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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Grievous Angel

Gram Parsons

1974

Buy At Rough Trade
Grievous Angel
Album Summary

Grievous Angel is the second and final solo studio album by Gram Parsons, compiled from summer 1973 sessions and released four months after his death from a morphine and alcohol overdose in September 1973. Prominently featuring a young Emmylou Harris, Grievous Angel received great critical acclaim upon release but failed to find commercial success, a fate shared with Parsons’ previous efforts solo and with The Flying Burrito Brothers. Grievous Angel peaked at number 195 on the Billboard charts. Despite its modest sales, it is viewed as a successful example of the hybrid between country and rock and roll Parsons called "Cosmic American Music". It was voted number 324 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000). In 2012, the album was ranked number 425 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.88

Votes

9508
Genres
Rock
Country

Reviews

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Sun Mar 26 2023
4

Petition to have Emmylou Harris' name added to the album. Best track: In My Hour of Darkness

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Tue Oct 10 2023
1

is it really that hard to pronounce graham?

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Sun Feb 12 2023
2

The story of his wife not liking his singing with Emmy Lou Harris, enough so to remove her picture from the cover, was WAY more interesting than this album.

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Fri Jan 05 2024
5

Parsons' vocals are emotive and genuine, perfectly suited to the lyrical themes. The harmonies, particularly with Emmylou Harris, are a standout feature, adding depth and resonance to the tracks.

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Wed Mar 01 2023
1

The absolute best thing I can say about this album is that its mercifully short. Its all uninspired slide guitar and country twangs which is so far from my jam they aren't even on the same continent. I thought there was a little bit of potential with the rock and roll bits but even that comes across as uninspired to me. I've given some country albums a 2 in the past because they are exceptionally charming but I don't feel any personality from this. Its a matter of perspective of course and I'm sure for people who like this genre it works but I can't see how, even if you are a country fan, that this sets its self apart from a sea of other "kinda ok albums" Nothing here for me, 1/10

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Fri Mar 03 2023
5

Grievous Angel is a bit too apt of a descriptor for Gram Parsons. For all his tragically short life, he had accomplished so much: reinventing country music by fitting it into a rock and roll sized hole and thus altering the trajectories of the varying bands that he spent time in. By the time he started going solo, he was already a legend in the making. His prior album, GP, stands as one of the all time great debut albums and his collaborations with an emerging Emmylou Harris remain songs worth celebrating. Grievous Angel, as posthumous as it may be, picks up where GP left off by giving the listener an equally melodic and compelling set of songs that drew from the well that Gram created. An absolute shame that his light burned out quick, for we may have been witnesses to what he could have been capable of.

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Wed May 17 2023
5

The swan song for Gram Parsons is also the coming out party for one Emmylou Harris. Their version of "Love Hurts" is the standard. You can't help but imagine the sort of future they would have had together, nevermind the fact that the great Emmylou went on to a legendary country music career that Gram Parsons could have enjoyed had not had so many demons frighten him. As it is, we have Parsons to thank for giving us the best Byrds album, The Flying Burrito Brothers, the Nudie Suit, and Emmylou Harris.

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Fri Mar 10 2023
4

GP is a better record, straight-up, though this is awfully good and highly polished perhaps excessively so. “Brass Buttons” and “Hickory Wind” are best cuts. There's just the slightest feel of this being a lark that keeps it from top rank of records.

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Thu Aug 10 2023
4

I am not a country fan but I think I have developed some appreciation for Gram Parsons, what he represents and all the lore surrounding him: what’s true, what’s not, the times he delighted his audience, the times he embarrassed himself. Grievous Angel is a great album, full of energy, heart, and passion. The voices arrangements are charming and the instrumentation is outstanding. In general, it’s a unpretentious record that doesn’t take a lot of time from your life and makes you happy.

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Wed Sep 20 2023
4

I try to be as open as I can when it comes to listening to music. I enjoy lots of different genres and I want to enjoy as many different kinds of music as I can. That is really the whole reason I'm doing this 1001 albums thing in the first place. But one genre I've always stayed away from was country. I think I've realized after listening to this that I just don't like modern 21st century country music. Country music that is designed entirely to top charts. They all sing about the same things. Their voices all sound the same, and the music all sounds the same. It is just drab to me. I couldn't care less for it. But thankfully, I can say that this Gram Parsons album displays none of those characteristics. It does pretty much the opposite of everything I just said, and I love it for that. Gram has a wonderful voice that still has a country twang to it. And his guitar work along with James Burton is fantastic. Each song on this has plenty of heart to it, and you can tell there is real passion behind these songs. Although he may be singing about similar topics to those in modern country music, like love, religion, and heartbreak, the grace and soul he puts into it makes it far better. "$1000 Wedding", for example, is a beautiful song led by the piano. Also, can I just say that the pedal steel guitar is one of the coolest instruments ever, and it sounds awesome. Gram Parsons and this album give me hope there is more country music out there I can enjoy, because there is truly something great here, and I would love to hear more of it.

