The Gilded Palace of Sin & Burrito Deluxe - 1968 & 1969
Taking The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo a hundred steps further, Gilded Palace of Sin is notable for the amazing pedal steel work of Sneeky Pete Kleinow as much as it is for the high caliber of songs Gram Parsons was writing at this point in his career. The fact that he was best buddies with Keith Richards around this time probably wasn't a coincidence. Great stuff. "Sin City" and the unfortunately named "Hot Burrito #1" are country rock classics.
Burrito Deluxe is another incredible record, but it lacks the cohesion that made Gilded Palace of Sin ride so high in the saddle. The fact that Gram was still best buddies with Keith Richards (and now getting into heroin) probably wasn't a coincidence. Still, the bedazzled Burrito Deluxe has some superb songs on it, namely "Older Guys" and a cover of the "Wild Horses", recorded and released a full year before the Stones put it out on Sticky Fingers. My Morning Jacket did a great version of "Older Guys" at Bonnaroo this year. Check it out here, courtesy of Archive.org.