The Byrds W/ Gram Parsons
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Gram Parsons - Reviews and recommendations - Discography Flying Burrito Brothers - The Byrds

 

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Gram Parsons - Reviews and recommendations - Discography Flying Burrito Brothers - The Byrds
Gram Parsons - Reviews and recommendations - Discography Flying Burrito Brothers - The Byrds
The Byrds w/ Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons - Reviews and recommendations - Discography Flying Burrito Brothers - The Byrds
Sweetheart of the Rodeo  

Sweetheart of the Rodeo brings Gram Parsons into The Byrds and they did an excellent job of incorporating his strengths into their music, his only album with The Byrds. This album is very strong  that still gets praise as I write this 38 years after its 1968 release. Besides the strong vocals, there is superb musicianship. 

Due to contract disputes, several of Parsons vocals were removed and replaced by Roger McGuinn's; "You Don't Miss Your Water," "Christian Life," and One Hundred Years From Now." If you count these songs as Parsons contributions, using lead vocals as the benchmark, then it breaks down from the eleven tracks on the original album; Gram six, Roger three (all covers), and  Hillman two. Clearly Parsons had a dominating influence as he joined up with a very commercially successful band. I know this is a Byrds release, but this has Parsons footprints, and it's more like they are his backing band. 

There are a few re-issues of this album, the two most common are linked up below. Both have lots of bonus tracks, including the Parsons sung tracks. I'm a big Parsons fan and much prefer those versions. Neither of the re-issues placed the Parsons tracks within the original album. Therefore, for maximum enjoyment one needs to reorder the songs and replace the McGuinn vocal tracks with the Parsons versions, highly recommended. 

What edition is better? The 1997 edition misses the Parsons sung, "You Don't Miss Your Water." Other than that, most of the other differences is that the double disc Legacy edition includes Parsons early band, The International Submarine Band, which is only OK, and then working demos, outtakes, and rehearsal versions. Personally, I like this section quite a bit. The listener hears, band chatter, different riffs and solos, and other delights, notably Clarence White guitar parts, and Lloyd Green's steel guitar. The two takes of the instrumental "All I Have Are Memories" are great examples of this. For the rest of the material Parsons sings most of the tracks and if you're like me, it isn't possible to have to much of Gram's vocals. I probably enjoy the rehearsal material at least as much as the original album versions. In some ways it is like hearing Parsons touring band from '73, The Falling Angels in the sense that they were much looser, and wilder, than the finished studio releases. The comparison is not 100% valid as the '73 Parsons had different a band on tour versus the studio, but the key is the looser, experimental feel to the tracks. The liner notes by David Fricke are quite good. 

For a few dollars more, I'd recommend the double disc, but neither will disappoint.

Worth noting, Gram Parsons Anthology, Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels: The Gram Parsons Anthology includes the five of the six Parson sung tracks, missing is Merle Haggard's "Life In Prison." Also, there have been a few Byrds box sets that include some alternate takes. the most recent release, There is a Season. More details are below.

The Byrds have some box-set that 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. 

Sweetheart of the Rodeo Legacy Edition Audio CD Merle Haggard
Disc: 1

Original album
1. You Ain't Going Nowhere
2. I Am A Pilgrim
3. The Christian Life
4. You Don't Miss Your Water
5. You're Still On My Mind
6. Pretty Boy Floyd
7. Hickory Wind
8. One Hundred Years From Now
9. Blue Canadian Rockies
10. Life In Prison
11. Nothing Was Delivered

Additional Master Takes:
12.  All I Have Are Memories (Kevin Kelly vocal)
13. Reputation
14. Pretty Polly
15. Lazy Days

Master take - Gram Parsons vocals
16. The Christian Life
17. You Don't Miss Your Water
18. One Hundred Years From Now

Radio Spot: 
19. Sweetheart Of The Rodeo Album

Disc: 2
The International Submarine Band: 