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Wed Dec 13 2023
3

No. 65/1001 Return of the Grievous Angel 4/5 Hearts on Fire 2/5 I Can't Dance 3/5 Brass Buttons 4/5 1000$ Wedding 4/5 Medley 3/5 Love Hurts 3/5 Ooh Las Vegas 2/5 In My Hour of Darkness 3/5 Average: 3,11 Okay-ish country rock

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Sat Dec 30 2023
3

Enjoyable country rock with a light psychedelic tinge. I could probably write an essay on the reasons why country isn’t necessarily for me, but ultimately this was an enjoyable listening experience.

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Thu Apr 20 2023
5

Taken too soon, he's a country rock genius and this album is fantastic. Great Emmylou Harris vocals as well. 5 stars.

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Sun Nov 19 2023
5

Wonderful songs, sung beautifully, with a lovely cameo from Emmylou Harris. Flawless alt-country / Americana / folk-rock. Right up my street, and a huge influence on many artists I love.

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Thu Nov 30 2023
5

I was surprised. I didn't expect this to be a country album. It was a great change of pace, and right in my wheelhouse. Very enjoyable!!

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Sun Dec 10 2023
5

Very pleasant and melodious!

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Fri Dec 22 2023
5

Loved this and went down a rabbit hole on his bio, then binged on Emmy Lou as a follow-up.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

I had never heard of this artist before. Not sure why it is described as rock country... sounds all country to me. Loved the album. I went and listened to his first album which is awesome too. 5/5

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Thu Feb 29 2024
5

One of my all-time favorites. Too bad he didn’t make it past 27, can only imagine what his career would have been.

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Sat Mar 09 2024
5

Ken Burns seems to be doing his job as I appreciated this a lot more than I expected. The hoedown situation in the Medley was particularly enjoyable, sounds like a party I want to be at. Also had a thought that at it's happiest, country could be up there with the most unselfconsciously danceable music ever.

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Fri Mar 15 2024
5

I was not a fan of country music at all. But I used to read a lot of those expensive UK-import music mags. Around the year 2000 it seemed like every magazine I picked up over a six month period had an article about how amazing and influential Gram parsons was. Article after article. So, when I stumbled across a budget CD release of GP and Grevious Angel on a single disc, I thought "hell, I should give this a shot." I took it home and threw it on the player, and out came... country music. "Blergh," I thought "country music!" and nearly turned it off. But I didn't. In fact, I played to it on repeat for a couple of weeks, and then one day the penny dropped. I could hear past the aesthetic trappings of the genre and hear the actual songs. And the songs are really great, particularly on this album. I was surprised to read that he was under-prepared with material for the sessions, so it was a bit of a grab-bag of a few new songs (hastily compiled), covers and older tracks that from Parsons' previous bands. He was not in a good way drug and alcohol wise, and in fact died before this could be released. That said, he is in better voice than on GP where you can hear the DTs. He's a soulful singer, which overcomes his technical shortcomings. And he is superbly supported by Emmylou Harris, whose harmony singing is beyond sublime on both albums. It's a crack band too, based around Elvis's TCB band, with appearances by Bernie Leadon, Byron Berline and Linda Ronstadt. I gather Gram was so distracted that he basically let the band arrange themselves, which was a good call. I find it hard to split between this album and its predecessor, GP, as inevitably listened to them both together, being on a single CD. They are masterpieces, although they reflect the flaws of their author (and substantial flaws they were). But those imperfections make it a more human expression and easier to love. I have since learned to appreciate and sometimes even love country music, and these albums were my gateway into that whole genre. For that, I am ever grateful.

