Friday, February 20, 2009

green mohair suit

A golden nugget in every sense. A jackpot of bile delivered on slick pedal steel.

I could wax lyrical on this for at least a couple of dense paragraphs, but why bother ? You've heard it all before, I'm sure. The sound of a jug band player with a failing liver and a gilded splinter through his heart.

Just be f@cking thankful it ain't Sydney Devine.

Gram Parsons: lead vocal, rhythm guitar, piano, organ;
Chris Hillman: harmony and lead vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin;

Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel; Chris Ethridge: bass, piano.

Written by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman.
Produced by Henry Lewy and Larry Marks.

THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: SIN CITY from "The Gilded Palace Of Sin" LP (A&M) 1969 (US)



HowMarvellous said...

really enjoyed that, ib

a band I've heard a lot about, but not knowingly heard - if you see what I mean.

ib said...

You're welcome, HM. I love this song, although - herecy - I'm not hugely keen on Gram Parson's solo shit. Burrito Bros and Parsons' era Byrds are another matter. Beautiful.

Your driver said...

Parsons was.... erratic. It seems as though it came too easy to him. This however is one of the most heartbreakingly lovely songs in the world.

ib said...

Yes. Privileged, I suspect, in every sense, those Parsons' songs which work for me the least are among his most widely covered. "Sin City", however, is - as you observe - a remarkably beautiful song on many different levels. It would not be out of place at all on the Stones' "Beggars Banquet" or "Let it Bleed".

Your driver said...

That's partly because Parson's was hanging out with the Stones at that time. I never approved of the Stones attempts at country music. A lot of country is about guilt, shame and a sense of self loathing along with repentance and redemption. Those feelings are endemic in America, but they are virtually the rule in much of the south. Parson's was an over privileged son of the Florida aristocracy, but he came from a long line of deeply troubled alcoholics and he knew all about guilt, shame and self loathing.

The Stones, at that time, were licentious to the point of doing themselves some harm, but that's not at all the same thing. Classic country excess, ala George Jones, is about giving oneself wholly over to sin in hopes of finding redemption. Rock excess is about claiming one's place among the damned.

I've dabbled in both, but I don't believe in mixing them.

ib said...

You make a couple of excellent points there. The fact that the Stones dalliance with Parsons and country music culminated in that era with the incident at Altamont speaks volumes. Personally, I am a huge admirer of their '68 and '69 output - but what they did on those two albums was certainly more about invoking dark forces than seeking redemption. Brian Jones, of course, was the sacrificial lamb which started the ball rolling.

The evil is there for all to see in Jagger's mocking, faux sincerity and Richard's refusal to even carry his own shit between limousine rides.

Still. I always felt they redeemed themselves a trifle in "Faraway Eyes" ten years later on "Some Girls".

Your driver said...

I am about to reveal something that has been one of the great conversation enders of my life. I never really like the Rolling Stones. I liked them when they were the kings of the white boy blues. When I was a lad, they introduced me to all sorts of music that I never could have heard from the original artists. Somewhere around 'Let It Bleed' however, they lost me.

Funny thing is, I loved the bands who were pathetic imitations of The Stones. From ? and the Mysterians to the New York Dolls, I was a sucker for cheezy Stones influenced trash, but The Stones themselves always seemed like self indulgent shits.

I could try to explain, but every time I've ever tried to explain, whatever Stones fan I was talking to, would take great offense and storm off. Like I said- Conversation ender.

Any number of people have "explained" to me that Jerry Lee Lewis is a murderous redneck fuck head without any redeeming virtue and I've not taken nearly as much offense. I've heard little racist shits ridicule James Brown and lived through it, but at the slightest intimation that The Rolling Stones were anything other than the greatest band that ever existed in the entire history of music since man, or woman, ever put notes together, I've seen mild mannered English professors fly into a rage.

It's been great knowing you Ib, but should you decide to curse me for a fool and never speak to me again, you won't be the first.

Actually, I consider 'Their Satanic Majesty's Request' to be the greatest comedy album ever made. You couldn't satirize psychedelic music more effectively. What the Rutles were to the Beatles is what the Stones became to themselves.

Well, now I've really put my foot in it.

ib said...

Well. I have fallen in and out of love with the Rolling Stones so often over the years it is ridiculous. I can listen to virtually nothing recorded after 1980. That much is understandable.

The put-down "self indulgent shits" adequately sums them up, but then again rock n' roll dribbles self indulgence out the corner of its nose and mouth. The New York Dolls, especially, are up there too in that respect when it comes to handing out the honours.

"What the Rutles were to the Beatles is what the Stones became to themselves."

That is a great line. Truly. And not unjust. Still, as an album "Satanic Majesties" is as much a genuine nugget of European psychedelia as a it is an olde world piece of frippery. I love it unequivocally.

In the past - oddly enough too - I have been more than a little unkind to James Brown. I only really began to get his shit fairly recently; a few years prior to his death. There. I've said it. Certain individuals well and truly put me off James in the 1980's. The obsequious indulgence given "The Blues Brothers" as a cultural landmark did little to help matters any. I detested that movie more than I can ever confess. For a long while it made me want to murder or maim anybody in shades and a pork-pie hat. Ridiculous, I know.

It took me years of recovery to come at James Brown without the attendant baggage. That was something of an eye-opener.

Miles Davis wormed into my head and heart right from the start.

Curiouser and curiouser.