Gram Parsons and Linda Ronstadt
I come to you this holiday season with the slightly shocking realization that I am prepared with songs for a Christmas post this year.
It was a few years back when I first heard/heard of the record you see before you today.
The Christmas Spirit was a one-off studio supergroup featuring Howard Kaylan and Chip Douglas of The Turtles , Gram Parsons and Linda Ronstadt (among others).
They gathered in the studio in 1968 and laid down the two sides of this single.
The A side, ‘Christmas Is My Time of Year’ written by Kaylan and Douglas is a cheery, upbeat group singalong in the holiday spirit. It was covered by the Monkees in the 1970s.
It was on the flipside, however, that we discover no less than a lost treasure.
Considering the breadth of the cult of Gram Parsons, you’d think that this record would be far less obscure than it is (though the single itself is on the rarer side and fairly difficult to put your hands on).
‘Will You Still Believe In Me’, written by Bob Kimmel of the Stone Poneys is a beautiful, haunting ballad featuring a great lead vocal by Gram, and a harmony appearance by Ronstadt that sounds eerily like Gram’s future singing partner Emmylou Harris. It’s the kind of song that in a just world would be a holiday perennial, instead of a rarity/collector’s favorite. I’m always a little stunned that it hasn’t been included on any Gram Parsons-related comps, either.
Both sides of the 45 were collected on ‘Out Of Nowhere: The White Whale Story Volume 2 – Phantom Jukebox Vol.3’ by Rev-Ola in 2004.
I hope you dig the tunes, and that you all have a happy holiday.
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