Sweetheart Of The Rodeo is a masterpiece, but it would have been even more masterpiecey had Parsons been allowed to sing lead on more of the songs. McGuinn has said that his vocals on Sweetheart Of The Rodeo were little more than a parody of Parsons’ original versions. Parsons approached country from a place of deep reverence, but McGuinn treats the songs with a certain academic detachment. This proves ruinous on a woefully misguided cover of The Louvin Brothers’ “The Christian Life,” where McGuinn adopts a Dippety Dog cartoon drawl that coats the song’s deeply personal endorsement of faith at the cost of worldly pleasure in smug irony. McGuinn seems to be making fun of the Louvin Brothers, which you just don’t do. You don’t fuck with them, for they have a scary, take-no-prisoners, smite-humanity-just-to-prove-a-point deity behind them.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
There's an excellent post on the Onion's sister site AV Club that discusses two of the musical inspirations for Bad News Gospel: Gram Parsons and the Louvin brothers: