Sin City
By: Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons

Original Performance: The Flying Burrito Bros.
Written by: Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons

Versions:
  1. Sin City (3:58)
    Available on Beck - Super Rare! Vol. 1 and 2 other releases.
    Credits
    Justin Meldal-Johnsen: Bass
    Joey Waronker: Drums
    Smokey Hormel: Guitar
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
    Jay Dee Maness: Guitar (Pedal Steel)
    Alan Sides: Mix
    Billy Payne: Piano
    Gabe Witcher: Violin / Fiddle
    Emmylou Harris: Vocals
 
Lyrics:
Sin City [Version (a)]:

This old town is filled with in, it will 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 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

The scientists say it'll all wash away
But we don't believe it anymore
'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 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

A friend came around, tried to clean up this town
His ideas made some people mad
Yet he trusted his crowd, so he spoke right out aloud
But they lost the best friend they had
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

On the 31st floor, a gold-plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain
 
The Song:

"Sin City" is a song by one of Beck's favorite songwriters, Gram Parsons, and can originally be found on The Gilded Palace Of Sin, a 1969 album by Gram's band, The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Beck's cover was offered up on a cool Parsons tribute cd, which also featured Wilco, Gillian Welch, Elvis Costello, and more. Officially Beck's track was credited to Beck & Emmylou Harris, and it is a fine duet between the two. (This is also cool because Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers helped discover Emmylou.) Beck brought along his band (Joey, Justin, and Smokey) and his country-music friends (Jay Dee Maness on pedal steel, Gabe Witcher on fiddle, and Billy Pane on piano). Beck hits a nice country twang on this song, and has said that he enjoyed the change of pace in recording something live with a band, instead of the way he recorded Odelay by constructing songs with lots of fine detail. Perhaps this led naturally to his next album, Mutations.

Parsons became famous for being one of the first musicians to combine country and rock. He liked to refer to his music as "Cosmic American Music." Beck is clearly a descendant of that vibe, in how he plays with different American music all the time. Parsons worked briefly as a member of the Byrds, helping on the seminal country-rock album The Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and then as a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers (with some of the Byrds). He then made a couple of amazing solo albums as well.

But unfortunately, Parsons died young at 26, but by then, he made his mark and became a legend.
 
Notes: