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Old 03-25-2010, 07:00 PM
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Location: Baltimore or less
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Question about the song "Sin City" by the Flying Burrito Brothers

The song first appeared on the Burritos' 1969 debut album, "The Gilded Palace of Sin". The lyrics describe an indulgent yet repentant country kid's reactions to the wild freedom of late-60s Los Angeles. It's a beautiful country song, with lyrics about a topic that mainstream most country artists of the time steered clear of. As was much of Parsons' work.

The Parsons documentary "Fallen Angel" quotes a band member as saying the song was inspired by old country songs that he and Parsons knew.

It consists of a verse and a chorus:

Verse 1:
This old town's filled with sin
It'll swallow you in
If you've got some money to burn
Take it home, right away
You've got three years to pay
But Satan, is waiting his turn


Chorus:
This old earthquake's gonna leave me in the poorhouse
It seems like this whole town's insane
On the 31st floor, a gold-plated door
Won't keep out, the Lord's burning rain


My question: what are some older country songs that the verse resembles, and therefore may have been its inspiration?

I can think of one: "There Ain't No future in This", by Reba McKintire. Any others?

(I mean no disrespect to Parsons by making this comparison - "Sin City" is one of my favorite songs. Many great songs in country and blues are very deriviative. The term for this is 'tune families', in which a song 'gives life' to others. Sometimes, the original is little more than a distinctive chord progression with a shred of a melody.

A classic example is the Carter Family's, "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes", which 'birthed' Roy Acuff's "Great Speckled Bird" and Kitty Wells' "It wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels".)

TIA
#2
Old 03-25-2010, 11:58 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: West of Wauwatosa
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Just fyi, Parson's protege, Emmylou Harris, did a beautiful version of this song*. And on the Gram Parsons tribute album*, she does it as a duet with Beck.

*no time to look up album titles, runnin' to Mexico...
#3
Old 03-26-2010, 07:54 AM
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Location: Baltimore or less
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A bonus track on one of the reissues of Parsons' solo albums features Gram and Emmylou doing an acoustic, live-radio version of it.

Incidentally, here is a match-up of the similar parts of "Sin City" and "There Ain't No Future in This"

This old town's filled with sin So if she's, on your mind
It's swallow you in That much of the time
.
.
.
But Satan, is waiting, his turn Then there ain't, no future in this
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