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Elite Hotel [Bonus Tracks] ()

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Elite Hotel is the second album Emmylou Harris recorded for Warner Brothers, issued in the same year as her debut masterpiece, Pieces of the Sky. Elite Hotel is the album that garnered Harris her first pair of number one singles on Billboard's country charts, with her soulful reading of Buck Owens' "Together Again" and the impassioned performance of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams." And while these two tracks may have been the most played, they are far from the finest tracks on this stellar outing. While Harris continues to perform the material of her late collaborator, Gram Parsons, Elite Hotel is almost a tribute recording given that it features three of his songs, two from his period with the Flying Burrito Brothers, "Sin City" and "Wheel," and "Ooh Las Vegas," from her recording with him on his album Grievous Angel. Other standouts here include a beautiful version of Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" and her now legendary cut of Rodney Crowell's "Till I Gain Control Again." On this early date, Harris' voice arrives fully focused, fully articulate, and completely in control of the material. Her backing group, the illustrious Hot Band, included guitarist James Burton, Crowell, her producer and husband Brian Ahern, Mike Auldridge, Hank DeVito, and many others. Guests like Linda Ronstadt and Amos Garret appear as well. Elite Hotel, like all of the early Warner recordings, has aged remarkably well, and sounds as fresh and revelatory today as it did in 1975. [The 2004 reissue by Rhino offers fully remastered 24-bit sound, and the inclusion of a pair of bonus tracks: "You're Running Wild," a duet with Crowell, and the nugget "Cajun Born," by the then-unknown songwriter Jo-El Sonnier. In addition, there are fine -- even exhaustive -- liner notes by critic Holly George-Warren.] ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi Hide synopsis

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