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*** Various artists, “The Gram Parsons Notebook--The Last Whippoorwill,” Shell Point/echomusic.

This intriguing project is mostly the doing of John Nuese, a friend of Parsons--the influential country-rocker who died in 1973 at age 26. Nuese drafted singer-songwriters Mike Ward, Jim Lauderdale and other pals to finish song sketches and lyric snippets Parsons left in a notebook given to Nuese by Parsons’ widow, Nancy. They’ve supplemented those tunes with a couple of Parsons-inspired originals, a Louvin Brothers song that was one of his favorites and the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers,” which Jagger and Richards wrote for him. The result isn’t so much a revelation of the unheard Parsons--though Parsons-Lauderdale’s “Blessing For Being” is truly striking--as a heartfelt tribute from those his life and music touched. (Available initially only over the Internet at GrooveTone.com and at retail stores in September.)

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.


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