Gram Parsons

Another Side of This Life – 2000 (Sundazed)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

You might think this is only an archivists' delight: 18 slices of solo Gram Parsons, hammering away on an acoustic guitar. But these recordings of Parsons in his mid-1960's folkie days, well before he got to The Byrds, the Burritos or the International Submarine Band, may well surprise.

His five-minutes-plus take on Buffy Sainte Marie's "Codine" may not necessarily impress - it seems too scattered - but the deeper you get into this collection of little-heard recordings from what some in the business will call popular music's first country-rocker the more astounded you'll be by what meets the ears. The title track, the yearning "November Nights" (an early Parsons original), a take on Fred Neill's bluesy "That's The Bag I'm In," one of the first recordings of Parsons' "Brass Buttons" and covers of R&B tunes like "Candy Man" and Leiber/Stoller's "Searchin"...this is all like having Gram Parsons live!