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The Gilded Palace of Sin Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, June 16, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

By 1969, Gram Parsons had already built the foundation of the country-rock movement through his work with the International Submarine Band and the Byrds, but his first album with the Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin, was where he revealed the full extent of his talents, and it ranks among the finest and most influential albums the genre would ever produce. As a songwriter, Parsons delivered some of his finest work on this set; "Hot Burrito No. 1" and "Hot Burrito No. 2" both blend the hurt of classic country weepers with a contemporary sense of anger, jealousy, and confusion, and "Sin City" can either be seen as a parody or a sincere meditation on a city gone mad, and it hits home in both contexts. Parsons was rarely as strong as a vocalist as he was here, and his covers of "Dark End of the Street" and "Do Right Woman" prove just how much he had been learning from R&B as well as C&W. And Parsons was fortunate enough to be working with a band who truly added to his vision, rather than simply backing him up; the distorted swoops of Sneaky Pete Kleinow's fuzztone steel guitar provides a perfect bridge between country and psychedelic rock, and Chris Hillman's strong and supportive harmony vocals blend flawlessly with Parsons' (and he also proved to be a valuable songwriting partner, collaborating on a number of great tunes with Gram). While The Gilded Palace of Sin barely registered on the pop culture radar in 1969, literally dozens of bands (the Eagles most notable among them) would find inspiration in this music and enjoy far greater success. But no one ever brought rock and country together quite like the Flying Burrito Brothers, and this album remains their greatest accomplishment. ~ Mark Deming, All Music Guide


After exiting the Byrds, Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman formed the Burrito Brothers and recorded The Gilded Palace of Sin, an alternative country record before there even was such a thing. It's all thrilling: the country-ish covers of soul classics such as "Dark End of the Street," the distorted pedal-steel fills of Sneaky Pete Kleinow, and the classic country-rock compositions like the bluegrassy draft-dodger's anthem "My Uncle" and the amazingly twangy critique of capitalism, "Sin City." Along with the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo, this is the premier example of Parsons and Hillman's prescient hippie-from-Muskogee aesthetic. Nine of Palace's 11 songs are available on the 21-track Farther Along anthology, an option bargain hunters may want to explore. But there's no replacing the full original. --David Cantwell

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Christine's Tune
  2. Sin City
  3. Do Right Woman
  4. Dark End Of The Street
  5. My Uncle
  6. Wheels
  7. Juanita
  8. Hot Burrito No. 1
  9. Hot Burrito No. 2
  10. Do You Know How It Feels
  11. Hippie

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 16, 1994)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Edsel Records UK
  • ASIN: B0000011SS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,771 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Lots of people pay lip service these days to Gram Parsons. He was the father of all the middle-class folkies who believe that playing "country" music will get them closer to their "roots," whatever they might be. I have nothing against Gram's progeny, but the sad fact is that I can't think of any who are as good as he was. Gram Parsons was a rich kid with a typical Southern musical upbringing: country music and soul. He was just about the first person who loved country music for what it truly was while at the same time intellectualizing it--no small feat. So while some people might complain about the built-in catch in his voice, or the indifferent production values found on "The Gilded Palace Of Sin," I just say that this 1969 album, completely neglected on its release and still pretty much unknown to the majority of America's benighted music fans (try to find a record store that carries the CD), is quite possibly the only country-rock album one need own--beside Parsons' two solo albums, conveniently collected on one CD. As a songwriter Gram Parsons had no peer; he was colloquial, exact, suggestive, and supremely indifferent to the formulas that Nashville hacks have been exploiting these many years since Parsons' untimely death. As with all masterpieces, the success of "Gilded Palace" lies in its perfection of tone--a little stoned, kind of grim, and pretty light on its feet. Maybe Rodney Crowell in his early days matches Gram's work; Dwight Yoakam is a colder, more calculated and nasty version of Parsons, and Gram dated women just as gorgeous as Sharon Stone. There's way too much talk in this musical era about "seminal" artists and whom they influenced, as if the original works of art are just starting points. But I would claim that country music, or whatever you wish to call it nowadays, has never advanced past what Parsons did on three albums made three decades ago.
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Format: Audio CD
I had heard of Gram Parsons well before I listened to the Burritos' amazing debut lp- but I was an avid anti-country kind of person. I just did not want to know. Yet compilation tape after compilation tape I got from friends managed to include Parsons, the Burritos, "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" era Byrds, or a combination thereof. So, finally, in 1988 (I was 18), I found an old lp copy of "Guilded Palace of Sin" at the Salvation Army and bought it for 75 cents. My life has never been the same.
From the opening strumming of "Christine's Tune (Devil in Disguise)", there was this odd blend of country, folk, and fuzzed out psychedelia (Sneaky Pete's steel guitar) that immediately grabbed me and has never let go. Then there were the vocals. Along with the wonderful sense of harmony that Chris Hillman possessed, Gram Parsons was able to blend blues, folk, country, gospel, and rock in one voice- and do them all convincingly. His charisma was obvious. His love for the music undoubted. He was the focal point for much of what would become the LA country sound- Linda Ronstadt, Eagles, Emmylou Harris. They all emulated him, but could never reach his level of talent.
The songs on the lp are all top rate, in my view. The melancholy of "Sin City," the rockabilly of "Christine's Tune," the tongue in cheek anti-war bluegrass/folk tune "My Uncle," "Wheels," their tribute to motorcycles, the up-tempo "Hot Burrito #2," the satire of "Hippie Boy," complete with gospel ending. All genres of music from folk to country/rock are well represented here, with the Burritos more than able to handle of them competenetly.
The results are glorious!
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Format: Audio CD
Though the ironic album cover art is somehow perfect for this complete reassessment of Country music as a popular form, its low-rent look of a shack as the "PALACE" of the title, and the apparently clichéd embroidered Nudie suited band members, perhaps turned off more listeners who were used to eye catching artistry by 1969. Whatever the reason, The Flying Burrito Brothers GILDED PALACE OF SIN, released early in 1969, sold very few albums (under 60,000) and is perhaps the most overlooked, yet influential record album, of all American popular music since its release.

From the compellingly catchy opener "Christine's Tune" any listener who dared to put on this bargain bin record album the year it was released, or for many years after, was hooked and stunned by the richness, gentle thoughtfulness, and amazing tunes within. The epic "Sin City" momentarily stunning for its incredibly authentic Nashville sound, is the most startling song ever written about Los Angeles, its promise and materialism.

"Do Right Woman" by Dan Penn and Chips Moman illustrates the tender romantic in Gram Parsons, providing one of the most tuneful tracks and a classic. "Dark End Of The Street" by Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn, is straightforwardly presented, yet results in universal and heartbreaking exposure and one of this albums most powerful tracks. "My Uncle" apparently the weakest track being dated to the Viet Nam War era, ironically may now be more relevant today with the war in Iraq; nonetheless it is superbly tuneful. "Wheels" is a moderately paced Rocker, a stirring anthem of the road, echoing American individuality, but also reminding the listener of the price one pays for freedom. The interplay of guitar, bass and mandolin here is awe inspiring.
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