Various Artists

Radiogram: 24 Songs That Inspired Gram Parsons

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It's likely some poetic license was taken in the use of a title that infers that these two-dozen songs might have inspired Gram Parsons as a teenager. Certainly he didn't record most of them, or specifically cite these or a similar list in interviews that he gave. He did end up recording some of them, notably (with the Byrds) the Louvin Brothers' "Christian Life" (with the International Submarine Band) "A Satisfied Mind" (here represented by the Red Hayes rendition), "Dim Lights Thick Smoke" (here represented by a Flatt & Scruggs recording), and "Crazy Arms" (here done by Leon Payne). But it's better to treat this as a sampling of the kinds of songs someone entering his teens in the South, such as Parsons was at the end of the '50s, might have come across on country radio stations at the time. On that level, it's a good cross-section of the more down-to-earth country music of the period, from ballads and hillbilly to honky tonk and country swing. Some giants are here (George Jones, the Louvin Brothers, Lefty Frizell, Buck Owens, Hank Snow, Skeeter Davis), but so are quite a few less-celebrated artists who won't be familiar to the average Parsons or even country fan, like Benny Barnes, Lonnie Irving, Harry & Jeanie West, and Bradley Kincaid. The music, for the most, part redeems the shaky concept, but is undeserved by the packaging's skimpy liner notes (with no original release information) and subpar sound quality, with surface noise sometimes audible.

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