AM

Fascinating thread. You can count me in also as a long-time fan of Gram Parsons and the original Burritos. My favourites are 'Gilded Palace' and 'Grievous Angel'. In his most recent newsletter, my country music supplier here in Oz had this item:

Gram Parsons - "Another Side of This Life - Lost Recordings 1965-1966" A$32 (Sundazed) Firstly this bears no relation to that horrible set of supposed unreleased recordings that appeared on the dodgy Sundown label. The sound here is excellent being recorded on state of the art (for 1965) reel to reel. The 18 songs include a lot of covers including Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Hamilton Camp & Buffy Saint-Marie. There is also 5 Parsons originals including an early version of one of his signature tunes, "Brass Buttons".

I have not heard it, but I have it on order. I recall that Village Records in the US advertised it in their December 2000 mailer:

Village Records December Mailer

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 08:39 AM

Sorry, that link to Village Records doesn't want to work. The URL is: http://www.villagerecords.com/ Take the 'past mailers' link, then 'December 2000' and scroll down to the first item in 'Reissues'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: GUEST,Blind Desert Pete
Date: 27 Feb 01 - 04:45 PM

I was in Boulder summer of 70 I think and rember the Byrds being booed at Ther concert in Folsum field cause they played "that country shit" instead of eight miles high.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Feb 01 - 05:09 PM

Pete, I saw the post-Parsons/Hillman Byrds in Louisville in 1970, when the line-up featured McGuinn, Clarence Clark and Skip Battin. They played on the big stage at Freedom Hall, built to hold 15000. There were about 125 of us there.

They opened with Lover of the Bayou, and when that was over the house lights came up, McGuinn walked to the front and said "man, the place was full last time we played here. You think they were all Crosby fans?"

They did a great show though. McGuinn was breaking in a new Rickenbacker 12, and he said "my old one was hand-made, and this one was assembled by machines. Funny thing, this one sounds every bit as good."


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Feb 01 - 05:26 PM

My apologies. In the preceding post I mentioned "Clarence Clark"...it was actually the great flat-picker Clarence White.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 28 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM

On New Years Eve, with 1968 turning into 1969, I went to see a show at the Electric Circus in Chicago. The headliners were the Byrds. The opener was Muddy Waters and his band. Sandwiched in between was Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green on guitar. An unbelievable night for music.

The place was huge with a dance floor, and a procenium stage at one end. The place was jammed. I remember (vaguely) being up in the balcony area and having a great, but remote view.

Muddy's band were local heroes and felt right at home in the cavernous building. Muddy commanded the place from the minute he started. Fleetwood Mac was a revelation. Green Manolishi. Albatross. And an unbelievable version of "Yer Blues" from the just released Beatle White Album.

But the Byrds were something like I had never heard. I had seen the Byrds live at least twice before. I had heard "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" and liked it (kinda). But I was not at all prepared for the Clarence White Byrds. Man, they were something. They came on well after midnight, we were all high as angels, and the combination of McGuinn's Rickenbacher twelve and that tone bender that Clarence White used cut through the haze like crystal. The bass player was the one shown on the "Dr. Byrds and Mr Hyde" album, who was only with the band a short time. I believe that Gene Parsons was the drummer.

I remember the opening lick to "Blue" (Had an old dog and his name was blue, betcha five dollars he's a good dog too) and the way McGuinn would wave his finger picks around in the lights to emphasize a lyric. Awesome in the true sense of the word. They played another date at a teen club (The Blue Village in Westmont) outside Chicago a few days later and I got to hear that sound again up close and personal.

That was it for me. I played country and country rock full time for ten years and have pursued that magical sound ever since. One of those apocalyptic moments in my life.

Gosh I love that music. Always will.

Gram, Clarence White, Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn, Steven Stills, Poco, Neil Young, Moby Grape

Thanks for the memories
Jim Bartholomew


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 28 Feb 01 - 06:15 PM

Sorry, I think the name of the place was the Kinetic Playground. It was over 30 years ago, after all, and there were certain substances involved. . .


