Gram Parsons was a master songwriter both on his own and in collaboration with others. It is no wonder that his songs are covered by many artists. I have picked some of the best ones and hereby present my Top 7 Gram Parsons Cover songs.
1) Jay Farrar’s wonderful rendition of Drugstore Truck Drivin’ Man (and Christine’s Tune as a bonus). Jay Farrar has a great voice, and he’s a good performer, this music just fits. He gets to pay tribute to the country part of his roots. Just fantastic!
“He’s been like a father to me
He’s the only DJ you can hear after three
I’m an all night musician in a rock ‘n’ roll band
And why he don’t like me, I can’t understand”
Written By Gram Parsons and Roger McGuinn
The song Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man details a moderately unpleasant on-air exchange between Ralph Emery and Roger McGuinn, the lead singer of the 1960s rock group The Byrds, concerning their 1968 appearance at The Grand Ole Opry. In that performance, the Byrds attempted unsuccessfully to convince traditional country music fans that their developing country rock sound was a legitimate part of the tradition.
2) I’ve chosen , A song for you performed by Whiskeytown (great vocal by Ryan Adams) and performed by Justin Townes Earle.
I couldn’t just pick one them, they’re both so god dam good and very different.
Justin Townes Earle:
“…So take me down to your dance floor
And I won’t mind the people when they stare
Paint a different color on your front door
And tomorrow we will still be there…”
Written by Gram Parsons
Here is a great compliment: “The song is absolutely hopeless, beyond despair. It’s the saddest song I’ve ever heard.” That was Rolling Stone magazine’s description of A Song for You in March 1973, reviewing the album on which it featured, GP.
3)My Uncle performed by Steve Earle.
Steve Earle is a hero of ours and a list like this would not be complete without him. That said, he gives a fantastic interpretation of My Uncle from The Flying Burrito Brothers’ Guilded Palace of Sin.
Steve Earle My Uncle:
“A letter came today from the draft board
With trembling hands I read the questionnaire
It asked me lots of things about my mama and papa
Now that ain’t what I call exactly fair
So I’m heading for the nearest foreign border
Vancouver may be just my kind of town
Because they don’t need the kind of law and order
That tends to keep a good man underground..”
When asked for his opinion on the subject/the man/the musician Bruce Springsteen in 1997, Joe Strummer sent the following letter to “rocumentary” filmmaker Mark Hagen. The film in question, ‘Bruce Springsteen: A Secret History’, was broadcast in 1998 on British television:
London Calling, with Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello and the Clash:
Springsteen returned the compliment during a gig in 2008, declaring Strummer “one of the greatest rockers of all time” before launching into a rendition of I Fought the Law.
I Fought the Law:
He has also covered Joe’s last masterpiece Coma Girl.
Coma Girl (audio only):
On the Saturday night of Glastonbury you may be lucky enough to seeBruce Springsteen & the E Street Band power through their version of the Clash’s London Calling. One key figure in securing the Boss’s booking? One of that song’s co-authors, Joe Strummer. (refering to the letter in this post)
cont. The Guardian:
It’s a sentiment that Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis would agree with; in his later years, Strummer became a figurehead for the festival and when it came time to persuade Springsteen to appear, he still had a significant part to play. “I did an eight-page document about the festival for Bruce with quotes from Joe included,” says Eavis. “I’ve never done anything like that for anyone before. It’s going to be an amazing couple of hours.”
A nice story about two great persons and musicians!
In their excellent series of official bootlegs the Rolling Stones has released an album of tracks from their run at the Tokyo Dome in february in 1990 (10 concerts!).
Japanese authorities wouldn’t allow the Rolling Stones into the country until 1990’s Steel Wheels tour, so by the time Tokyo fans got to see them the danger of the ’60s, the decadence of the ’70s, and the acrimony of the ’80s were all well behind the band. On their first tour in seven years (and their last with original bassist Bill Wyman), the Stones were in what Keith Richards describes as a “joyous” mood.
About the release:
That sense of glee is palpable on the many new numbers (“Sad, Sad, Sad” features some particularly fiery riffing from Keith), but it also infuses many of the old hits, as you can hear on the track “Miss You.” The massive stage and global tour set the template for the next two decades of live Stones.
Miss You, Tokyo Dome 1990:
From The Rolling Stones Archive:
Denied permission to play in Japan in 1973, the band were finally welcomed with open arms in 1990, when they played a ten night residency at the 55,000 capacity Tokyo Dome. This album was recorded at the show on 26th February, and features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman, who in August of that year, would play his last ever show with the Rolling Stones. The touring band included Bobby Keys, Chuck Leavell, Lisa Fischer, Cindy Mizelle, Bernard Fowler, Matt Clifford and the Uptown Horns. The Steel Wheels/ Urban Jungle tour became the highest grossing tour of all time. But it’s not just the figures that set this show apart from others, the Rolling Stones revisited songs from their psychedelic period such as “2000 Light Years From Home” and “Ruby Tuesday”, with cosmic results. In 2012 Bob Clearmountain applied the mix.