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Fri Mar 15 2024
5

This was his second solo album, but it was the one I heard first. It’s important to note here that when you flip the original album cover over, the biggest words are “with Emmylou Harris” at the top of the sleeve. This was the first time I ever heard Emmylou, and there’s absolutely no doubt that she embellishes the album considerably. I know this record like the back of my hand. She isn’t listed as a backup singer. It says “Vocals-Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris.” There are beautiful ballads (Hearts On Fire, the oft-covered Love Hurts, originally an Everly Brothers’ hit, Brass Buttons & $1000 Wedding). Every track’s a winner, but the 2 absolute highlights for me are Las Vegas (which Parsons co-wrote with ex- Blind Faith & Traffic bassist, Ric Grech) & the Medley Live from Northern Quebec : (a)Cash On The Barrelhead (a Louvin Brothers’ classic) & the great Hickory Wind (co-written by Parsons & ex-bandmate Bob Buchanan). This stands beside Iris Dement’s Our Town as one of the very great “hometown” songs. (And the medley wasn’t sung live. The applause was fake). A great album.

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Fri Mar 15 2024
5

Excellent album. Probably the best of the Parsons repertoire, and really shows what a musical loss he was. The band, mostly Elvis's TCB rhythm section, minus Jerry Schett, cooks. The guests, including future Eagle Bernie Leadon, Linda Ronstadt, and legendary fiddler Byron Berline are inspired. Parsons and Emmy Lou were magic together. Parsons wife was suspicious and so excised Emmy Lou from the cover. She really shouldn’t have done that. It’s really as much an Emmy Lou album as a Gram one. And that makes it terrific.

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Sun Mar 17 2024
5

Oh Emmylou, when you come in after the first two bars! Such a great duo, wonderfully complimentary voices. Hell of a band, great songs.

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Sun Mar 24 2024
5

An manchen Tagen braucht man genau diese Musik, nichts anderes. Hervorragend!

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Wed Mar 27 2024
5

Day83 - i’m glad to see this album on here. truly one that should be heard

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Mon Apr 01 2024
5

You'd give 5 stars just for Gram and Emmy-Lou's heart rending performance of Love Hurts. Actually you'd give 5 stars just for that last exhalation of those two words. But it's backed up by a glorious collection of what makes country great.

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Mon Apr 01 2024
5

I used to be against any music with any amount of twang in it. Then I got into old Wilco and that was my gateway to country and Americana. I’m so glad because it opened me up to Gram Parsons, and this is one of my favorite albums now.

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Tue Apr 16 2024
5

Really lovely and kind of sad knowing the background of this album. Emmylou Harris complements Gram Parsons beautifully. Special.

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Tue Apr 16 2024
5

This is exactly the kind of album I want in this project: an album by an artist whose name is more familiar to me than their music. And it's a bonus when the music is this good. Emmylou Harris is a bonus here. Very, very fine.

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Tue Apr 16 2024
5

On some days, this work probably be a bit too twangy for me to love, but today it suited me just fine.

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Tue Apr 16 2024
5

Country folksy goodness plus Emmylou Harris. What's not to like?

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Fri Mar 03 2023
4

to be honest i only listened to a few songs, but I actually liked it. good folk music, good voice

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Mon Mar 13 2023
4

It was pretty good. Nothing too extraordinary about it but I enjoyed it. 7/10

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Fri Mar 17 2023
4

God this album went bananas. Favourite tracks are probably track 2 and I think 4? Beautiful soundscapes great stuff from Garth brooks

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Wed Mar 29 2023
4

Little bit of twang to this, a pretty enjoyable listen

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Thu Mar 30 2023
4

J'ai le gotu de dire que c'est un bon album générique de Country comme il y en a beaucoup sur cette liste. J'ai aimé, mention special pour Quebec :p 4

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Thu Apr 13 2023
4

Pretty nice country, and I like how Parsons’ back-up singer compliments him. Maybe not the most exciting sound out there, but it works pretty well together. B-

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Thu Apr 13 2023
4

Pretty decent old school country. I'm a sucker for a lap steel guitar, so that bumps it up for me too.

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Sun May 28 2023
4

These songs are smooth and frictionless, it's hard to find anything wrong with them - does that mean they're perfect, or does it mean they're boring? The only real moment of confusion for me was the random live track. Ok, I'm reading now that the live track was fake, with canned applause, which actually makes it even more confusing. Overall though, really solid songs and performances.

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Thu Jun 08 2023
4

I thought this was a very good country album-- I love Emmylou Harris-- but not something I see myself revisiting

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Mon Jun 19 2023
4

Cosmic American Music. It's great revisiting Parsons who was easily the best known of this genre of 70s country music that has spawned so much interest in mining compilations fromt he likes of archival labels like Numero Group. This record is beautiful and sound such a part of the fabric of American music. An absolute pleasure to listen to.

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Tue Jun 20 2023
4

This is really Parsons & Harris, their voices combine excellently with each other.