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 01 Mar 01 - 11:42 AM

If you like this music check out Sierra Records:

Sierra Records PO Box 5853 Pasadena, CA 91117 FAX- 626-355-4065 mail@sierra-records.com

They have VIDIO and CD's of Clarence White and Gram, also live Byrds, and new music!! Enjoy, Steve


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Aug 01 - 12:13 PM

We just rented Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe's reminiscence of his life as a teenage rock critic and chronicler for Creem and Rolling Stone. We enjoyed the film, but I wanted to bring something to the attention of Gram and Emmy Lou fans.

When Cameron goes to an LA after-show party with the band Stillwater, he is walking down a hall when he passes a room with an open door. There, facing each other and singing harmony, are Gram and Emmy Lou, or at least actors who are ringers for them. Since the film is very successful in recreating the feeling of 1973, the scene, though very brief, is quite striking in context.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 07:49 PM

Since Gram's name was popping up on the Folk-Rock thread, thought I'd refresh this for anyone with an interest.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: GUEST,frankie
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 05:26 AM

Thanks for posting these stories LEJ. Regarding the Burritos making the first recording of Wild Horses I'd heard that the Stones sent a tape of it to L.A. and had Sneaky Pete put a pedal steel track on it (which apparently wasn't used in the Stones release) and the Burritos heard and cut it.
You're right Bartholomew, Chris Hillman deserves his due. He co-wrote some great tunes with Parsons and did much of the singing after GP split from the group. And wow! Byrds, Fleetwood Mac w/PG and Muddy in one night.

f


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 Mar 02 - 11:53 PM

Thought I would mention to those of you who have an interest that there is a nice lady on the gramparsons.com website who is printing limited edition tshirts. She currently has available a Sweetheart of the Rodeo shirt (repro of the album cover) and Flying Burrito Bros shirts that feature either Gram on back, or a repro of the Nudie Cross that decorated GP's Nudie suit. Soon to come....repros of the Fallen Angels Tour shirt from 72. Peggy can be reached at peggy_g_hanson@yahoo.com.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 12:55 PM

Thanks for refreshing this thread --- as a newcomer I wouldn't have had the chance to read those great stories. "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" turned my head around too, and the worn old vinyl has recently been replaced with the CD version containing bonus tracks including songs that Gram sang originally before being replaced by McGuinn's vocals. The song that led to my beloved and I discovering that we could make harmonies together was the Gram/Emmylou "Love Hurts" and we still do that and "Hickory Wind" and enjoy turning new listeners on to Gram's music.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 30 Dec 04 - 10:46 PM

Leafing through the latest revision of Rolling Stone's Album Review Reference Book yesterday, I was struck by the reviews of Parson's albums GP and Grievous Angel. My copy of the book from 1983 gave 3 stars to GP ("a flawed but interesting attempt by Parsons to realize his unique vision") and 4 stars to Grievous Angel ("a much more solid effort without many of the weak spots that marred GP"). The new edition gives both albums a 5 star rating ("innovative, groundbreaking, timeless").

Guess some things just age better than others. Or maybe the critics are getting smarter? :>}

LEJ


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Dec 04 - 10:53 PM

I love Gran Parsons music, but.... BORED!


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: open mike
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 01:31 AM

www.gramparsons.com/ -- more info here on this site
by Larry Klug.
also i believe this guy is Gram's brother:
Gene...http://www.stringbender.com/Records/default.htm
he performs with his wife, Meridian Green
http://meridiangreen.com/music.htm
The daughter of folk legend Bob Gibson, Meridian Green grew up in Greenwich Village and came of age on the north coast of California. In 1986 she was joined by ex-Byrd Gene Parsons on what was to have been her first solo tour, beginning a legendary musical partnership. Green has been featured in the New York Times, BBC Radio, Sing Out! and Dirty Linen. She has performed in the UK and Europe as well as the US both solo and as part of the Parsons Green duet and band.

they have some rare byrds l/p's for sale.

