Archive for Rick Roberts

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: The Flying Burrito Brothers

Posted in Rock Classics! with tags , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by 30daysout

Today’s album is from 1972: Last Of The Red Hot Burritos, the live fourth album by country rock pioneers the Flying Burrito Brothers.  The Burritos were formed, of course, in 1969 by former Byrds Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, along with steel guitarist “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow and bassist Chris Etheridge.  Parsons left after the second album, and he was replaced by guitarist and songwriter Bernie Leadon.  Another ex-Byrd, Michael Clarke, was recruited to keep time on drums.

By the time this album was recorded, Kleinow and Leadon had left the band (Leadon to join the fledgling Eagles), leaving Chris Hillman as the sole founding member.  In their places, Hillman recruited Al Perkins (guitar/steel guitar) and Kenny Wertz (banjo) and added guest musicians Byron Berline (fiddle) and Roger Bush (upright bass) for a 1971 tour.  This lineup toured until Hillman left the band in October, leaving the rights to the band’s name to Rick Roberts.  Once Hillman departed, A&M Records lost faith in the group and instead of allowing a Roberts-led version of the band (with no founding members) to record a new studio album, A&M released this live recording instead which fulfilled the band’s contract before they were subsequently dropped from the label.

Nevertheless, Last Of The Red Hot Burritos is a fiery farewell, and Hillman naturally shifts the focus toward more traditional country and bluegrass.   The record is evenly divided with rocked-up versions of Burrito originals and country standards and pure bluegrass like “Orange Blossom Special” and “Dixie Breakdown.”  And there’s “Don’t Fight It,” a soul standard written by Wilson Pickett/Steve Cropper but turned into a country rocker by the Burritos.

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Lost Classics! Leftover Burritos

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2009 by 30daysout

The Flying Burrito Brothers, 1975

The Flying Burrito Brothers were, of course, the pioneering country rock band that made a few landmark albums then broke up, spawning dozens of imitators in the 1970s.  The original lineup of the Burritos (formed 1968) is the most famous, with a lineup featuring singer Gram Parsons, multi-instrumentalist Chris Hillman and steel guitar virtuoso “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow.  Although all of the original members left the Burritos by 1972, the band – sometimes literally in name only – soldiered on for decades.

Hillman was the only original member left by the time red_hotof the live album Last Of The Red Hot Burritos (1972); the band included lead singer Rick Roberts (later of Firefall) and ex-Byrds drummer Michael Clarke.  Hillman left the band right about the time this album was released.  Roberts augmented the Burritos with fiddles and steel and continued playing live shows; one of the showcases was his signature song “Colorado,” which appeared on the Burritos’ third studio LP (1970).

Gram Parsons died of an overdose in 1974 and re-kindled interest in the band.  Sneaky Pete Kleinow and original bassist Chris Ethridge came back and enlisted latter-day Byrds drummer Gene Parsons (no relation to Gram) and fiddler Floyd “Gib” Guilbeau along with Joel Scott Hill, formerly of Canned Heat.  They cut two studio albums, Flying Again (1975) and Airborne (1976), which were critically derided and slickly produced.  Neither album failed to make a spark, and the band broke up – again.

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Repost: Lost Classics! The Flying Burrito Brothers

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on February 6, 2009 by 30daysout

In 1968 Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman managed to transform the Byrds into a country rock band for the landmark Sweetheart Of The Rodeo album.  Then they both left the Byrds to start the Flying Burrito Brothers, with the intention of mixing country and rock even more.  The Flying Burrito Brothers’ brand of country rock proved to be one of the more influential and imitated styles of the era.  However Parsons only stayed with the Burritos for two albums and by 1972 the original incarnation of the band dissolved, leaving only wannabes and pretenders to carry on the Flying Burrito Brothers name.

After recording two solo albums, founding member Gram Parsons died in 1973 from an overdose of morphine and tequila.  Responding to new interest in the band A&M Records released the two-LP compilation Close Up The Honky Tonks with one record’s worth of songs from the first two albums, 1969’s Gilded Palace of Sin and 1970’s Burrito Deluxe. The second record contained previously unreleased tracks, the first five of which were recorded during Parsons’ time with the band, while the last six were recorded after Parsons left the group and Hillman was the key player. Close Up The Honky Tonks has long been out of print, and while there are a number of Burrito CD compilations the original 1974 LP contains a handful of songs that are still unavailable on any other U.S. release to this day.

The song “Close Up The Honky Tonks” features Gram Parsons on vocals, and was recorded during his final months with the band; this does also appear on the Hot Burritos! anthology CD.  ” Break My Mind” was a single also featuring Parsons on lead vocals.  The rest of these songs feature Rick Roberts on lead vocals and do not appear anywhere else.  The instrumental “Beat The Heat,” written by steel guitarist “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, was one of his first and only compositions.  Kleinow died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007.

MP3: “Close Up The Honky Tonks”

MP3: “Beat The Heat”

MP3: “Break My Mind”

MP3: “Roll Over Beethoven” (live)

MP3: “Wake Up Little Susie” (live)

MP3: “Bony Moronie” (live)