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THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS

1970 - 1972

Burrito Discography

Burrito Bibliography


BURRITO SCORECARD:

Flying Burrito Bros. v. 3.0
Chris Hillman: vocals, bass
Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel
Bernie Leadon: vocals, guitars
Michael Clarke: drums

Flying Burrito Bros. v. 3.0.1
Chris Hillman: vocals, bass
Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel
Bernie Leadon: vocals, guitars
Michael Clarke: drums
Gene Clark: guest vocals

"Tried So Hard" /
("Lazy Days" v. 2.3)
A&M
December 1970


Flying Burrito Bros. v. 3.1
Chris Hillman: vocals, bass
Rick Roberts: vocals, r. guitar
Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel
Bernie Leadon: vocals, guitars, banjo
Michael Clarke: drums

The Flying Burrito Bros.
A&M SP-4295
June 1971
US #176

"Colorado" / "White Line Fever" (US)
A&M
1971
US --


Flying Burrito Bros. v. 3.2
Chris Hillman: vocals, bass
Rick Roberts: vocals, r. guitar
Al Perkins: pedal steel
Bernie Leadon: vocals, guitars, banjo
Michael Clarke: drums

Flying Burrito Bros. v. 3.3
Chris Hillman: vocals, bass, mandolin
Rick Roberts: vocals, r. guitar
Al Perkins: pedal steel
Kenny Wertz: vocals, guitar, banjo
Michael Clarke: drums
Byron Berline: fiddle
Roger Bush: acoustic bass

Last of the Red Hot Burritos
A&M SP-4343
May 1972
US #171


Flying Burrito Bros. v. 4.0
Rick Roberts: vocals, guitar
Kenny Wertz: vocals, guitar, banjo
Byron Berline: fiddle
Roger Bush: acoustic bass
Alan Munde: vocals, guitar
Don Beck: pedal steel
Erik Dalton: drums

Six Days on the Road:
Live in Amsterdam

Bumble
1973

Bluegrass Special
Ariola
1974





"To Ramona":
Dylan's original version of "To Ramona" can be heard on Another Side of Bob Dylan (Columbia, 1964).



For the activities of Chris Hillman and Mike Clarke before 1970, see the previous page in this chapter: The Flying Burrito Brothers: 1969-1970.



Courtesy A&M Records.

The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 3.0 and 3.0.1

After sacking Gram Parsons in June 1970 for his general lack of team spirit, the Flying Burrito Brothers continued as a foursome under the leadership of Chris Hillman. They played out in that formation through the summer of 1970. At some point during that time, they recorded at least one song with Gene Clark, who had just left Dillard & Clark. The track was a cover of "Tried So Hard," a Clark composition that had first appeared on Gene Clark With the Gosdin Brothers (Columbia, 1967). The version with Clark's harmony vocal was released as a single in December 1970. (Clark also recorded the song "Here Tonight" with the Burritos, although apparently after Rick Roberts joined, according to the liner notes to the Edsel reissue of Roadmaster (1972; Edsel, 1990), on which the tune was eventually released.)


The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 3.1

In September, the band's manager, Eddie Tickner, introduced them to a young unknown named Rick Roberts. Roberts auditioned and joined the band in time for their third LP, The Flying Burrito Brothers (A&M, 1971). At this point, Roberts was a young guy with very little songwriting experience, and Hillman remained the unquestioned leader of the band. Nevertheless, Roberts was the dominant musical force on the album, writing three songs and co-writing four more with Hillman. The Roberts tune "Colorado" became a fan favorite, but the album's highlights are the three covers. "Tried So Hard" reappears, with a Roberts vocal substituted for Clark's (though reportedly it's hard to hear any difference between the two versions.) "White Line Fever" by Merle Haggard kicks off Side One, while a cover of Dylan's "To Ramona" begins Side Two. The third album had a more polished (read "blander") sound in an apparent bid for commercial airplay. Like its two predecessors, however, The Flying Burrito Bros. performed poorly on the charts, peaking at the disappointing figure of #176.


The Flying Burrito Bros. Courtesy A&M Records.


The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 3.2

Sneaky Pete Kleinow finally tired of unsuccessful touring, and left the band to do session work, which paid better. Al Perkins came in as steel guitarist. It would be the beginning of a long musical partnership with Chris Hillman.


The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 3.3

Unhappy at being elbowed out of the singing and songwriting spotlight by Roberts, Bernie Leadon was next out the door, headed for Linda Ronstadt's band and fame with the Eagles. The Burritos veered away from Roberts's soft rock when they replaced Leadon with Kenny Wertz (whom Leadon had replaced in the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers a decade earlier). Wertz brought along two cohorts, fiddler Byron Berline and bassist Roger Bush. Berline and Bush had been in the final incarnation of Dillard & Clark, and in the Doug Dillard Expedition after Clark's departure. Berline, Bush and Wertz had formed the bluegrass team Country Gazette in January of 1971. Only two months later, all three were brought into the Burrito fold.
A 1971 tour with this version of the Burritos was captured on Last of the Red Hot Burritos (A&M, 1972), issued the following May. The album featured some tunes from the Parsons era ("Devil in Disguise," "Hot Burrito #2," "My Uncle," and "High Fashion Queen"); some classic country covers ("Six Days on the Road" by Dave Dudley, "Orange Blossom Special" by Bill Monroe, not to mention Johnny Cash), "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" by Doc Watson, and "Dixie Breakdown" by Don Reno; and three rocked out soul songs ("Ain't That A Lot of Love" by Sam & Dave, "Don't Fight It" by Wilson Pickett and "Losing Game" by James Carr). This material, stronger than that on the previous Roberts-heavy LP, showed off the band's new sound to good effect. (When the LP was released in February of '72, it rose to #171 on the album charts.)


Last of the Red Hot Burritos. Courtesy A&M Records.

The Burritos were attracting critical notice for their live show, but by October '71, Hillman had tired of constant touring in discouragingly small venues with no improvement in sales or exposure. With steel player Perkins, he accepted an offer to work on the new album by Stephen Stills, an old friend since the early days of Buffalo Springfield. Stills was at the peak of his commercial success, all five of his most recent albums having entered the Top Ten (with CSN, CSNY, and solo). Hillman guessed (correctly) that his odds would be considerably better as a part of Stills's new project, Manassas.


The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 4.0

Like Hillman, drummer Michael Clarke didn't see much future in the band, so he left as well. Roberts was left with no original Burritos, but a solid bluegrass backbone in the form of Wertz, Berline and Bush. Adding Alan Munde on banjo, Don Beck on steel guitar, and Erik Dalton on drums, Roberts took the new outfit for a tour of Europe, captured on Six Days on the Road - Live in Amsterdam (Bumble, 1973).
After that tour, Wertz, Berline, and Bush once again took up the mantle of Country Gazette, bringing Munde with them. Roberts retreated to Colorado and a solo career, although he would reunite with Michael Clarke in Firefall a couple years later. The Flying Burrito Brothers were no longer a going concern -- at least temporarily.



To read about the first of the many "Refried" Burrito Brothers, see The Flying Burrito Brothers: 1974 - 1979.


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Spinoffs | Flying Burrito Brothers | 1970 - 1972

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