Monday, January 7, 2013

Flying Burrito Brothers

Too country for the rock stations and too rock for the country stations, The Flying Burrito Brothers created a slew of classic songs that put a stamp in a lot of the popular music genres that would follow them, notably in songs by The Eagles, Little Feat, and even the Rolling Stones, on to many of today’s “alt-country” singer songwriters and bands like Lucinda Williams and Drive-By Truckers.

The Flying Burrito Brothers were formed by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman along with Chris Ethridge a year after both Parsons and Hillman played together on the Bryds album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Hillman had come from a country background; while Parson’s had an affinity for RnB, Country and Blues stirred into a mélange he dubbed “Cosmic American Music.” Together with “Sneeky” Pete Kleinow on pedal steel guitar, the Burrito Bros recorded their first album The Gilded Palace of Sin in 1969.

Parsons stuck around just long enough to complete a second album with the Burrito Bros, Burrito Deluxe, but his increasing time away from the band to hang out with his pal Keith Richards and his notorious lack of discipline split the terrific team he’d created with Hillman.

Rick Roberts replaced Gram Parsons and the band took a more “country rock” road with their music and completed a third record in 1971, The Flying Burrito Brothers. By this time, Hillman had his sights set on other projects as did other members of the band, and the lack of any airplay were taking a toll. They completed one last album, Last of the Red Hot Burritos, before parting ways, to reunite only a few times after.

I pulled the track from YouTube here, “Christine’s Tune” (aka Devil in Disguise) by both Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman about a dangerous little chick the band knew from their earliest gigs. I could have selected any of the songs from that first album, they’re all that good.

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