The late great Gram Parsons was well known for seizing control of whatever bands he happened to drift into, be it the Byrds or the Flying Burrito Brothers, so those that knew him - and his few fans - will have been unsurprised at his eventual solo career. Finding a worthwhile collaborator in Emmylou Harris, his two solo albums are virtually flawless.
GP, his solo debut, is simply a perfect country album. Of its eleven tracks there isn't a bad one. The production is Nashville-rich yet unfussy, the lyrics are vintage country without being cliched, and Parsons and Harris swoon and sigh together wonderfully.
Opener 'Still Feeling Blue' sets the scene, with its scraping fiddle and driving rhythm. 'Streets Of Baltimore,' meanwhile, may be as close to the perfect country song on the perfect country album as you can get.
Somewhat amusingly, the debt that Ryan Adams owes to this album is blatantly obvious, particularly in Parsons' vocal delivery, which is passionate and emotional.
This album may sound fairly trite now, but at the time it was innovative and helped invent country-rock and alt-country. What's more, you can't improve on the best really, and as such if you're starting alt-country you needn't go for Wilco, Ryan Adams or even Uncle Tupelo - this album is where it's at.