Butte Folk Music Society featured Meridian Green
in concert in Chico, Calif. a few years back.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: van lingle
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 08:50 AM

Last autumn I was driving just west of Bozeman, MT. When I picked up a radion station that was playing Gram and Emmy Lou and the Fallen Angels performing live and being interviewed by the jock at some radio station in Long Island. It must have been shortly before Parsons died. I've never been especially captivated by Parsons singing but he was sounding real strong on this recording and Emmy Lou was soaring over top of things like she did and the band was very sharp. The station faded out before I could catch it's call letters so if anyone knows if this thing's available somewhere I'd sure like to know about it. vl


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: michaelr
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 11:56 AM

Gram/Gene Parsons -- no relation. Gene Parsons, however, is co-inventor of the Parsons/White B-string Bender which made Clarence White's unique electric guitar sound. You can still send Gene your Tele, and he'll put one in.

There was a concert here a few weeks ago by a band called Burrito Deluxe, featuring Sneaky Pete, Garth Hudson, and some other guys whose names I've forgotten because their performance was, frankly, forgettable. A yawn. And a shame.

There is something to be said for just hanging it up, at some point.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 01:48 PM

What is Chris Hillman up to these days? I suppose the Desert Rose Band is a thing of the past. Is he doing a solo act? I seem to remember he played a very small venue at an old hotel outside St Louis back in August.
As for the rest of the Burritos, I believe that Chris Etheridge has a music store and still records. Sounds like Pete is still touring with a Burritos "tribute" band. Michael Clarke died in the late 90s of liver failure, after experiencing some success as a painter. I haven't heard anything from Bernie Leadon in a long time, nor Rick Roberts, of the later incarnations.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Dharmabum
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 02:31 PM

Rhino Records has got a pretty good two disc Gram Parsons Anthology set available. A nice mix of about 45/46 songs that Gram recorded with The International Submarine Band,The Byrds,Flying Burrito Bros.
G.P.& The Fallen Angels.
It spends a fair amount of time in my CD player,as does the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album.

D.B.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: michaelr
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 02:53 PM

LEJ -- Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen have been touring as a duo this (last) year.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: pdq
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 08:04 PM

Gene Parsons and Gram Parsons were not related. Gram was born either Cecil Ingram Connor or Ingram Cecil Connor, depending on which 'expert source' you choose. Here is some more from 'the net'...

"...Parsons was just doing his thing and everyone around him scrambled to keep up. Parsons called what he was doing "Cosmic American Music."

Parsons was born into wealth, comfort and unhappiness on November 5, 1946 in Winter Haven, Florida. His birth name was Cecil Ingram Connor. His mother, Avis Snively Connor, was the daughter of wealthy citrus exporters and his father, Cecil "Coondog" Connor Jr., a heroic World War II pilot. Young Gram became interested in music at as a child playing piano and listening to country music. When he was nine he went to see Elvis Presley open for Little Jimmy Dickens and became fascinated. He still practiced playing country music, but now he combined it with Elvis's sneer and rock-and-roll swagger. Soon after he was packed off to military school. His father committed suicide when Gram was twelve and grief stricken Gram became a discipline problem at school. He was sent home where his mother had remarried Robert Parsons who adopted Gram formally changing his name to Parsons in the process. Parsons started playing in high school bands, mostly pop and folk outfits and taking and sharing the drugs and alcohol his mother hoarded. His schoolwork continued to suffer but he still managed (probably with some finagling by his powerful family) to get accepted to Harvard. Shortly after he graduated high school his troubled mother died of acute alcohol poisoning. Scholastically, Gram fared no better in College than in high school but Boston was large enough that Gram was able to find talented musicians that would support his vision. He formed the International Submarine Band in 1965, his first country band.