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Tue Jun 20 2023
4

Had not listened to Grievious Angel for a long time (usually prefer to go for Sweetheart of the Rodeo or so) but GA is an excellent album of course: perfect vocals, best version of Love Hurst, several other 5-star songs such as 1000 dollar wedding, in my hour of darkness. The other songs are obviously strong as well, but I care less about them. Overall score: 8/10 (mainly 3-star and 4-star songs and three absolute 5-star songs)

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Mon Jul 03 2023
4

i liked it a lot more than i expected to. i went in expecting modern country, which i find absolutely intolerable, but i found this a lot more pleasant and folksy. it's not really exciting, but it's nice enough that i can't give it a three, which i wanna reserve for really 'ok' stuff. sounded a lot like fallout new vegas music (which makes me want to play it again). pretty nostalgic-sounding, it reminded me of hawaiian music. this is pretty much the only form of country music i can tolerate; four stars.

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Sat Jul 08 2023
4

Always liked this sound from the 70’s with the melding of country and soft rock.

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Mon Jul 17 2023
4

Cosmic American music as described

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Fri Aug 04 2023
4

Emmylou makes everything better, yeah?

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Mon Aug 07 2023
4

I enjoyed this quite a bit. An Emmylou Harris guest spot is always appreciated ttoo.its too bad Gram passed away so young.

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Mon Aug 14 2023
4

Great harmonies from Emmylou Harris, clean production. I'm a sucker for a slide guitar. Favorite tracks: "Return of the Grievous Angel", "I Can't Dance", "Medley Live from Nothern Quebec"

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Tue Aug 22 2023
4

I don’t know what you’d call Grahams sound. Well, besides fantastic. Mixing country, blues, bluegrass and folk with a little help from friend Emmylou Harris he crafts one of the 1970s first country releases. A simply produced expertly executed melange of sound and feeling. A true artist gone far too soon.

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Thu Sep 07 2023
4

Gram Parsons va brillar més en els seus discos en solitari que amb els seus treballs amb bandes tan documentades i reivindicades com The Byrds i The Flying Burrito Brothers. En aquest segon -i últim- disc sota el seu nom deixa bona mostra del seu talent en temes com el que dona títol, 'Brass Buttons', 'Hearts on Fire', 'In My Hour of Darkness', o en la bonica versió de 'Love Hurts'. Country, però variat i divers, un molt bon disc de música

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Tue Sep 19 2023
4

Some good songs, Emmylou Harris deserves as much credit as Gram though.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
4

Really great album and I largely hate Country music (mostly contemporary Country). That it was a nice listen and even more impressive considering he died at 26. 7/10

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Thu Sep 21 2023
4

Force me to listen to this a few more times I might start liking it! Standouts: Love Hurts 3.5

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Wed Oct 04 2023
4

Country is always nice to me, but it's a bit plain

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Mon Oct 09 2023
4

No johan onpas hyvä. Ehkä paras kuulemani kantrilevy. Voisi ostaa cd:nä autoon road trippejä varten, jos omistaisin auton.

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Fri Nov 03 2023
4

Classic country, Gram Parsons even has the authentic real life experience which makes the album that much more genuine. Country music at its core can be an excellent story told thru song of real experiences both hard or joyful. Somewhere along the timeline soft southern boys grabbed hold of it and ruined the genre and made a mockery of it. It’s coming back around but what Parsons and Emmylou Harris did here was genuine country music, boisterous Cash on the Barrelhead was a riot and the toned down twang of Hearts on Fire was beautiful. The story of Parsons death and following theft of his body only add to the lore. Great twang! 4 stars

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Fri Nov 10 2023
4

I can see the soul on display, and I get the tragic bent to it. But I do think it is maybe a notch down from 5, due to lacking a strong shine for me.

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Fri Nov 10 2023
4

I never knew much about Gram Parsons other than that he was involved with the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers and was very influential in bringing a country flavor to rock. So, I took the opportunity to go down a Gram Parsons Wikipedia rabbit hole while listening to today's album. Here are a few interesting things I learned: He died at only 26 years old, after making this album but before it was released. Very sad. His wife was very jealous of Emmylou Harris, and when Parsons died, she took the opportunity to remove Harris as an equal partner on the album, relegating her to a credit on the back of the album, and removed one song (Sleepless Nights) that heavily featured Emmylou. After he died, his friends, knowing that he loved Joshua Tree and wanted his ashes scattered there, stole his body, drove it to Joshua Tree in a borrowed hearse, poured 5 gallons of gasoline in the open coffin, and threw in a lit match. They were arrested, but there was no law against stealing a dead body, so they were just fined for stealing a coffin and leaving his remains in the desert. Now those are some good friends. Okay, onto the music. I'm funny about country, because some of my favorite music is country/alternative country or whatever you want to call it. Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Wilco, The Be Good Tanyas, and others of that ilk are among my all-time favorite artists. But if the country veers too much into "traditional" country territory then I really dislike it. For me, this album falls right in the middle. I like it, but it's maybe a bit too country-ish for me. Regardless, I'm giving it 4 stars out of respect for the influence that Gram Parsons had on music in his short career.

