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Return Of The Grievous Angel: A Tribute To Gram Parsons CD

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The gentle hand of Emmylou Harris guides this tribute to ill-fated country-rock avatar Gram Parsons, which goes a long way toward explaining why this star-studded salute avoids the pitfalls that befall many such projects. Harris got her start harmonizing with the patron saint of alt country, contributing mightily to Parsons's two early 1970s solo albums and reviving selections from his small, but indispensable, oeuvre throughout her career. She has a vested interest in finding a true connection between her former benefactor and this cast of Parsons partisans. Here she bands together a flock of followers who range from obvious offspring (Wilco, Gillian Welch, Whiskeytown) to not-so-evident disciples (Beck, the Pretenders, Sheryl Crow). Parsons's partner in the Flying Burrito Brothers, Chris Hillman, teams with Steve Earle on "High Fashion Queen," and David Crosby (like Parsons and Hillman, an ex-Byrd) joins Lucinda Williams on "Return of the Grievous Angel." Harris harmonizes with Beck on "Sin City" and shares the mic with Crow on "Juanita," one of the collection's highlights. Ultimately, Harris has assembled a homage that would've pleased her old mentor. --Steven Stolder

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. She (Pretenders & Emmylou Harris)
  2. Ooh Las Vegas (Cowboy Junkies)
  3. Sin City (Beck & Emmylou Harris)
  4. $1,000 Wedding (Evan Dando & Julianna Hatfield)
  5. Hot Burrito #1 (The Mavericks)
  6. High Fashion Queen (Chris Hillman & Steve Earle)
  7. Juanita (Sheryl Crow & Emmylou Harris)
  8. Sleepless Nights (Elvis Costello)
  9. Return Of The Grievous Angel (Lucinda Williams & David Crosby)
  10. One Hundred Years From Now (Wilco)
  11. A Song For You (Whiskeytown)
  12. Hickory Wind (Gillian Welch)
  13. In My Hour Of Darkness (The Rolling Creekdippers)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 6, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: July 13, 1999
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Almo Sounds
  • ASIN: B00000JMXD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,730 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Matt Coker on January 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
RETURN OF THE GRIEVOUS ANGEL is far too good for the tribute album stamp. Tribute albums are known for being notoriously bad, offering second or third rate version of songs by an artist, with arrangements similar to the originals. However, none of this is present on this exceptional album. Part of the reason might be the strenght of Gram Parsons's song. Another might be the fact that the ultra-talented Emmylou Harris served as executive producer. The artists who made the recordings also have a remarkable amount of talent listed in order of appearence on the record: The Pretenders, Emmylou Harris, The Cowboy Junkies, Beck, Evan Dando, Julianna Hatfield, The Mavericks, Chris Hillman, Steve Earle, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, David Crosby, Wilco, Whiskeytown, Gillian Welch, The Rolling Creekdippers. The arrangements of these songs are intriging, and perfectly performed. "She" is a beautiful song, which sounds natural, but not identical to, the arrangements of Gram Parson's original. "Ooh Las Vegas" is completely re-worked, which is a brand new sound experience, sounding almost other worldy. "Sin City" is an outstanding duet, when hearing this for the first time, I got a clearer meaning of the song. "$1,000 Wedding" is a beautiful, and powerful song. The Mavericks give "Hot Burrito #1" a new great flavor, keeping the song fresh and eager. My second favorite on the album (next to the title track) is "High Fashion Queen" sung by the brilliant talents of Chris Hillman and Steve Earle. The song is great country-rock music, and flawlessly written. Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow sound like angels performing "Juanita", the harmonies are gorgeous.Read more ›
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Isn't it a little outragious that we now have not only this wonderful tribute Album but three others to choose from after spending untold years combing through Import Bins to find yet another elusive Gram Parsons or Burrito Bros Track? All the sudden there is a Gram-Glut, but.. you don't hear me complaining! If you are new to your Gram-Fandom, this here is the first Tribute Album you should buy for several reasons: First, this one gathers together a unique blend of the most memorable Gram tunes performed by a group of artists who inherited the mantle he passed on. Other Tribute recordings have a more varied mix of performers and the renditions of the songs do not always sound "Gram-like" or even true to the origins of the material. The second reason to start with this one is that it is the only one Produced by Emmylou Harris, Gram's singing Partner in life and star in her own right. She brings an honesty to the production and hearing her familiar harmonies with other singers on Gram Standards lends a very authentic feel. The third reason is simply the recording quality. The sound on this CD is pure and clear. I found the others to be a little less so and muddy at times with the quality from track to track varying wildly. Not so here, each track shines on its own. I was very surprised by Emmylou and Beck's version of SIN CITY since it varied so greatly from Emmylou's earlier rendition on one of her own albums. This time she opts to sing an alto harmony. Very nice. As someone who collects all versions of SIN CITY, suffice it to say, I am a connosieur of this song and this version is one of the best I have heard. I now rank it my number two fave version after the original. My third fave version is Emmylou's original and my fourth is Dwight Yoakum and kd lang's. I could go on but I won't. Start here and you won't be sorry. This is a standout.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Gerry Gunnigan on November 30, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I eagerly awaited the release of this album and now that I have been kicking it around for a couple of months, I feel that the time is right for a few comments. Ahem, here goes...
Unlike the other Gram tribute on the market (Conmemorativo - A Tribute to Gram Parsons, Rhino Records 1993, go have a browse, it's sure to be here somewhere), the versions of Parson's songs are mostly faithful readings of the originals. Sometimes that works, (Sheryl Crow's and Emmylou's Juanita is spine-tingling); sometimes it is just karaoke. (Mr Dando, please stand up). Wilco's version of 100 Years From Now is fabulous. It shows the quality of the song; if in doubt, slip on Sweetheart of the Rodeo and listen to the original alongside it. (Incidentally, if you have not heard Conmemorativo, it is worth getting just for Something Happens' version of Brass Buttons)
One of Gram's strengths was his delivery, the way he sang his own songs or inpterpreted others. I have heard many different versions of I'm Your Toy, but nothing comes near the original. Why try to improve on perfection? Sin City has by now been covered to death, and the version on Gilded Palace of Sin is still the best.
If this album introduces more people to the delights of Gram's music, it will have done a fine job.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It was midnight and I stumbled upon a show called West 57th Sessions, from New York and unbeknown to me, what I was watching was a live performance of this tribute CD, "Return of the Grievious Angel." I managed to record the remaining 5 or 6 songs and hope to see it on video one day.
With little familiarity to Gram Parsons, I was so taken by this tribute that was so well done, with fine musicians. Emmylou Harris, who sang with him before he died in the 70s so young, has kept his music alive and introduced him to new generations of music lovers.
On the show, I was introduced to Beck, I thought to myself..."who is this guy who sounds like Parsons?"
A favorite of mine, is Steve Earle and Chris Hillman on "High Fashion Queen. " The group consisted of Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Cowboy Junkies, Elvis Costello, Wilco, David Crosby, Whiskeytown, etc. How wonderfuls the tribute of "In My Hour of Darkness" by the Rolling Creekdrippers.
Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow duet to "Juanita", the mixture of solid sweet voice of Crow and that soothing cracking voice of Emmylou blend so perfectly.
If ever there is a presence of Gram Parsons, it is here! This is truly more that a tribute, it is as haunting as Gram Parson was, a young man who died too young, too hard!
If you want to hear Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris duets, she has a 3 CD box set that features duets with Parsons, probably the best part of her CD collection. ....MzRizz
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