Once you start
listening to Gram Parsons you'll want it all. The chart below
includes the top tier Gram Parsons releases. It is broken down
by the bands he recorded with and then we make a
recommendation of how to get the most comprehensive
Parsons collection. We also provide an excellent alternative
in our compromise column if you're on a budget, but we warn
you, you'll likely feel you've been short changed.
The chart is high level and listed by band
Gram played in. It is ordered by our favorite releases, not chorological. We have album
details, reviews, personnel, etc. in separate pages.
In February 2010, SIERRA RECORDS will be releasing a major project, that literally has been in the works for decades, the compact disc release of SIERRA’s 1979 “Gram Parsons-The Early Years”. But this will be no ordinary issue of that legendary, vinyl LP record album. This collectors edition with be a full BOX SET. Packaged in a 12”x12” full color box, this Collectors Edition will be limited to only 2000 sets produced. These discs will be NOT be sold separately.
Our favorite Gram Parsons material is his
solo two albums. The two albums are packaged together, either
on one disc as a two-fer or a three disc box set. They're both great. The box
has better sonics, the three tracks from Sleepless
some delightful alternate tracks, among its benefits.
We have more Sweetheart
of the Rodeo information in the details section. In short,
on disc 1 the
Deluxe Edition disc one adds to the original album the three "Parsons"
songs that had the "McGuinn" vocal replacements, as
well as four bonus tracks. For maximum
enjoyment one needs to reorder the songs and replace the
McGuinn vocal tracks with the Parsons versions, highly recommended. It
sounds sooooo much better this way. Disc two has six International
Submarine tracks and some very enjoyable bonus tracks. They
are mostly rehearsals type and Parsons sings most of
I added an option of a box-set. The Byrds have two, There Is A Season (2006) and The Byrds [BOX SET] (1990).
The one from 1990 has the Parsons material spread out over two discs, which is not how
the album is meant to be played. The box sets are quite good.
Though, our recommendations for The Byrds is:
Sweetheart - covering Parsons.
For Clarence White era, check out our Clarence White page. For the early,
pre-Parsons material, I'm not the biggest fan, so I'd be satisfied with a compilation.
The are numerous Flying Burrito Brothers
compilations. Most combine their first two releases when Gram
Parsons in the band. The two-disc release Farther Along: Best Of The Flying Burrito Brothers
is worth pursuing if you can spend a few more bucks. The
second disc includes seven tracks with Parsons, many of which
appeared on Sleepless Nights, as well as the Flying Burrito
Brothers third album and a few post Parsons bonus
Don't overlook the live archive, Gram Parsons Archive,
Vol. 1: Live at the Avalon Ballroom 1969. It has two of their concerts when the opened up for the Grateful Dead at the Avalon Ballroom on April 4 and 6, 1969. Gram Parson's cover of George Jones'
"She Once Lived Here" is stunning, you get two versions.
Also key is two more great cover songs "You Win Again," and "Long Black Limousine." The sound is
acceptable, it's good, but not bouncing with fidelity.
The International Submarine Band is my
least favorite of Gram Parsons bands. In addition to the
Safe at Home album much of this material is available
on various deluxe edition / Anthology releases. Six tracks, not the same ones, are found on
Sweetheart of the Rodeo
- Deluxe Edition and Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels: The Gram Parsons Anthology.
The best way to own the Byrds with Parsons is the Sweetheart
Heart of the Rodeo Deluxe Edition, so this is our top recommendation to get the
International Submarine material.