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The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Flying Burrito Brothers helped forge the connection between rock and country, and with their 1969 debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, they virtually invented the blueprint for country-rock. Though the band's glory days were brief, they left behind a small body of work that proved vastly influential both in rock and country. The Flying Burrito Brothers reunited later in the '70s, albeit without their founding members Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, and continued performing and recording in a variety of incarnations into the '80s.

Originally, the Flying Burrito Brothers were a group of Los Angeles musicians who gathered together to jam. Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman took the band's name when they were forming their own band after leaving the Byrds. Parsons had helped steer the Byrds toward a country direction during his brief stint with the band, as captured on the 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Following the release of Sweetheart, he left the Byrds, followed shortly afterward by Hillman. The duo added pedal steel guitarist "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow and bassist Chris Ethridge to the band and set about recording their debut album with a variety of session drummers.

The Gilded Palace of Sin, the Flying Burrito Brothers' debut album, was released in the spring of 1969. Although the album only sold 40,000 copies, the band developed a devoted following, which happened to include many prominent musicians in Los Angeles, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. Around this time, Parsons and Stones guitarist Keith Richards became good friends, which led to Parsons losing interest in the Burritos. Before the band recorded their second album, Ethridge left the band and was replaced by Bernie Leadon, and the group hired ex-Byrd Michael Clarke as their permanent drummer.

Burrito Deluxe, the group's second album, was released in the spring of 1970. After its release, Gram Parsons left the group and was replaced by Rick Roberts, a local Californian songwriter. Roberts' first album with the band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, was released in 1971. After its release, Kleinow left the band to become a session musician and Leadon departed to join the Eagles. The Burritos hired pedal steel guitarist Al Perkins and bassist Roger Bush to replace them, as well as adding guitarist Kenny Wertz and fiddler Byron Berline to the lineup. This new version of the group recorded the live album The Last of the Red Hot Burritos, which was released in 1972. Before its release, the band splintered apart. Berline, Bush, and Wertz all left to form Country Gazette, while Hillman and Perkins joined Manassas. Roberts assembled a new band to tour Europe in 1973 and then dissolved the group, choosing to pursue a solo career. Roberts would later form Firefall with Michael Clarke.

Close Up the Honky Tonks, a double-album Flying Burrito Brothers compilation, was released in 1974 because of the burgeoning interest in Gram Parsons. Capitalizing on the collection and the cult forming around Parsons, Kleinow and Ethridge formed a new version of the Flying Burrito Brothers in 1975. The duo recruited Floyd "Gib" Gilbeau (vocals, guitar, fiddle), bassist Joel Scott Hill, and drummer Gene Parsons and recorded Flying Again, which was released on Columbia Records in 1975.

Ethridge left the band after the release of Flying Again; he was replaced by Skip Battin, who appeared on the 1976 album Airborne. Also in 1976, a collection of Gram Parsons-era outtakes entitled Sleepless Nights was released on A&M Records.

For the two decades following their 1975 reunion, the Flying Burrito Brothers performed and recorded sporadically, undergoing the occasional lineup change. In 1979, the group released Live From Tokyo on Regency Records; the album spawned their first country hit, a cover of Merle Haggard's "White Line Fever," which hit the charts in 1980. Also in 1980, the group abbreviated its name to the Burrito Brothers when they signed a contract with Curb Records. The Burrito Brothers' Hearts on the Line spawned three minor country chart hits in 1981. Sunset Sundown, the Brothers second Curb album, appeared in 1982 and like its predecessor, it produced three minor hits. Following the release of Sunset Sundown, Kleinow left the band to become an animator and special-effects creator in Hollywood. The group carried on without him, led by Gib Gilbeau and John Beland. That incarnation of the band fell apart in 1985, the same year that Kleinow assembled yet another version of the band. For the next three years, this incarnation of the Flying Burrito Brothers toured America and Europe. In 1988, the group split apart again, although it did occasionally reunite for further tours and recordings in the '90s, including 1999's Sons of the Golden West. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

