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Perhaps now he’ll read this new post, and come back again, and offer up more comments. There have been many tribute albums to Gram Parsons’s music, and many concerts held in tribute, many of them in Joshua Tree, California, where some of his fans have make a pilgrimage, sometimes even to stay in Room 8 at the Joshua Tree Inn, where Parsons is said to have spent his final hours. The switchman waved his lantern goodbye, Personnel on “Return Of The Grievous Angel”:  The song depicts a truck traveling through the United States, with the name of the unit being the "Grievous Angel". But it’s the followers that ruin it all, the way they’ve come along and made the man out to be some kind of god when, clearly, he wasn’t. And I thought about a calico bonnet, , In the summer of 1973, Gram Parsons' Topanga Canyon home burned to the ground, the result of a stray cigarette. Records. Out with the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels, Just a few years ago, Brown himself was posting in a Gram Parsons web forum and then he just … disappeared. , Parsons was inspired to write a song by Boston poet Tom S. Brown, who gave him his composition entitled "Return of the Grievous Angel". Brown says that Martin handed Parsons the sheet of lyrics he’d written, asking him to please consider setting it to music and that if Parsons wanted to chat with the writer about the song, Brown would be over at the bar, talking with Emmylou Harris. Brown said he wrote the lyrics in about twenty minutes and then gave them to Michael Martin to give to Parsons, in a bar called Oliver’s in Boston, Massachusetts, where Gram and Emmylou Harris were performing during the summer of 1973. In Hickory Wind: The Life And Times Of Gram Parsons (St. Martins Press: NY, 1991), author Ben Fong-Torres includes just two short mentions of Brown, and reveals that Gram Parsons had visited Harvard earlier the same day as the gig in Boston, where he had paid a visit to a friendly college adviser of his named Reverend James Thomas, who was also known to some of his friends and colleagues as “Jet.”, Fong-Torres says that “Return Of The Grievous Angel” actually chronicled Brown’s romance with his wife, or the woman who became his wife (“Sweet Annie Rich”) but that Brown also “had Gram in mind, too. Engineered & Mixed by Hugh Davies Invoking Gram Parsons’ name today will bring forth a variety of substantially differing points-of-view, about what the man and his music means to his fans, from the mythic and messianic, to perspectives that are probably a little more rational and realistic. Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. sort form. 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It happens on Facebook quite a bit. Twenty thousand roads I went down, down, down, You can probably imagine Parsons even scanning the skies from some lofty perch, hoping to see a UFO perhaps, or simply communing with the twinkling stars or marveling at the odd-shaped Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia, so-named by 19th-century Mormon settlers who thought the trees resembled the biblical Joshua, his arms lifted toward the heavens. Herb Pedersen: acoustic rhythm guitar To his rabid detractors, who are more extreme in their dislike, I suppose, Parsons was no more, and no less, than a trust-funded twenty-something Icarus who flew too close to a metaphorical sun, wasting his high time and short life partying with the likes of Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg at Villa Nellcôte, or wherever he happened to be, because they can only see the destruction and not any of the creative life he led before he burned away those wings and fell. You probably already know how the spot has for the past forty-plus years become a destination for many of his fans who regularly make their own desert pilgrimage to pay tribute to Parsons, often leaving behind their own personal affects or scrawling familiar lyrics from his songs on the rocks — “Safe At Home,” “Fallen Angel” or “God’s Own Singer” among the favorite graffito slogans, or that simple red cross with rays of light spreading out from the center. Brown to this day is credited with co-writing the song, which first appeared as the lead-off track on Parsons’ second solo album, Grievous Angel (Reprise 2171). And they all lead me straight back home to you. Glen D. Hardin: piano For a long time, before I first wrote about the song, I surmised that the words Brown wrote in his youth were yet another example of a truly American experience, of trying to find one’s place in the world. And lightin’ out for some desert town. In 1972 Gram Parsons signed a recording contract with Reprise Records. And I’ll be damned if it did not come true. Return Of The Grievous Angel song meanings Add your thoughts 8 Comments. He talked about unbucklin’ that ol’ bible belt, "Return of the Grievous Angel" as written by Beau Brown Graham Parsons. , The music style included a mixture of folk revival and traditional country music. The record was released posthumously, in January 1974, just a few short months after his death (at age 26) on September 19, 1973. Fong-Torres describes the song in this way: “‘ Return Of The Grievous Angel’ sounded like pure Parsons with its conversational tone, its crisp descriptions evoking the South and ‘the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels,’ its Dylanesque reference to a meeting with ‘the King’ ‘on his head an amphetamine crown,’ and it’s swooping chorus tailor-fit for Gram and Emmylou’s hand-held harmonies.” Oh, but I remembered something you once told me. He wants to take my money for somethin’ that I’ve never been shown. The truth about life and death Gram Parsons is, certainly, whatever that truth means to you — and I suspect, if you’re reading this, you probably already know where you may fall on the aforementioned spectrum of available choices — but we should all agree that Parsons’s death ended an accomplished career that was still undertaking its uncertain next steps. Yes - the lyrics were written by a fan, a young poet, who gave the words to Gram after a show asking if he could use them. You may also know the significance of a particular outcropping of jagged rock, jutting out from the boulder-mantled grus-lined slopes on the backside of Cap Rock, a 200-foot formation topped by a boulder that seems to defy gravity at the junction of Park Blvd. Parsons’ original recording played the “lovable rogue with a heart of gold” card for all it was worth, while Lucinda Williams’ 1999 rough-and-ready cover managed to up the toughness quotient a few notches. The song was produced during the recording sessions of his second and last album, Grievous Angel.
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