Field Reportings from Issue #22
GRAM GEMS: Recordings of two songs Gram Parsons made with the International Submarine Band that had been missing in action for three decades recently were discovered at a BMG vault in Boyers, Pennsylvania, and have been released on an overseas compilation CD titled Fallen Angels: Legendary Country Rock Recordings. The tracks, “I Just Can’t Take It Anymore” and “November Nights” (the latter of which was covered by actor Peter Fonda on a single released by Chisa Records in 1966), were recorded in 1965 in New York City, a few months before the ISB moved to Los Angeles. Parsons and his bandmates had been in the studio backing actor Brandon DeWilde for a recording project and cut these two songs at the tail end of that session. Ron Maharg, an employee at the BMG vault, stumbled across the reel-to-reel tape purely by chance; Maharg says the reel was labeled “Gram Parsons & the Tinkers.” The Fallen Angels collection, which also features previously released tracks by 18 other acts (ranging from the Jayhawks to Pure Prairie League to Waylon Jennings to the Everly Brothers) and liner notes by Sid Griffin, was compiled by Keith Munro for U.K. label BMG Camden. No postal or web address is listed on the disc; the phone number for the label, if dialing from the U.S., is 011-44-171-384-7854….
Also newly available from the Gram Parsons songbook is “Carolina Calypso”, with words by Parsons and music by Walter Egan, which appears on Doin’ Time On Planet Earth, the debut disc by Nashville band the Brooklyn Cowboys. Egan and Tom Guidera co-wrote “Hearts Of Fire”, which appeared on Parsons’ posthumously released Grievous Angel album in 1974. Shortly after Parsons had finished recording that album, Emmylou Harris brought Egan a set of lyrics Parsons had written which he wanted Egan to put to music. Egan says he finished the music for the song two days after Parsons died, but had never recorded the song for release until now. Doin’ Time On Planet Earth, which includes a version of “Hearts On Fire”, also features songs by drummer Fred Perry and backing by pedal steel player Buddy Cage, singer/rhythm guitarist Joy Lynn White, bassist Michael Granda, fiddler Vassar Clements and guitarist Redd Volkaert, with production by Al Perkins. The album is available on Leaps Records.
EXTRA CREDIT: In last issue’s news item regarding the song “No Depression” being written by James D. Vaughan rather than by the commonly credited A.P. Carter, we stated that we didn’t know which songwriter was credited on the New Lost City Ramblers’ version of the song from their 1959 Folkways album Songs Of The Depression. Martha Coons of Williamstown, Massachusetts, wrote in to say that she checked her copy of the Ramblers record, and Carter is credited. “Interestingly,” she adds, “a pretty good version I have on a 1979 album by Roy Berkeley with Tim Woodbridge, Songs Of The FDR Years, simply calls it ‘Traditional’.”