RIP Gram Parsons
What about Bernie Leaden? He was a part of the FBBrothers before he joined the early iteration of the Eagles and carried over his acoustic flavor with him - a similar sound he brought to the FBB. He's def a necessity in any article.
I just really got turned on to Gram Parsons via the Rodney Crowell/Emmy l o u Harris recent tour. Love Gram! Great artist live forever.
Cool bobonnit you for once arent putting something down.
Gram Parsons, wish you were still here.
Juanita, what a great song.
His rendition is better than the Stones RIP GP!
dustbowlflye r
Hey Emmylou, if you're reading this. I love you.
dustbowlflye r
just kiddin' folks....kin d a .
dustbowlflye r
if they start puttin' rat-dog songs on this station I'm gonna throw my lap top out the f**kin' window!!!
dustbowlflye r
well....I just can't damn stand this stuff. poco, beagles, f.b.b. I like richey furay, but I hate him too. jayhawks.... . c o m m a n d e r cody??? give me a break! and the new riders??? what happened to the old riders? and moby grape? what the f**k is a moby grape? oh yes let's not forget about Hot tuna. they suck the most of all.
nik_dangr
....with their 1969 debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, they virtually invented the blueprint for country-rock - along with Poco 's release of Pickin' Up The Pieces, they didn't say.
filander
This song remains about as fine as they come.
emcglinn2
Ran into the Burritos at a Stucky's Resturant off I-80 on my way back to College. I had just seen them at the Main Point outside of Philly a few nights earlier. Not sure who all the members were at that time. It was around 1977-78. What a pleasure meeting them on the road.
I saw the Flying Burrito Bros. open for Ten Years After, summer of 1970. A great show featuring a lot of musicians who were already legendary and those on their way to that status
I'm quite sure that Bernie Leadon was the guitarist and not the bass player. Speaking of Poco, Randy Meisner was Poco's first bass player, who left to form the Eagles, while Timothy B. Schmidt replaced Meisner in both Poco and the Eagles.
I love Gram Parsons but Chris Hillman seems to get lost in the comments and the bio. the bio even give parson's sole credit for Byrds move towards country in Sweetheart when Hillman got him into the band for to have an ally in a more country direction. Guess it pays to be a trust fund baby who dies young.
Again I love Gram he had a wonderful voice that sang country with a soul dimension, but Chris Hillman was as important to Flying Burrito and just to shy to get the attention.
Wish i had a Trust Fund Blues....RIP GRAM
Gilded Palace....wh e n I discovered that album...oh yeah. Awesome!
PCD SAYS: GRAM was a GOOD OLD HEATHEN FLORIDA BOY just like PCD, RIP SON now i don't calls u son cause you's mine i calls you's son cause u shine's,just sayin.
When I die I know Gram Parsons and Emmy Lou are going to sing me to HEAVEN.
nik_dangr
Gram Parsons. Jeez. So much talent gone too soon. The mortality rate for the stars of the counter-cult u r e was ugly. Sex, drugs and rock n' roll was fun but it wasn't conducive toward a long musical career. Flying didn't work out too well, either.
jsilver35
I actually got to interview Chris Hillman outside of San Diego in 1989. We talked a lot about the influence of Gram Parsons.
Amazing music.
Best band ever !!!!! RIP G.P.
Good song
I listen to this fine group, NRPS, The Byrds, etc., and wonder what happened to good country rock?
If you like the Burrito Bros. check out the JAYHAWKS. Especially Hollywood Town hall. The first time I heard this album I thought I'd found the Great Lost Burrito Bros. album
yup! "last of"... is a superb album! ya not nuts jason lol
Where is the "Last of the Red Hot Burritos" album.. it has got to be one of the best.. right?.. am I nuts? LOL....
poco sucks even more than the eagle
the eagles are pretty lame
aloysiusdub
Hot Tuna did a great cover of 6 Days on the Road.
tony.menown
Piss on the Eagles, this is real country/soul music.
You should list Poco and Richie Furay as among the similar artists, and Poco deserves as much or more credit for fusing rock and country.
slapshot1894
Everytime I hear the early Burrito stuff, and the Byrds, too, I remember Gram, his great talent and the tragedy of his early departure from this life. RIP, Gram.
Check out Citizens Band Radio at www.myspace. c o m / c i t i z e n s b a n d r a d i o , they are a true throw back to the burrito's.
jpmistretta
Where's "Last of the Red Hot Burritos"?
blaze.harmon . 1
what an underrated and influential band!
Barry Tashian (The Remains, Holly & Barry) also briefly passed thru the group. Around 1971 or so he was playing Provincetown w/ a group he called "The Flying Burrito Bros." Lawsuits ensued...
Doesn't matter who influenced who - these guys sound great. Doubt they were trying to contribute to any particular sound - they just enjoyed playing great music together.
tedbujalski
...maybe Parsons helped to bring an audience to country music that wasn't aware of rocks connection with country...li k e the Beatles &'Stones helped to bring the blues to pop and a new group of listeners... c a n you give him that....?
The idea that the Flying Burrito Brothers had anything much to do with country rock's origin is pure poppycock. Country rock grew out of country, as did rock itself. Hear early Delmore Brothers (30's) Browns Ferry Four (40s) and Lew Childers,etc .

It was a part of country back into the 20's.
Rock licks were there in country all along. The only thing Elvis (who popularized rock) contributed was a faster tempo and the addition of electric instrumentat i o n .

More than one 'hack pretend
KK Russell is dang right! and so is Pilar1951! Hey guys check Mike Nesmith. Un-singing-c o w b o y . I have a rubbing off the original Gram plot just outside of New Orleans. A simple saying "God's Own Singer", which he didn't write, I believe, but all the same a nice thing to say about GP. It has since been upgraded by his daughter Polly. PS I also sent John Doe a rubbing as I'm a major "X" fan. Love to you all.
gram's vocals could make even Janet Reno weep
Along with Poco, the Flying Burrito Bros broke the ground for bands such as The Eagles and later Lonestar, and other country bands. Chris Hillman later put together an outstanding band, The Desert Rose Band, with former Dillard Herb Pederson.
Flying Breakfast Burrito's-DI A - G a t e 32

Gram doesn't like chorizo?

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