The Flying Burrito Brothers - Flying Again (1975)

The Flying Burrito Brothers were a pioneering American country-rock band, founded in the late 60s.
Through many shifting line-ups, the original run of the Flying Burrito Brothers had ended by 1973. However the band name was soon to be resurrected. After the release of some posthumous compilation albums, interest in the band actually grew, so that their original manager Eddie Tickner decided to organise a reunion of sorts. However most of the original members were not interested at the time.
So instead Tickner turned to Gene Parsons. Parsons already had a long history in the country-rock field, most notably being drummer for The Byrds in their latter years. He persuaded original bassist Chris Ethridge to join, along with guitarist Joel Scott Hill, who had played in bands with both of them (and had also been a member of Canned Heat from 1970-72). Pedal steel guitarist Sneaky Pete Kleinow soon joined them as well, and the final member was Parson's old friend and musical partner Gib Guilbeau. The new five-piece went on tour as the Flying Burrito Brothers - having two of the original Burritos allowed them to use the name. Parsons was the drummer, but also contributed guitar and harmonica, and Guilbeau played his signature cajun fiddle as well as rhythm guitar. The result was a diverse lineup in terms of instruments, vocals and songwriting, and a strong live unit.
The appropriately named Flying Again album came out in 1975, with guest musician Spooner Oldham handling keyboards. Now as it was released under the Burrito Brothers name, expectations of course were high, and it has often been unfairly dismissed as being mediocre. The truth is that it is an absolutely fantastic album. The songs, performances and production are all top notch. Alongside great original songs by Parsons and Guilbeau there are covers of George Jones' "Why Baby Why", Joe Maphis' "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke", and a couple of Dan Penn numbers (the band's 1969 debut had also featured two Penn songs). Hill performed most of the lead vocals admirably, with both Parsons and Guilbeau singing on a few too. The results is a great fusion of rock, country, soul and R&B.
Surely if the band had called themselves something different it would have been praised as a splendid debut from a country-rock supergroup - using the Burrito Brothers name was the flaw in their plan. It didn't sell particularly well, and many probably saw them as little more than pretenders to the Gram Parsons legacy. Nevertheless they toured successfully, and this second run of the Burritos kept going for many years, through many more line-up changes, and often with little connection to the original group formed by Parsons and Hillman. Instead the Flying Burrito Brothers would become a moniker used by whatever group of country-rock veterans were performing together at the time.

Live In Amsterdam (1973) <|> Airborne (1976)
More from The Flying Burrito Brothers



david said...

never should have used the Burritos name: no Hillman- no Burritos. Period.It's unfortunate that the named was dragged through the mud by pretenders and downright horrid bands.

Anonymous said...

David, it's attitude's like yours that makes great music like this fail. It's the same with people who obsess with anything Gram did and crap on the rest. Same for the New Riders' first album because Garcia was on it.

Why does the name of the band matter that much? Hillman went on to make great music with other bands, and his replacements in the Burritos did an amazing job. If you weren't so uppity about names and credits you'd probably love this album too.

Tanktop said...

At least david isn't "Anonymous".
And no "uppity"attitude is conferred here either...just plain statement of fact;)

Much appreciation to stuckinthe past blog, and thank you for these wonderful shares:)