Gram Parson's headed to first to New York in 1966 and then to Los Angeles in 1967. The International Submarine Band recorded an album, Safe at Home, for Lee Hazelwoods' label, LHI. The album immediately sank into obscurity but Parsons was able to make contacts in LA, including Chris Hillman of the Byrds. The following year David Crosby left the Byrds and Hillman asked Parsons to replace him. Parsons jumped at the chance and broke his contract with LHI, legend has it he walked into the LHI headquarters, smiled and said "I'm singing with the Byrds now, goodbye." LHI did not let him go so easily, and the Byrds had to tone down Parsons participation on Sweethearts of the Rodeo, even going so far as to strip his vocals from the record. Parsons left the Byrds soon after, due to his refusal to tour South Africa then in the midst of Apartheid. Chris Hillman soon followed and together they formed the Flying Burrito Brothers in 1968. Their first album, the Gilded Palace of Sin, was one of those legendary albums of rock and roll: few people bought it, but those that did became cult followers. Among them were the Rolling Stones who fell under Parsons spell. Their friendship was perhaps both the best and worst thing to happen to Parsons: they took him on tour and to their recording sessions, Keith Richards wrote the song 'Wild Horses' for Parsons, but they also got him heavier into drugs, a destructive habit that his trust fund made easily affordable.

In 1971 Gram Parsons decided to go solo. Chris Hillman introduced Parsons to Emmylou Harris and Parsons asked her to join his backing band, the Fallen Angels. In 1972 they recorded GP, his first solo album, which was well reviewed but not a hit. A small tour followed then a second album, Grievous Angel. Harris's vocals at this time were beginning to shine, and during a playback of Hickory Wind Parsons pointed out to her that she was going to be a star. He never saw his prophecy come true, though. Shortly after the recording session finished he left for the desert of Joshua Tree and spent weeks drinking and taking drugs. The binge ended with his death. He was 26 years old. Phil Kaufman, Parsons road manager, managed to intercept Parsons body when it was being taken to New Orleans for burial and drove it out to Joshua Tree instead. Kaufman and his friend Michael Martin doused the body with gasoline and set it on fire, citing an overheard wish Parsons had of being cremated. They were arrested weeks later and Parsons remains were again boxed up and sent to New Orleans. Grievous Angel was released the following January."

One of the police officers said the suspects would be charged with "Gram Theft - Parsons".


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Apr 05 - 12:10 AM

"Shortly after the recording session finished he left for the desert of Joshua Tree and spent weeks drinking and taking drugs. The binge ended with his death."
That's not my understanding of the period of time preceding his death. The definitive Ben Fong-Torres biography indicates that the trip to Joshua Tree was a weekend celebratory fling. Keith Richards states that Parsons had cleaned up during the recording sessions for Grievous Angel, and his system wouldn't tolerate a drug and booze dose that he had once been accustomed to.
There is a quirky movie about the kidnapping and emolating of Parsons' body called Grand Theft Parsons that's loosely based on Phil Kaufman's version of the events. It's fairly entertaining and features a cameo by Gabe Macht as Gram that's eerily accurate. It would have been nice to see a movie that showed some of his life rather than focussing on the freakish nature of his end, though. Still, I recommend it for the hard core fan.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 26 Apr 05 - 03:24 AM

Before the place closed, I used to over and peruse Nudie's Rodeo Tailors in North Hollywood. Nudie is the fellow who made all those swell suits for the Burrito Brothers. He also made outfits for Elvis and many of the Singing Cowboys. All the items in the store were amazing and pretty reasonably priced considering what you were getting. I'm sorry now that I never sprang for a custom duster.

I think the shop cloed in 1995 or 96. I distinctly recall going there in february of 1994 and spending a couple of hours there. They had a book with photos of their 'famous' clients and Gram was in there with a number of shirts, and jackets not typically seen in the more reprinted photos. I believe his daughter has one of the white jackets and a private collector the other. I don't know where the Green one ended up.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 19 Aug 05 - 02:31 PM

I still listen to GP and Grievous Angel frequently, and have sought in vain for anyone able to recapture the soul and sound that Gram and Emmy Lou manifested on those albums.
Good News!! Anyone who has a lasting affection for those classic recording should run not walk to their nearest CD vendor and pick up Begonias by Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell. This is a great album with terrific songs, chilling harmonies and a shit-kicking backup band to boot. You can order at www.yeproc.com if you can't find this, but get it! Cockrell is a veteran of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco, so he has some alt-country credentials, but this album is much truer to the original Cosmic American Music concept than his previous work.
You will love it.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: pdq
Date: 19 Aug 05 - 03:05 PM

Rumor has it that a hotrod club in the San Fernando Valley ended a rallye at a Flying Burrito Brothers concert. They had been told 'ad nauseum' how great this kid named Gram Parsons was. To say that the motorheads were not impressed is an understatement. They were so nonplussed by the show that they renamed their club the Gram-negative Rods.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 19 Aug 05 - 03:50 PM

We're lucky to have these guys (Caitlin and Thad) in our backyard (NC) and I'm just starting to turn on to their music, individually and together. Really good stuff...

