Friday, August 04, 2006

Why Isn't Gram Parsons In The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame?

Barney Hoskyns wastes too much time in his look at the L.A. Country rock scene, Hotel California, on the romances of all these musicians that I wish he'd had included a graph of who did whom. And the early part of the book is a whirl of name-dropping that you wonder if Hoskyns will dig up any obscure Country Rocker that comes to mind. But thankfully the book settles down and gives a decent if somewhat redundant look at Country-Rock, a genre that gets confused with Southern Rock but is not the same thing. Some of his tales are overly familiar (the fighting Eagles, CSNY's childish fighting or Linda Ronstadt loving every man she ever met). And then there's Gram Parsons, looming over the whole thing like the Father of Country Rock that he is. For proof of the Left Coast's Country Rock greatness check out the import Country & West Coast (Big Beat), a 24 track almost-kinda-companion to the book. Both projects stick with Los Angeles as their starting point for the genre, even though not everyone was a Californian. The CD has many of the same names that the book does. Although dissing the Eagles for their token post 70's Country-Rock act of choice, the Pure Prarie League, is stretching the latter's non-influence.
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