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Fri Nov 10 2023
4

I love Gram Parsons and could listen to him as much as any musician ever, but it’s not a perfect album!

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Mon Nov 13 2023
4

Cosmic Country is a lovely genre that I wish didn’t become the stomp n holler genre it is today for California slow rock. The Flying Burritos have a little more adventurous tendencies with their guitar solos, but as a stand alone project this is also great! I love Grams style, and I love the matchup with Emmylou. You could tell me this is outlaw country and I would believe it. Exceptional songwriting and exceptional attention to the detail.

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Sun Nov 19 2023
4

Once I was at a party/bluegrass jam where someone sang Hickory Wind with the melody just a little different at that "it makes me feel better" chord change. It was one of the best things I've ever heard and I'll never hear it again. This album also rules. music: appreciated. (⌐■_■)

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Wed Nov 22 2023
4

A great country album. Emmylou Harris’ vocals ties it all together so beautifully.

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Sun Dec 10 2023
4

This was really solid, classic country. I enjoyed it.

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Fri Dec 22 2023
4

HL: “I Can’t Dance”, “Hickory Wind”, “Love Hurts”, “In My Hour of Darkness” Idk how many versions of “Love Hurts” I’ve listened to at this point but this is easily one of the most moving. Also GP seems to be having more fun here (aside from the devastating ballads) doin his own thing than he did in Sweetheart of the Rodeo! December 21, 2023

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Sat Dec 23 2023
4

I'm not a country fan but there is something warm and vulnerable about this. Will explore more.

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Tue Jan 02 2024
4

Tennessee country at its finest. I'm guessing this is the original love hurts song as well.

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Sun Jan 07 2024
4

Great album what a voice tragic story.

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Sat Jan 13 2024
4

This was such a wonderful change from most of my recent albums -- I will definitely listen again.

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Mon Jan 15 2024
4

Second time listening to this record as well. Great soft-rock country music. Certainly one of the top artists that likely has his best auras when he died.

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Wed Jan 17 2024
4

Mellow rock album with many lovers tunes. It's enjoyable

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Thu Jan 18 2024
4

So far really like the album. It is soothing and enjoyable. Reminds me a little bit of Dan Fogelberg and John Denver :)

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Fri Jan 19 2024
4

Recorded right before his death, Gram Parsons left behind a wonderful document of his influence on country. Truthfully, this is just as much an Emmylou Harris album as it is a Gram Parsons album. The two were close contemporaries, leading her to be invited on to provide vocals for all but one song. They are especially great on the live medley that opens side B. Truly, everything about Grievous Angel is magnificent, oftentimes seeming like the rest of country music is trying to catch up to Parsons. What an album.

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Thu Jan 25 2024
4

Warm, engaging, imperfectly pretty, full of heart. Grows on me more each time I hear it. The pasted together quality of this album is hard to ignore, but there are still quite a few charmers to find on here. Gram Parsons' vocals with Emmylou Harris are the best thing about this album. They have a bittersweet chemistry that is rare in music. Fave Songs: Love Hurts, Return of the Grievous Angel, In My Hour of Darkness, Hearts on Fire, Brass Buttons

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Thu Jan 25 2024
4

This is a good album, I liked it a lot. My only criticism is that it seemed like occasionally the lyrics tended to meander a bit. Having said that the music is great, and there are some really quotable lines. Some of my favorite tunes on the album were Grievous Angel, Brass Buttons (which is very reminiscent of The Eagles’ Tequila Sunrise), Cash on the Barrelhead/Hickory Wind, Love Hurts (yes THAT Love Hurts), Ooh Las Vegas and In My Hour of Darkness. The addition of Emmylou Harris’ vocals on several of the tracks really adds to the experience.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
4

I'm not into country rock usually but this is an exceptionally great album. His and Emmy Lou's voices were so beautiful together.

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Fri Feb 02 2024
4

I listened to 4 songs, I like his folk country style. American music! 🇺🇸💪🏼

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