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The Complete Reprise Sessions

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Gram Parsons 6/20/2006

Review

Truth be told, Reprise's 1990 single-disc two-fer of Gram Parsons' two solo albums -- 1973's G.P. and 1974's Grievous Angel -- was for most intents and purposes as close to The Complete Reprise Sessions as Rhino's triple-disc set of the same name. Parsons only recorded two full solo albums before his death in 1973, never living to see the release of the second one, and he didn't leave too much behind in the vaults, which were plundered in 1976 for Sleepless Nights and, in addition to an appealingly shambling, laconic, and lazy 1970 jam by the Flying Burrito Brothers, also contained three outtakes from the Grievous Angel sessions: "Brand New Heartache," "Sleepless Nights," and "The Angels Rejoiced Last Night," all included here. These were the only fully formed songs that didn't make the album, and the other outtakes were simply alternate takes of songs that did appear on the two albums. All of these alternate takes are gathered together on the third disc of The Complete Reprise Sessions. The first two discs are devoted to G.P. and Grievous Angel respectively -- two albums that were previously illustrated to fit quite well together on a single disc, but are now separated. These two discs do have bonus tracks, but they're not exactly enticing: a radio promo for G.P., plus promotional interviews that are neither revealing nor particularly engaging. Cut out the interviews and the two albums could have been put on one disc and then the second disc could have been devoted to outtakes, and the streamlining would have made this more attractive, particularly because the third disc on The Complete Reprise Sessions is not all that enticing. There are some good moments here, including a duet with Barry Tashian on "Kiss the Children," but the alternate takes aren't all that different; in fact, in every case they quite clearly prove that the best take did indeed make the finished album. Of course, any Parsons fanatic won't really care that these alternate takes aren't that interesting; he left behind so few recordings that his devoted fans will eagerly devour any newly discovered unreleased material, even if they know it's mediocre, which the unreleased material on this collection most assuredly is -- enjoyable, but mediocre all the same -- which the compilers most assuredly knew as they were assembling this collection. Given this, it would have been fairer to those devoted fans to present this as a double-disc set instead of a three-disc box -- after all, there are only two CDs' worth of music here -- but instead, Parsons' complete Reprise recordings are spread out over this inflated triple-disc set. And while the devoted will be happy with the remastering and the unreleased material, the simple fact of the matter is that all of his great music was collected on that 1990 two-fer, and that's the CD that anybody with an interest in Parsons, country-rock, country music, or American music of the 20th century should own. Not this good but bloated set. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Still Feeling Blue Gram Parsons 2:43
  3. 2 We'll Sweep out the Ashes in the Morning Gram Parsons 3:11
  4. 3 A Song for You Gram Parsons 4:55
  5. 4 Streets of Baltimore Gram Parsons 2:52
  6. 5 She Gram Parsons 5:1
  7. 6 That's All It Took Gram Parsons 3:1
  8. 7 The New Soft Shoe Gram Parsons 4:0
  9. 8 Kiss the Children Gram Parsons 3:0
  10. 9 Cry One More Time Gram Parsons 3:34
  11. 10 How Much I've Lied Gram Parsons 2:25
  12. 11 Big Mouth Blues Gram Parsons 3:58
  13. 12 GP Radio Promo Gram Parsons 0:59
  14. 13 How Did You Meet Emmylou Harris? [Interview] Gram Parsons 1:52
  15. 14 What Is the Story Behind "A Song for You"? [Interview] Gram Parsons 0:20
  16. 15 What Is the Story Behind "The New Soft Shoe"? [Interview] Gram Parsons 0:52
  17. 16 WBCN Interview with Maxine Satori Gram Parsons 2:30
  18. 17 Love Hurts Gram Parsons 4:16
  19. 18 Sin City Gram Parsons 5:20
  20. 1 Return of the Grievous Angel Gram Parsons 4:24
  21. 2 Hearts on Fire Gram Parsons 3:52
  22. 3 I Can't Dance Gram Parsons 2:25
  23. 4 Brass Buttons Gram Parsons 3:26
  24. 5 $1000 Wedding Gram Parsons 5:0
  25. 6 Medley from Northern Quebec: Cash on the Barrelhead/Hickory Wind Gram Parsons 6:25
  26. 7 Love Hurts Gram Parsons 3:39
  27. 8 Ooh Las Vegas Gram Parsons 3:30
  28. 9 In My Hour of Darkness Gram Parsons 3:49
  29. 10 Return of the Grievous Angel [Instrumental] Gram Parsons 4:27
  30. 11 Did You Sing "Hickory Wind" at the Grand Ole Opry? Gram Parsons 1:48
  31. 12 What Differences Do You See Between Pure Country and Country Rock? Gram Parsons 1:10
  32. 1 She [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 4:58
  33. 2 That's All It Took [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 3:2
  34. 3 Still Felling Blue [Alternate Version][Alternate Take] Gram Parsons 2:40
  35. 4 Kiss the Children Gram Parsons 2:59
  36. 5 Streets of Baltimore [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 3:0
  37. 6 We'll Sweep Ot the Ashes in the Morning [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 3:18
  38. 7 The New Soft Shoe [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 4:5
  39. 8 Return of the Grievous Angel #1 [Alternate Version][Alternate Take] Gram Parsons 4:27
  40. 9 In My Hour of Darkness [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 3:44
  41. 10 Ooh Las Vegas [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 3:42
  42. 11 I Can't Dance [Alternate Version][Alternate Take] Gram Parsons 2:25
  43. 12 Sleepless Nights [Alternate Version][Alternate Take] Emmylou Harris 3:37
  44. 13 Love Hurts [Alternate Version][Alternate Take] Emmylou Harris 3:44
  45. 14 Brass Buttons [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 3:27
  46. 15 Hickory Wind [Alternate Take][Alternate Version] Gram Parsons 4:15
  47. 16 Brand New Heartache Gram Parsons 2:23
  48. 17 Sleepless Nights Emmylou Harris 3:21
  49. 18 The Angels Rejoiced Last Night Gram Parsons 2:23

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