Category: The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Flying Burrito Brothers – Burrito Deluxe

ARTIST: The Flying Burrito Brothers Burrito_Deluxe
TITLE: Burrito Deluxe
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Older Guys
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The first ever version of Wild Horses was on this record.
LINEUP: Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Michael Clarke
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Almost half-hearted effort from Parsons and company in their follow-up to their groundbreaking first album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: On their first album, the Burrito Brothers got a fistful of acclaim and not many sales. This caused some tension, and original bassist Chris Ethridge quit. Parsons and the group picked up Bernie Leadon and found a full-time drummer in ex-Byrd Michael Clarke, both from the same group (the Dillard & Clarke band).

With new band members, those who knew them and loved the music they wanted to play, you’d think the group would plunge forward full-speed. However, Parsons seemingly had no songs. It took several writing sessions with Leadon and Hillman to get a few songs, and then they pulled out songs Parsons had done before and cover versions to pad the album.

One song they did have was “Wild Horses” which Keith Richards gave as a demo to Parsons soon after Altamont. Did Richards mean for Parsons to record it? Who knows. At any rate, this seemed to be the only song Parsons put his all into.

The rest of the album is okay, better than Poco, let’s say. The production seems muddied (especially the harmonies), and Kleinow, the star of the first album, seems muted. Only “Cody, Cody” had any of the oomph of the first album.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Parsons was thrown out of his own group later in 1970 for missing gigs. He then basically became a Rolling Stones groupie for a year or so.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: It’s on a two-fer with the first album and a single.

GRADE: B-: It could have, and should have, been much better given the people involved. The production is just so-so and I give it a downgrade for that.

The Flying Burrito Brothers – The Gilded Palace of Sin

ARTIST: The Flying Burrito Brothers The_Gilded_Palace_of_Sin
TITLE: The Gilded Palace of Sin
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #164
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I bet you know Hot Burrito #1 by its cover versions and as I’m Your Toy.
LINEUP: Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Chris Ethridge. John Corneal played drums on half of the tracks before he split, then they used who was available.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It’s not the first country rock album, it’s not even the first famous country rock album, but it’s the legendary country rock album that made the in-crowd notice.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: First, no matter what you think about country music, this is a songwriter’s album first and foremost. Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman wrote great originals (“Christine’s Tune”, “Sin City”, “Wheels”) and Parsons and Ethridge collaborated on the record’s two gems (“Hot Burrito #1” and “Hot Burrito #2”). Add in great covers of “Do Right Woman” and a devastating take on “Dark End of the Street”, you have to love and respect the songs the band presented.

The instrumentation is country of course, but with a rock flair (with soulful bass lines and great distortion on Kleinow’s pedal steel). Parsons’ vocals have never been more heartfelt and genuine.

The drawbacks are that a couple of tunes are rather corny and dated (“My Uncle”and “Hippie Boy”). Their placement at the end of each side ends everything on a sour-ish note. Minor quibbles, really, as the other nine songs rather make up for it.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Christine’s Tune was renamed Devil in Disguise later; the song was about one of the LA Groupies (and member of the GTO’s) Christine Frka, who died in 1972.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: It’s part of a two-fer with their second album and a great non-album single.

GRADE: A-: Parsons and Hillman (and company) nailed the fusion of rock and country like no other on this album. Two cuts drag it down, mainly for the sequencing.