Various: Country Rock: Original Album Series

Five from the famous alumni.

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Here’s a well-packaged box set of five records connected by the country rock family tree. Genre aficionados will probably be in possession of Gram Parsons’s GP (8), his first solo record. The others here are perhaps more discoverable.

Parsons remains a touchstone of country rock. GP came in 1973, when he was 26 and had already cut Sweetheart Of The Rodeo with the Byrds and two albums with the Flying Burrito Brothers. GP may be less lauded than the posthumously released Grievous Angel, but it burns with the same sense of sweet, understated doom.

Also in 1973 The Byrds issued Byrds (6), a reunion of the original five-piece. It’s always been regarded as a mish-mash, but it has its moments in Clark’s Full Circle and a cover of Joni Mitchell’s For Free.

Music business magnate David Geffen pulled together the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, a supergroup featuring JD Souther, noted for his writing with the Eagles, Chris Hillman and Poco’s Richie Furay. Their self-titled debut (6) is less interesting than the religious row that ended the experiment.

Gene Clark’s meditative solo record No Other (8) is a lost gem that gained traction only after his death in 1991 and is a standout here. The set is rounded out with Poco’s Inamorata (5), a synth-based anomaly recorded in 1984./o:p

Jon Hotten

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.