Cosmic American Music – The Rehearsal Tapes, 1972

Gregory McNamee

Magnum America (CD)
THAT ALL RIGHT – thinking music lovers worship at the altar of the long-departed troubadour Gram Parsons goes without saying. Even the staunchest devotee, however, should pause before coughing up 15 bucks for this collection, subtitled “The Rehearsal Tapes, 1972,” for which price comes Emmy Lou Harris singing off-key, Gram mumbling in an episodic Wild Turkey haze, and a few fiddle breakdowns courtesy of Ric Grech and Byron Berline. On the plus side, the rehearsal recordings reveal the evolution of Parsons’ “A Song for You” from four-chord idea to fully realized classic, showing its growth through several takes. That glimpse into musical history, however, isn’t enough to justify draining dollars from the faithful.