Have you listened to any Tres Chicas? Caitlin is a Chica and it also is a great sound if you like Begonias.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 12:57 PM

Van Lingle

This is probably what you heard on the Bozeman radio station...
Fallen Angels Live with DJ chat
And I'll bet you were listening to the Public Radio Broadcast from Montana State University. My old friend Ron Craighead is the programming director there. Terrific station.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: zelger
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 01:01 PM

i love gram parsons. one of the greatest vocals of the last century, albeit an un-sung vocal recognition.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Bobert
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 09:51 PM

Don't know how I've missed this thread but...

Hey, GP brings up many memories, some good, some not...

But one of the best one is gettin' to hear Emmi Lou Harris on his "Grevious Angel" fir the 1st time and been listenin' to and lustin' after her since...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: michaelr
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 10:12 PM

I heard a radio DJ recently call her "Emmyhair Lewis"...


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Midchuck
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 10:17 PM

Harry M. Lewis.

P.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: GUEST,van lingle
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 06:21 AM

Yep, that's the one, LEJ. Thanks and it was the station at Montana State which plays all kinds of great stuff. vl


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 May 06 - 12:20 AM

Blake Madison, my old pal and a helluva private investigator, turned me on to this. Blurry, washed out, but, yep, it's the Burritos themselves on the John Byner Show from about 1970. There's a notable dearth of film of the FBB and Parsons. They appeared briefly in Freak Out!, a 1968 film starring Jack Nicholson, and one in which their music was judged by the producer to be not psychedelic enough and overdubbed, and Altamont which gives you the Burritos from behind during about 30 seconds of Six Days on the Roda. So this thin piece of video memoribilia starring a strangely fey GP, and the uncomfortable-looking Hillman, Leadon, Kleinow, and Clarke, is rather a significant addition to the canon.

Good job, Blake. I owe you five bucks and a fifth of Four Roses for this one.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: jaze
Date: 26 May 06 - 02:30 PM

This must have been after he was hanging out with Mick Jagger. You can see his influence.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 02:01 AM

Flying Burritos fans will be sad to hear that Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Burritos steel guitarist extraordinaire and inventor of the characters "Gumby and Pokey", was signed into a hospital several days ago for very advanced Alzheimer's Disease. His daughter has written a very touching poem that I include here.

It can't be over
Are you kidding
Those vibes that flood
Then emanate
Within, through, out, out...out

I can see his music
I can taste it
It's on my skin
I smell it...it heals me

I need to find the devil
I've got to have something he wants
To keep that sweet music alive


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 03:31 AM

Lonesome EJ - that is indeed very sad news. Thanks for letting us know. I didn't know that about Gumby and Pokey. I have that silly Dweezil Zappa Gumby tribute album from the late 80s, can you believe?

Speaking of Gram - I was just listening to "Do Right Woman:" this afternoon and thinking to myself that David Crosby has to be the world's sweetest male harmonizer when talking about tenors. I'm not so into him as a solo singer but his instincts for harmony and matching the phrasing of his duet partners is uncanny. The version of "Grievous Angel" he does with luncida Williams is another case in point. Crosby is kinda like Vince Gill that way - more perfect as a partner.

of course having been relegated to the role of harmony singer in the act with my older, prettier sister as a teen - I like to stand up for that end of things. Not to brag, but I had two more octaves in my range than her but cuz she had the 12 string and was 3 years older, she was the star and always has been. She's got a nice voice to be sure ut I've always been the frustrated side-woman. Nowadyas I wish i had some mudcatters to sing harmony with. Maybe I need to drive down to San Diego and take up with Amos and his crew. When you've been harmonising all your life and suddenly you have no singing partner, it's like having one of your arms cut off.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 10:21 AM

I highly advise going up to see Amos and his crew. You'll have a ball.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 08:01 AM

lonesome El, that would be "down" for me. I'm in Los Angeles. Amos is in San Diego if I am not mistaken. For someone to go 'up' to see him, they'd need to be in Baja!

