Wednesday, 2 October 2019

The Flying Burrito Brothers - Burrito Deluxe (1970)

If you gotta go, go now....

  

Released in April 1970

Running time 33.08

After an excellent, most appealing debut in 1969's The Gilded Palace Of Sin, Gram Parsons' country rock outfit returned with a more upbeat, rocking offering. Unfortunately, the group's impressive bassist Chris Ethridge had left the group, taking a great sound with him, and apparently the group were having problems coming up with material. New guitarist Bernie Leadon had this to say, retrospectively:-

"...We started getting together – Gram, Chris, and I – at the A&M lot and trying to write songs. We spent three or four months doing this. It was like pulling teeth. We knew the mechanics of writing music, but the stuff that we did were not Gram's best songs...."

Guitarist Chris Hillman added:-

"....After the brief initial burst Gram and I couldn't seem to hook up again. Burrito Deluxe was recorded without any of the feeling and the intensity of the first album...."

Reading that, you would imagine the album to be pretty poor, which it is not, it is not quite as good as the debut album. What it is, though, is far more rocking and more fun. It is not without its merits. The sound is not as good as one the first album, though, sounding just a bit "lo-fi" in places.

The album is notable in that the cover of The Rolling Stones' Wild Horses was the first recording of the song, a year before it appeared on Sticky Fingers. Apparently Keith Richards gave it to Parsons to record after a brief falling out, something that was unusual in that The Stones didn't make a habit of giving great songs like that away.

TRACK LISTING

1. Lazy Days
2. Image Of Me
3. High Fashion Queen 
4. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
5. Man In The Fog
6. Farther Along
7. Older Guys
8. Cody, Cody
9. God's Own Singer
10. Down In The Churchyard
11. Wild Horses                                      

Lazy Days is a lively piece of pulsating bar-room style rock to start the album on an exciting note, with the band sounding like a country Dr. Feelgood, although country melancholia soon appears on the violin-backed mournful strains of Image Of Me. The latter is very much a continuation of the material from the first album. High Fashion Queen is a steel guitar-driven fast slice of typical country rock. The vibrancy carries on in a rousing, frantic cover of Bob Dylan's If You Gotta Go, Go Now. It features some excellent rocking guitar.


Man In the Fog is a Cajun-style romp powered along by some infectious accordion. Farther Along is a mid-paced, harmonious country take on a traditional gospel song.

Older Guys is one I really like - a pounding thumping number, while Cody, Cody has some nice harmonies on the vocals and a very Byrds-style sound. God's Own Singer is a song in a more traditional lachrymose country vein. I'm sure Elvis Costello would have loved this one.

Down In The Churchyard is an energetic number that rocks infectiously throughout. Then there is Wild Horses. The country nature of the song is played up to the fore on this interpretation. It would seem that Mick Jagger based his delivery of the song very much on this one. Incidentally, Leon Russell plays piano on this, and on Man In The Fog.

Two months after the release of the album, Parsons was fired from the band he helped to create for drunkenness and general unreliability.

C+

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