Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sin City

This is a cautionary gospel tune written by two hippies who may or may not have known Jesus. It just might be my favorite gospel song. Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman left The Byrds in 1969, determined to play old-time country music. They formed a band called The Flying Burrito Brothers and wrote songs like this. Influenced by authentic Appalachian music from the likes of the Louvin Brothers and the Stanley Brothers, they engaged in some fabulous picking and high harmony singing and raised an impossibly glorious hymn to paranoia and impending Armageddon. Somehow it seems more timely than ever.

This old town is 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

This old earthquake's gonna leave me in the poor house
It seems like this whole town's insane
On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain

The scientists say
It'll all wash away
But we don't believe any more
Cause we've got our recruits
And our green mohair suits
So please show your ID at the door

This old earthquake's gonna leave me in the poor house
It seems like this whole town's insane
On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain

A friend came around
Tried to clean up this town
His ideas made some people mad
But he trusted his crowd
So he spoke right out loud
And they lost the best friend they had

This old earthquake's gonna leave me in the poor house
It seems like this whole town's insane
On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain
On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain
-- Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, "Sin City" -- 1970

2 comments:

The Guy You Thought Was Rude said...

Wasn't that song inspired by a manager who done them wrong? The gold plated door in the office building.

Great song regardless of my memory. I'd never listened to them until a few years ago. About fifteen seconds into Devil In Disguise I was hooked. They were influenced by so many, and serve as the influence of so many today.

scott said...

Your timing never ceases to amaze me. I'm listening to the Gram Parsons tribute Return of the Grievous Angel that Emmylou Harris put together and then went to your blog. As I'm reading your note, "Ooh Las Vegas" is playing. "Sin City" (sung by Beck and Emmylou) is the next song.