Which leads me too this plea: Any mudcatters passing thru Los Angeles do PM me or post a thread. If that fails since I often go AWOL from Mudcat, Batgoddess has my real email and Joybell has my husband's cell-phone number. I had hoped to take Joybell to Mashti Malone's Persian ice Cream stand for some Creamy Rosewater Ice Cream but we didn't connect. instead, I'll take any of you who pass thru. You'll have to pay me with a song. If you're here for a while and need to visit some Gram Holy Sites, we can do that too.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 04:45 AM

The news about Sneaky Pete Kleinow is heartbreaking indeed.

Whatever one's perception of pedal steel guitar (and personally I love it) I defy anybody to listen to Sneaky Pete's segue between "Take it Easy" and "Our Lady of the Well" on the Jackson Browne album "For Everyman" and not be intensely moved. It is simply one of the finest pieces of music ever performed anywhere, anytime, by anybody. A piece of pure genius ...

The following is copied and and pasted from a posting by Jim Siff on the Steelguitarforum, I am sure he won't mind me reproducing it here.

FWIW the annual "Gramfest" in Joshua Tree, in the high desert of southern California, has changed a Gene Clark tribute day (held annually) to a Sneaky Benefit this year. Sneaky has played the thing every year that I know of - I always missed him as he played late sets and I was with early-set bands.

Gram Fest 2006..Friday Sep 29, Saturday Sep 30, and Sunday Oct 1st. Sunday is the Sneaky Benefit Concert.

Joshua Tree is a tiny town; Yucca Valley is not too far. Hotel space is limited; Palm Springs is about 45 minutes away.

I'm trying to work out my schedule to go - it would be great if some of the local Forum folks could show support for Sneaky and all he's done for the steel guitar - and the music industry as a whole. (I realize there's not ANYTHING really "local", but you know what I mean).


If anuybody would like to read more tributes to Sneaky Pete there is a fascinating thread on the Steelguitarforum started by his daughter Anita

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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 04:46 AM

http://steelguitarforum.com/Forum15/HTML/012874.html


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: NormanD
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 10:28 AM

RETURN OF THE GRIEVOUS ANGEL

I'll post this message under this topic because of its possibly limited appeal to the rest of Mudcat.

Could anyone give me their views on what this song is "about"? (And anyone who says three and a half minutes, I'll come and track you down...).

I read somewhere that the lyrics are by an American poet; the music, presumably, is Gram's. A lot of the song clearly makes "sense" eg....'the man on the radio won't leave me alone/he wants to take my money for something that I've never been shown'. Some is less obvious: the 'I thought about a calico bonnet', for example. The rest of it, to my mind, is rolling imagery about mythical America.

Thoughts/interpretations/cranky theories: all welcomed, please

Norman


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 12:52 PM

Oh the news I could bring
I met up with a King
On his head an amphetamine crown

That line is a pretty obvious allusion to Elvis, and very ironic when you know that GP's studio band was Presley's group.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 01:09 PM

No, Gram didn't write the lyrics. Some fellow from Harvard did. it's all in Ben Fong Torres' book Hickory Wind (excellent book BTW)

No, the king with the "amphetamine crown" is a reference to Gram himself as I recall and not Elvis. I'll try and source that for you though. I once asked a friend of Chris Hill's to ask him for me and he didn't wish to dignify the question with a reply apparently being sick of questions about Gram. Still, I have a strong recollection of reading in several sources that it was a reference to Gram and not Elvis. The poem was written by a guy who was a fan of Gram's so it makes sense. Not a 'fan' in today's sense of the word, however.

Perhaps I read it in Phil Kaufman's book? (which has some nasty things to say about Polly's mother Nancy and Polly's paternity BTW, none of which i believe is true)


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: NormanD
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 01:22 PM

So who's Annie Rich?


