Album #141 – The Gilded Palace of Sin

Album #141

I cannot say enough good things about this album. This album, along with Neil Young’s Harvest, turned me onto the alt-country movement. Without this album, there would be no alt-country and americana movements. In my opinion, those two movements are stronger than ever and are the best things going in terms of new music right now. This album is good because the songs are not your typical country fare. Gram Parsons covers two soul songs on here and makes them countrified. Hot Burrito #2 is another example of this. Parsons, as you already know, left The Byrds to form this group. Chris Hillman joined him. “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow joined them on pedal steel guitar. “Sneaky” Pete is the member who drew me to this band. His pedal steel guitar playing is the best I have ever heard. It makes the songs on this album that much better. He even put his pedal steel through a fuzzbox!!! After he appeared on this album, “Sneaky” Pete became an in-demand session pedal steal player appearing on albums by Joni Mitchell and James Taylor just to name a few. “Sneaky” Pete eventually started doing special effects for films and became known as much for that as for his pedal steel playing. He died a few years ago but his sound and style live on. I first heard of Parsons actually on a music TV show about the development of the “outlaw” in music. They actually did a segment on Parsons. I then discovered this album and it has become one of my favourite albums of all-time. Parsons’ and Hillman’s songwriting is so good. Their songs actually contain a lot of Christian themes in them. This could have been a nod to The Louvin Brothers. They also showcases their sense of humour in the songs Hippie Boy and My Uncle. On My Uncle, Parsons sings that he is headed to Vancouver in order to draft dodge. I always get a kick out of the Canadian reference in that song. Believe it or not, Canada was a haven for draft dodgers during the Vietnam War. If you want to find out just how good country music can be, listen to this album. This is not Buck Owens or even Johnny Cash country. This is better than country!!! In some ways, it is anti-country. Overall, I give this album 6 out of 5. Yes, a 6 out of 5. It is just that good!!!!

Next: At San Quentin by Johnny Cash!!!

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