The Complete Reprise Sessions

Gram Parsons. Rhino.

After inventing country-rock as a member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Georgia-bred Parsons went solo, releasing two albums before his death in 1973 at age 26. Coproduced by Emmylou Harris, who got her start with the charismatic pioneer, this stirring three-disc set adds interview snippets and a slew of outtakes to the original works. Whether spinning the morose tale of a jilted bridegroom’s “$1,000 Wedding” or belting out the loser’s lament “Ooh Las Vegas,” Parsons had a gift for cinematic vignettes, his slightly wasted voice blending with Harris’ bright harmonies to create down-home drama. It doesn’t hurt that the killer band includes members of Elvis Presley’s stage ensemble, though Parsons would have been mesmerizing without any support at all. In his weary plea for divine grace on “In My Hour of Darkness,” he epitomizes the doomed romantic, just passing through a world of earthly care.

  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.

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