“Lets do some living, after we die”
In the middle of the a long but fast-paced evening at Ronnie Mack’s legendary L.A. Barndance which invades Joe’s in Burbank the first Monday of every month, something profound happened. The place was crowded, conversations were loud, sometimes drowning out the musicians on stage, the bar was busy and it was quite literally standing room only after the first hour when all of the tables were occupied. The bands and artists performing were celebrating the life and music of the legendary country-rock innovator, Gram Parsons, whose short career has had a nearly inestimatble impact on pop music today, especially Americana where his songs and his image have been embraced and sustained. But, in the middle of it all two music veterans who have been out of the limelight for many years came on stage to sing a song assoicated with but not written by Parsons. Carla Olson, after a short stint with the L.A. band, The Textones, in the early 80’s, released the flawless album with ex-Byrd Gene Clark in 1987. Little has been heard from her since. John York, who was with The Byrds in 1968 and also recorded and performed with Gene Clark joined Carla to sing the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.” While the song is associated with Gram’s influence on the band and Parsons’ actually recorded and released it with The Flying Burrito Brothers; this evening, in celebration of what would have been Parsons’ 65th birthday, the song took on a new meaning. The audience listened, the bar grew quiet and if one is tempted to believe the spirits of our loved ones return on occassion to blow us a kiss, this would h ave been that moment when there was a feeling that Gram was somewhere in the room, smiling and singing along, especially as they sang, “let’s do some living after we die.” That is certainly something that Gram can lay claim to through the legacy of his music. And if this is true, then he also has brought life so everyone in that crowded bar last Monday night.