Monday, January 12, 2015

The Flying Burrito Brothers: Wild Horses

In 1968, Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman were members of the Byrds and with their band had recorded the classic album, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” the first official “country-rock” album. Parsons and Hillman left the Byrds shortly after and with Chris Ethridge, a bassist, and “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, a steel guitar player, formed the Flying Burrito Brothers, the band that would spread the gospel of this new genre.

The band would produce a brilliant debut album, a decent sophomore album and then Parsons would be gone to pursue a solo career leaving Hillman to continue the band without him.

In 1969, that brilliant debut, “The Gilded Palace of Sin,” was released. The album was a soulful synthesis of rock and country featuring aching vocal harmonies and atmospheric pedal steel work by Pete Kleinow. The album contained the unforgettable tracks “Christine’s Tune,” “Sin City,” “My Uncle,” and an utterly original take on the soul classic, “Dark End of The Street.”

The next year, 1970, saw the release of the follow-up, “Burrito Deluxe,” a solid offering with standout tracks, “Wild Horses,” “God’s Own Singer,” and “Older Guys.” In 1971, the Burrito Brothers, minus Parsons, released a fine album, “The Flying Burrito Brothers” featuring a fine version of “White Line Fever”.

The band continued to release albums throughout the Seventies with Hillman as the sole original member, but nothing they did even came close to their great debut.