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Showing 1-10 of 42 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 54 reviews
on February 22, 2017
Listening to “Gilded Palace of Sin” is like watching a friend with impeccable taste put on a gaudy rhinestone-encrusted cowboy suit. You wonder: Is this a joke? How seriously are they taking this? How seriously do I take it? Even the title can be taken two ways; for those unfamiliar with Gram Parsons’ career and the cultural countercurrents of late-60s America, it sounds like an earnest Bible-belt description of a house of iniquity; for those in the know, it’s a tongue-in-cheek caricature of the same.

The key, then, is to withhold all judgments about Christian lyrics and country twang—or, if you already love those things, to withhold judgment of people who make fun of Christian lyrics and country twang—and enjoy the dazzling spectacle.

The starting tune, “Devil in Disguise,” is decent; I’m not a fan of twangy country, so I’m just OK with it, but it is just about as good as twangy country gets. “Sin City” is where the album really takes off; it’s a beautiful simple tune with ornate melancholy flourishes, and the lyrics are fantastic, cryptically providing odd imagery one moment, directly foreboding about divine vengeance the next. “Do Right Woman” is another absolutely lovely song, with elegant guitars and aching vocals; it’s a straightforward song that could fit in anywhere about how “if you want a do-right-all-day-woman, you gotta be a do-right-all-night-man.”

But Gram Parsons is never one to judge the sinner—or if he is, it’s with the understanding that he’s sinned every sin, too. (At least, all the fun ones.) He’s certainly the most eloquent chronicler of adultery out there; only Jackson Browne comes close. And “Dark End Of The Street” nails it perfectly, all the desire and passion and shame, with a man singing to his lover about “living in darkness to hide our wrongs,” and worrying still that “we’re going to pay for the love that we stole.”

Lest anyone think he just mindlessly buys into society’s conventions, he segues from this into the country-tonk draft-dodging ditty “My Uncle;” lest anyone think he’s a pure rebellious hippie, he goes from that to the straightforward (and lovely) ride-or-die Christian tune “Wheels.” All the back-and-forth makes for a compelling listen; you don’t know if it’s all sincere, or you know it’s sincere one moment and mocking the next, or even doing both at the same time, burying meaty sincerity with a thin layer of melted cheesiness. (“Hot Burrito #1” might have been regarded as one of the greatest love songs of the latter half of the 20th century, if it wasn’t covered up with a name more appropriate for a Taco Bell receipt than a track listing.)

So "Gilded Palace of Sin" is an amazing album, messy and delicious, rich and filling, chock full of drug deals and politics and Jesus, cynicism about capitalism and the war machine, and earnestness about love and degradation. (I don’t like the fact that it’s force-packaged with “Burrito Deluxe,” so I don’t even really want to talk about the second album included in this 2-for-1 purchase; it’s all right, and I certainly wouldn’t want to do without Parsons’ take on the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses,” but I always take a breather after “Hippie Boy.” It’s no fun eating two burritos in one sitting.) Less is more, and on the strength of the first album alone, this is a five-star purchase, as glittering and beautiful and fake and real as all the rhinestones in Nashville.
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on May 26, 2014
These two albums on a CD is a bargain. I was a major fan of Burrito Deluxe when it first came out. Great songs, harmonies, and, of course, Wild Horses. It struck me that they had fun making it. Perhaps with all of the concurrent band turmoil it was the opposite. Gilded Palace was not quite my cup of tea originally. Just too country. Now hearing them back to back and like 40 years on, I find gilded to be the real deal and a great album, the more revealing and historically important of the two. But Burrito Deluxe is still great, plus no scratches and pops like my old A & M record. If you are a fan of the Byrds circa Notorious / Sweetheart / Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde or early Poco, pick it up. The fidelity on Gilded is good; Burrito Deluxe does not have the presence or punch the LP had. But acceptable sonics. Buy it.
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on August 27, 2016
Some of the very best of the Alt. Folk Rock genre. Makes it very clear that Gram Parsons was one of the extremely talented and innovative artists like Buddy Holly lived such a short time but gave us so much.
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on April 21, 2016
I can not believe that I waited so long to buy. My older brother had the cassette in 1981. Excellent album. The BURRITO version of WILD HORSES is worth the purchase.
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on September 1, 2009
I can't believe they packaged these two great albums together. These are the only two Bros studio albums with Parsons and by far their best. Sneaky Pete's psychadelic Dobro is amazing. Almost like Hank playing with Crazy Horse. From the very beginning with Christine's Song and Sin City to the big wrap-up cover of the Stones' Wild Horses, this is pure classic. There isn't much I can add that hasn't been said. This is really the only Burrito's disc you need to get. If you really like it, then go for Gram Parsons Archive vol.1 at the Avalon.
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on May 10, 2005
Alt-Country (whatever that is) was created in the span of these two albums by Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman and pedal steel master Sneeky Pete Kleinow. Now nearly 40 years old, the Guilded Palace of Sin stands among the masterpieces of the rock era. Burrito Deluxe is the lesser half, yet outshines most of what this rich genre has gone on, and continues, to create. Pass on the compilations, or buy them later for previously unreleased rarities: this is the essence, along with the double CD of Parsons' GP/Grievous Angel and early Emmylou.
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on January 21, 2017
Great book for Parsons fans !
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on July 2, 2016
A part of America's musical history of fine country music.
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on August 14, 2016
Up to the best of Gram Parsons!
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on November 16, 2016
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