1. Sum Up Broke
2. One Day Week
3. Truck Drivin' Man
4. Blue Eyes
5. Luxury Liner
6. Strong Boy

Working Demos, Outtakes & Rehearsal Versions:
7. Lazy Days
8. Pretty Polly
9. Hickory Wind (Nashville version - take 8)
10. The Christian Life (Rehearsal take 7 GP vocal)
11. The Christian Life (Rehearsal take 8 GP vocal)
12. Life In Prison (Rehearsal take 1 & 2 GP vocal)
13. Life In Prison (Rehearsal take 3 & 47 GP vocal)
14. One Hundred Years From Now (Rehearsal take 12 and 13 GP vocal)
15. One Hundred Years From Now (Rehearsal take 14 & 15 GP vocal)
16. You're Still On My Mind (Rehearsal take 13 GP vocal)
17. You're Still On My Mind (Rehearsal take 48 GP vocal)
18. All I Have Are Memories (Instrumental) (Rehearsal take 17 GP vocal)
19. All I Have Are Memories (Instrumental) (Rehearsal take 21 GP vocal)
20. Blue Canadian Rockies (Rehearsal version - take 14)

Product Description
Generally reckoned to be the most important & greatest country-rock album of all time, 1968's Sweetheart of the Rodeo is back in a deluxe reissue that really brings to light the genius of Gram Parsons & the Byrds themselves. Disc one reprises the original album with the vocals Roger Mc Guinn substituted for Parsons due to contractual entanglements, then offers the songs with the original Parsons vocals that first surfaced on the now out-of-print Byrds boxed set. The disc ends with an unreleased Kevin Kelley vocal on 'All I Have Is Memories, presaging the glorious run of rarities on disc two, beginning with the International Submarine Band's lone single for Columbia & three tracks in stereo from their Safe At Home album, then turning to 14 previously unreleased rehearsal & alternate takes from the Sweetheart of the Rodeo sessions.
Sweetheart of the Rodeo Audio CD MP3
Re-issue - 1997
1968
1. You Ain't Going Nowhere
2. I Am A Pilgrim
3. The Christian Life
4. You Don't Miss Your Water
5. You're Still On My Mind
6. Pretty Boy Floyd
7. Hickory Wind
8. One Hundred Years From Now
9. Blue Canadian Rockies
10. Life In Prison
11. Nothing Was Delivered
12. You Got A Reputation
13. Lazy Days
14. Pretty Polly
15. The Christian Life (Rehearsal-Take #11)
16. Life In Prison (Rehearsal-Take #11)
17. You're Still On My Mind (Rehearsal-Take #43)
18. One Hundred Years Form Now (Rehearsal-Take #2)
19. All I Have Is Memories (Instrumental)
Gram Parsons - Reviews and recommendations - Discography Flying Burrito Brothers - The Byrds
Select compilations with Sweetheart of the Rodeo material.
While we recommend the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, many of the tracks are available on various anthology and box sets.
Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels There Is a Season Byrds Box Set
   
7. Hickory Wind
8. You're Still On My Mind
9. The Christian Life
10. You Don't Miss Your Water 
11. One Hundred Years From Now
From disc 3
1. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere 
2. I Am a Pilgrim 
3. The Christian Life 
4. You Don't Miss Your Water 
5. Hickory Wind 
6. One Hundred Years from Now 
7. Lazy Days 
8. Pretty Polly 
Disc 2
You Ain't Going Nowhere
The Christian Life
I Am a Pilgrim
Pretty Boy Floyd 
You Don't Miss Your Water

Disc 3
Hickory Wind 
Nothing Was Delivered 
One Hundred Years From Now 
Pretty Polly 
Lazy Days 
Gram Parsons - Reviews and recommendations - Discography Flying Burrito Brothers - The Byrds

Gram Parsons - Reviews and recommendations - Discography Flying Burrito Brothers - The Byrds
 

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