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Published: 2006/07/20
by Randy Ray

Gram Parsons Fallen Angel

Parsons, the mysterious prophet of country rock who has spent the last two years, in his own words, learning how to be invisible. Gram Parsons, 1973 Reprise Records press bio
The self-destruction that slowly crept up and ate Gram Parsons in September 1973 did more than short-circuit a miraculously gifted career. His death laid waste to numerous relationships with friends and family who never quite understood the legendary path that Parsons chose to take live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.
Wellas Fallen Angel written, produced and directed with honesty and passion by Gandulf Hennig details in explicit fashion, two out of three aint bad. Parsonss body was stolen by a friend and allegedly burned according to his wishes in Joshua Tree where he died in a nearby inn. Partially burned. Interviews with various friends, famous bandmates (including heart-wrenching tales from Chris Hillman of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers), Emmylou Harris (who was discovered by Parsons and sang some of the best duets ever recorded with the man), family members and his widow lay claim to the fact that thirty years on, his death is still an extremely bitter pill to swallow.
Indeedit is sometimes awkward to watch their testimonials as Hennig makes one appear linked in some strange and sordid fashion to the tortuous demise of the gloriously soul-drenched, country-voiced Parsons who was addicted to various drugs (pills and otherwise) and was almost certainly an alcoholic in between heroin stints. Sadly, Parsonss link to heroin was prefaced by a close friendship with Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards, who was embedded in the middle of his heavy junk period before permanently ending his usage in 1977 after a Toronto drug bust sentence was diverted by a blind girls request for him to play a charitable gig. Thats a really long fucking sentence but one considers the fact that Richards has now outlived Parsons by 33 years and it supports the idea that one should never make a permanent decision about something like suicide when there are still so many grains of sand in the hourglass.

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