The Flying Burrito Brothers - Live In Amsterdam (1973)

The Flying Burrito Brothers were a pioneering American country-rock band, founded in the late 60s.

With the departure of Chris Hillman in late 1971, the Flying Burrito Brothers contained no original members any more. Al Perkins had gone with him to play in Stephen Stills' Manassas, and Michael Clarke (almost an original member) had also left. The band was pretty much over, but they still had a tour of Holland and Scandinavia to commit to. Rick Roberts now found himself in control. Roberts had joined for their third album, which he had dominated somewhat with his songs and lead vocals, but Chris Hillman had always really been in control, as shown by the live album Last Of The Red Hot Burritos, where Roberts' role wasn't so important. But now he was undoubtedly in charge, and had to rebuild the band for this final tour. The Flying Burrito Brothers which toured in early '72 had not much to do with the original group, consisting of Rick Roberts (vocals/rhythm guitar), Don Beck (pedal steel/mandolin), Kenny Wertz (guitar/banjo), Byron Berline (fiddle), Alan Munde (banjo/guitar), Roger Bush (bass) and Eric Dalton (drums).
Berline, Munde, Wertz and Bush were already recording as Country Gazette, and so the concerts were divided between their bluegrass set and Roberts' country-rock set, all under the title of The Hot Burrito Revue. Roberts played some of the band's old Parsons-era hits, some of his own material from the third album, and a host of country covers (including "Six Days On The Road", "Sing Me Back Home", "White Line Fever" and "She Thinks I Still Care"). The bluegrass musicians played a number of fast-paced instrumentals. The tour was a success, as the band were always massively popular in Europe.
On returning to the US in March '72, the band finally broke up. Roberts began his solo career and Country Gazette began work as a group in their own right. Don Beck and Eric Dalton returned to session work.
However, unknown to Roberts, one of their Dutch concerts had been recorded and was being bootlegged. Eventually Roberts were pressured into allowing it to be released officially, and Live In Amsterdam came out in 1973, after the band had finished. This live album often goes unnoticed, probably because it was only ever released in Holland and the UK originally, so completely missed the US market. So what's it actually like? The sound quality is definately not very good, but the performances are actually brilliant. Roberts proves himself perfectly adept to work as band leader, in particular his vocal work makes the country covers really stand out. His use of the Burrito Brothers name might have been a bit dubious, but whatever you want to call the musicians performing on this live album, it's undeniably some great country-rock and bluegrass (I'd even argue that the scratchy sound quality adds a certain charm), and is well worth listening to!

Roberts actually was persuaded to return for one final tour of Holland in 1973 (this time with founding member Pete Kleinow on pedal steel), but after that the band was definately over. At least for a while...

Last Of The Red Hot Burritos (1972) <|> Flying Again (1975)
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