Gram Parsons Another Side Of This Life - The Lost Recordings of Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons Another Side Of This Life - The Lost Recordings of Gram Parsons
The 18 tracks on this disc were recorded by a childhood pal of Parsons', on his Sony reel to reel deck, and have been with him ever since. Only five are Gram originals, with the bulk being covers of material from the likes of Fred Neil, Tom Paxton, Tim Hardin and John Sebastian. It's just Gram and his guitar, so it is pretty folk-y, for the most part; much more so than his twang-y or soul inflected later work with the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, or his late period solo work. The amateur tapes are, not surprisingly, rough and have the occasional bit of distortion, but are generally clear and capture Gram when he was still young and pretty. For the most part, it doesn't approach the sterling quality of what he'd produce a few years later, but the voice is already there and there are early versions of a couple of gems. "November Nights" is just a great song, and the 1965 version of the exquisite "Brass Buttons" is gentler and more vulnerable than the later versions and is the best track on the disc. It alone would have cemented his rep. The CD finishes with a pair of R&B covers, Rev Gary Davis' "Candy Man" and the Coasters' "Searchin'." Both telegraphs his love of R&B and presage the many soul covers the Burritos would do. But as boy-and-his-guitar solo performances, they come off mainly as oddities, with his gritty vocals at odds with the unadorned acoustic guitar. Overall, the set is of more value as a primary historical document than a great recording, although it does contain moments of greatness. (Sundazed)