Gram Parsons / The Flying Burrito Brothers

Sleepless Nights

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Three years after Gram Parsons' untimely death, his frequent duet partner Emmylou Harris helped arrange for the release of this collection of outtakes -- three songs he cut with Harris for his final solo album Grievous Angel in 1973, and nine others recorded live in the studio with The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1970. Anyone hoping to find the great lost Gram Parsons song is out of luck here; all 12 tunes are covers of vintage country classics, except for "Honky Tonk Women" (which at least sounds like a C&W classic in this arrangement) and The Louvin Brothers' "The Angels Rejoiced Last Night," which is as spiritually uplifting as ever with Harris' pure, clear voice helping to bring it home. The three tracks with his duet partner fare best, while most of the cuts with the Burritos sound like demos, and though a few are inspired (particularly the deeply felt versions of "Sing Me Back Home" and "Green, Green Grass of Home," a lot of the time both Parsons and the band sound like a solid bar band in the middle of a Wednesday night set -- more than competent, but less than inspired. Sleepless Nights was certainly a labor of love and it's a worthy purchase for committed fans, but neophytes are better off giving a listen to The Flying Burrito Brothers' masterpiece The Gilded Palace of Sin, or either solo album, G.P. or Grievous Angel.

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