Today’s Cool Live album of the Day (#544 in the Series and #57 in the Live Saturday Night Series) is Gram Parsons & the Fallen Angels, Live ‘73 (Sierra Records)
Today we look at this special album by this special artist on a special day, for today, Gram Parsons would have been 65 years of age. I look at it as a bittersweet day, for as I celebrate his birthday I cannot help but wonder what would have been. What kind of music would Gram have been producing if those that were troubled and in need of help back in the early 70s could have received the help that they do today. Not that we have all the answers today, God knows we still have a long way to go, but I’m sure his chances would have been better.
This live album was not recorded purposely for a live release; it was originally a radio broadcast. It was broadcast from a New York radio station located on Long Island, WLIR in Garden City, New York.
The performance was in March of 1973 which placed it right between his two solo albums. GP was recorded in the fall of 72 and released in January of 73 while Grievous Angel was recorded in the summer of 73 and released in early 74.
It’s a rare opportunity to hear Gram and EmmyLou Harris give a live presentation of their great harmonies. Y0u can hear them on songs such as “We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning” is a fine tune about young lovers worrying about the consequences in the AM.
“Big Mouth Blues” and “The New Soft Shoe” are Gram originals. “The New Soft Shoe” was written about E’L Cord. Cord was the founder of the automobile that carried his name. They only lasted from around ‘29 thru ‘37. That had to be a tough period in history to introduce a new line of automobiles, even for one as innovated as they were.
“Cry One More Time” was always the surprise track for me. I never expected to hear a J.Geils Band song on one of Gram’s albums, even a blues tune like this. It was penned by Peter Wolf and Seth Justman.
This brings us to one of my favorite songs of all-time, that would be Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard’s “The Streets of Baltimore.” This country classic has been covered by many bands, from as recent as The Little Willies to as long ago as Bobby Bare, (the first to record it) to Nancy Griffith, Heartsfield, the Statler Brothers and many more.
“That’s All it Took” was a George Jones song. You have to really nanciknow how to sing a song to take on the “ol’ Possum. “
“Love Hurts” is another that was a covered by many, first brought to life in 1960 by The Everly Brothers, and later made famous to the rock and roll crowd by Nazareth. I’ll take Gram and EmmyLou’s version thank you very much. The first real hit with the song was arguably Roy Orbison’s version.
“California Cotton Fields” is a great version of the Merle Haggard classic regarding labor situations in the good ol’ days. Gram picks it up a bit.
I also love Gram’s “Cosmic American Music” version of “Six Days on the Road.” You knew that had to be on their. You can see Gram sing just a tiny piece of as a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers in the classic movie “Gimme Shelter.”
This is a great live album if you really want to hear what Gram sounded like live. There really isn’t much out there. This is one to get.
– Larry Carta
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- “We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning” (Joyce Allsup) – 3:34
- “Country Baptizing” (Jim Shumate) – 3:50
- “Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man” (Roger McGuinn/Gram Parsons) – 4:33
- “Big Mouth Blues” (Gram Parsons) – 4:34
- “The New Soft Shoe” (Gram Parsons) – 5:02
- “Cry One More Time” (Peter Wolf/Seth Justman) – 5:22
- “Streets of Baltimore” (Tompall Glaser/Harlan Howard) – 3:08
- “That’s All It Took” (Darrell Edwards/Charlotte Grier/George Jones) – 2:45
- “Love Hurts” (Boudleaux Bryant) – 4:31
- “California Cotton Fields” (Dallas Frazier/Earl Montgomery) – 2:32
- “Six Days on the Road” (Earl Green/Carl Montgomery) – 3:04
- “Encore Medley: Bony Maronie/Forty Days/Almost Grown” (Larry Williams/Chuck Berry) – 5:50
- Gram Parsons – Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
- Emmylou Harris – Harmony vocals, acoustic guitar
- Neil Flanz – Pedal steel guitar
- N. D. Smart II – drums
- Kyle Tullis – Bass guitar
- Jock Bartley – Electric guitar