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 26 Aug 06 - 01:32 PM

I have seen Thomas S Brown credited as the lyricist. Presumably a contemporary of GP's at Harvard.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 05 Oct 06 - 10:46 AM

>>>From: Lonesome EJ - PM
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 02:01 AM

Flying Burritos fans will be sad to hear that Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Burritos steel guitarist extraordinaire and inventor of the characters "Gumby and Pokey", was signed into a hospital several days ago for very advanced Alzheimer's Disease. His daughter has written a very touching poem that I include here.<<<

Lonesome EJ - could you PM me if you know how to contact his daughter or what hospital Pete is in? My husband just reminded me that pete worked with his company in the early 90s and everyone there was very distressed when i causally mentioned this recently. They'd like to send something to him and/or his family.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 10:35 PM

Dave's wife

So sorry I never responded. I haven't looked at this thread in a very long time, and hadn't realized you'd asked for more info. I haven't heard any news lately, but you might check gramparsons.com, go to the bulletin board, find a post from Peggy and email her. She would have the latest on Pete.

Wanted to post this very nearly comlete performance I found on YouTube.
Christine's Tune
I love Pete's hat in the video, and the way Hillman keeps trying to keep a very happy Parsons at arm's length.

LEJ


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 02:22 AM

Sad to report that Sneaky Pete Kleinow has passed away. Adios to a true innovator of the pedal steel.

"Farther along we'll know more about it"


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 03:14 AM

Sad news indeed.

Sneaky Pete - Lifetime Achievement Video


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 03:04 AM

Hey folks! A petition drive to have Gram Parson inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame has been launched. I'm frankly amazed he's not in yet with every body from Dwight Yoakam to Nora Jones naming him as a major influence.
Anyway, I think he sure deserves a spot. If you agree, you can go to this site and sign!


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 21 Apr 11 - 03:43 PM

Emmy Lou Harris' new song, a tribute to Gram Parsons. It's a beauty!
The Road


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Apr 11 - 04:20 PM

Thanks, EJ. Great song.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: pdq
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 02:58 PM

Here is a rather detailed discusion of "Gram Theft - Parsons" complete with pictures of Gram and friends having fun in Joshua Tree NM...

                                                                         http://www.desertusa.com/dusablog/gram-theft-in-joshua-tree.html


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 11:38 AM

The tale of Gram Parsons' death and immolation in the desert is something that grabs the attention of the curious and, for many, becomes the main event in his life story. Hopefully, some will find his music and the soul behind it, and realize the story didn't end at Joshua Tree.


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Subject: RE: Gram Parsons Fans Only!
From: GUEST,llee sutter
Date: 16 Jul 14 - 04:23 AM

Whew, getting lost in these threads, ISO Legend in His Time, led me here, to this unknown site, and started your magnificent story re the fake FBB, and realized I could cut and paste it, and Read it in large type at my leisure.
Path here started with my trying to find out who wrote Legend in his Time, and astonished i could find so little info, obviously not posing my query more precisely. And I did contact Syrus Clarke and confirmed he and David West wrote Legends for Kate Wolf to sing. And the previous search began with hearing about new book on Parsons, thinking of the song Legend which I love to play, according to my notes 30 plus years ago I want to post the lyrics as i recall them here, since I'm too confused to keep trying to figure out where to post them.
If this not appropriate place, too bad.
Some folks say this life ain't worth living
Some folks say that life is just a lie
Yo can take so much from the man, who gave you all he'll can
When he's had enough, he'll just (?) up and die
Chorus: He was a legend in his time, I don't know the reason why
When He sang his songs You know I'd like to cry
Now he's on the other side, standin' on God's golden shore
Singing country music for the Lord.
The singing life was all he ever wanted
You know, the travelin' life can make a man feel tired
Lay your fortune on the line, 26 ain't past your prime,
Now that angel band has one more for the choir.
3:Some folks say that this life ain't worth living,
but if you have a song to sing you'll last a while,
and we'll hear his songs again, comin' in on a hickory wind
Grievous angels right beside him one more time.
And here's link to Kate Wolf singing this tribute on YouTube:
You can hear her now singing A Legend in his Time on YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GpEXIK3Mw8


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