Gene Parsons is one of those ubiquitous country-rock pickers, playing with the Byrds for several years (1968-72) while they got all twangy and cosmic, then he did some solo stuff, played with a later edition of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and generally his name pops up in an awful lot of places. Here's a quick look at some of his work...
Guilbeau & Parsons "Louisiana Rain" (Ace/Big Beat, 2002)
Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons were both stalwart members of the Southern California psychedelic country scene, with stints in the Burrito Brothers and the Byrds, as well as numerous other country-rock projects that dotted the landscape back in the 1960s and '70s. This disc gathers a trove of dimly-remembered 1967-70 work on Gary Paxton's independent Bakersfield International label, which served as a fermenting pot of the nascent hippiebilly sound... These guys'll sound instantly familiar to anyone who's grooved to Gram Parsons or the country-era Byrds, with the same whiny, wandering vocals and tentatively twang and slightly constricted pedal steel playing, and -- of course -- guitarist Clarence White anchoring the later sessions. Guilbeau, who had been working as a country and folk singer for over a decade before hooking up with Parsons, wrote almost all of the material and added a cajun flair to many of the songs, also writing plenty of spaced-out, searching lyrics. In country terms, it's not great material (though there are a few catchy tunes), but seen as a stepping stone into the bigger LA country-rock scene, this material is historically quite important. It's also pretty good for what it is -- just 'cause I have trouble getting into this kind of stuff doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out. If you're a Byrds fan, in particular, you're gonna love it.
The Byrds "Live At The Fillmore: February 1969" (Sony, 2000)
Gene Parsons "The Kindling Collection" (Sierra, 1994)
This collection sandwiches Parsons' first solo album from 1973, Kindling, with several tracks from his work with the Byrds, and a few more with the Flying Burrito Brothers...
Nashville West "Nashville West" (Sierra Briar, 1978)
Recorded in 1967, but not released until the late 1970s, this jam-session band featured Parsons playing drums behind guitarist Clarence White, along with Gib Guilbeau on vocals and Wayne Moore playing bass... These sessions precede Guilbeau's short-lived Swampwater band, or Parsons' gig with the Byrds, and in retrospect are seen as a great document of the bubbling-up of LA's fabled country-rock scene.
The Byrds "Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde" (Columbia, 1969)
(Produced by Bob Johnson)
The Byrds "Ballad Of Easy Rider" (Columbia, 1969)
(Produced by Terry Melcher)
The Byrds "(Untitled)" (Columbia, 1970)
The Byrds "Byrdmaniax" (Columbia, 1971)
The Byrds "Farther Along" (Columbia, 1971)
Gene Parsons "Kindling" (Warner Brothers, 1973)
Flying Burrito Brothers "Flying Again" (Columbia, 1975)
Flying Burrito Brothers "Airborne" (Columbia, 1976)
A live album...
Gene Parsons "Melodies" (Sierra, 1979)
Parsons Green "Birds Of A Feather" (Sierra, 1988)
Haywire "Bluegrass Christmas" (Nature Quest 1998)
Parsons, along with folk fiddler Joe Craven, wishing us all a happy holiday...
Parsons Green "Live From Caspar" (2001)
Hick Music Index