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THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS

1974 - 1979

Burrito Discography

Burrito Bibliography


BURRITO SCORECARD:

Flying Burrito Bros. v. 5.0
Joel Scott Hill: vocals, guitar
Gib Guilbeau: vocals, fiddle
Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel
Chris Ethridge: bass
Gene Parsons: vocals, drums, guitar, harmonica

Flying Again
Columbia PC-33817
October 1975
US #138

"Building Fires" / "Hot Burrito #3"
Columbia
November 1975
US --

"Bon Soir Blues" / "Hot Burrito #3" (US)
Columbia
1976
US --

From Another Time (UK)
Sundown 4094
May 1991


Flying Burrito Bros. v. 5.1
Joel Scott Hill: vocals, guitar
Gib Guilbeau: vocals, fiddle
Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel
Skip Battin: vocals, bass
Gene Parsons: vocals, drums, guitar, harmonica

Airborne
Columbia PC-34222
June 1976

"Big Bayou" / "Waitin' for Love to Begin"
Columbia
1976
US --

Sin City
Relix
1992
A live show by the 1976 Burritos.


Sierra
Joel Scott Hill: vocals, guitar
Gib Guilbeau: vocals, fiddle
Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel
Thad Maxwell: bass
Mickey McGee: drums

Sierra
Mercury
1977

Flying Burrito Bros. v. 5.2
Gib Guilbeau: vocals, fiddle
Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel
Skip Battin: vocals, bass
Gene Parsons: vocals, guitar
Mickey McGee: drums

Flying High
J.B.
1978

Close Encounters to the West Coast
Relix
1991
A 1978 live show from Tokyo, May 1978.


Flying Burrito Brothers v. 5.3
Gib Guilbeau: vocals, fiddle
Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel
Skip Battin: vocals, bass
Gene Parsons: vocals, guitar
Greg Harris: vocals, guitar
Mickey McGee: drums

Live from Tokyo (US)
Regency 79001
June 1979

"White Line Fever" (Live) / "Big Bayou" (Live) (US)
Regency 79001
December 1979







For the Chris Hillman Burritos, see the previous page in this chapter: The Flying Burrito Brothers: 1970 - 1972.


The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 5.0

In July of '74, A&M records released the double record compilation, Close Up the Honky Tonks (A&M, 1974). The album featured cuts from each phase of the Burritos' career, plus a handful of outtakes and rarities. Perhaps as a result of heightened interest in Gram Parsons after his two solo albums for Reprise and his headline-making death in September of '73, the compilation reached #158 in the charts -- no great shakes, but six notches higher than their previous high placing. Eddie Tickner, the Burritos' old manager, fielded a number of inquiries from clubs interested in booking the band, which started Tickner thinking about reviving the Burritos.


Close Up the Honky Tonks. Courtesy A&M Records.

Unfortunately for Tickner, reviving the real Burritos was no longer possible. Gram Parsons was dead. Chris Hillman was doing well with the Souther Hillman Furay Band. Bernie Leadon was doing even better with the Eagles. Rick Roberts and Michael Clarke were putting together Firefall. Instead, Tickner called another of his old clients: former Byrd Gene Parsons.
Parsons relates what happened:
"I got a call from Eddie Tickner, who had been the manager of the original Flying Burrito Brothers and had also been the manager of the original Byrds, and he was my manager up until the time I stopped playing... [H]e called me on the phone and he said, 'You know, I've been talking to booking agents and I hear tell if there were some Flying Burrito Brothers now that there would be bookings available for them.' At that time Chris Ethridge lived right near me... I had been doing some correspondence with Sneaky Pete [Kleinow] and we had Joel Scott Hill from Canned Heat up here, who knew all the old Burrito songs, and of course, I was continually talking with Gib Guilbeau, my friend. So with Eddie's suggestion I called everyone on the phone and asked them if they'd like to reform the Flying Burrito Brothers. So, Eddie and I were pretty much responsible for reforming the Flying Burrito Brothers."*
Gene Parsons and Gib Guilbeau had played together from 1963 until Parsons joined the Byrds in 1968. They were bandmates in the Castaways, then performed as a duo under the name Cajun Gib & Gene. With Clarence White and ex-Castaway Wayne Moore, the twosome became half of Nashville West. When Parsons joined White in the Byrds, Guilbeau backed up Linda Ronstadt, then formed a group called Swampwater with guitarist John Beland and bassist Thad Maxwell. By 1974, Kleinow and Guilbeau were working together in a band called Cold Steel. Ethridge had been playing sessions since his stint in the original Burritos, as had Kleinow. Hill played and sang on Ethridge's 1971 solo album.
Though their claim to the name was dubious, the new Burritos did have some ties to the definitive Gram Parsons era. Ethridge was an original, and had co-written two of the band's classics, "Hot Burrito #1" and "Hot Burrito #2." Kleinow was an original, too. He had no involvement with songwriting, but his steel guitar was one of the band's distinguishing features on its first three albums. Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons (and Clarence White) had auditioned with then-Byrds Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman for the original Burritos, and Gene Parsons actually turned down an offer to join (along with Clarence White) after joining the Byrds in 1968.
By mid-1975, the new model Burritos had a deal with Columbia. Flying Again (Columbia, 1975) arrived in October. Vocal duties were shared (Hill took six leads, Guilbeau three and Parsons one) as were songwriting chores (Guilbeau wrote or co-wrote five tunes, Parsons three, and Hill two). The album also sports covers of George Jones ("Why Baby Why"), Joe Maphis and Rose Lee ("Dim Lights, Thick Smoke") and soul man Dan Penn ("You Left the Water Running" and "Building Fires"). Although most of the album is lackluster (especially the Hill vocals), it did better on the charts than any album by the band's earlier incarnations. Still, the album did not break the Top 100.
Many years later, a live set by this version of the band emerged on From Another Time (Sundown, 1991).


The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 5.1

History repeated itself when Chris Ethridge, the first full-fledged member to split the original Burritos in 1969, became the first to abandon the Refried Burritos as well. (His departure left Kleinow as the sole connection to the original band.) In Ethridge's place, the group hired ex-Byrd Skip Battin, who had more recently been playing country-rock with the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Battin and Gene Parsons had been the rhythm section of the Byrds for three years, so Battin was a natural choice. This version of the Burritos released Airborne (Columbia, 1976), which did not chart. Later, a live show by this group was released as Sin City (Relix, 1992).


Sierra

In 1977, Hill, Guilbeau and Kleinow teamed up with bassist Thad Maxwell, Guilbeau's bandmate in Swampwater, and drummer Mickey McGee. Under the name "Sierra," the band released an album of the same name on Mercury. If this was a bid to avoid the curse of the Burritos, it didn't work. Neither the album nor its single "Gina" achieved commercial success.


The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 5.2

At least the Flying Burrito Brothers name was good for steady gigging in Europe and Japan. Guilbeau, Kleinow and McGee dispensed with the Sierra name, reunited with Gene Parsons (now on guitar after a wrist injury) and Skip Battin, and hit the road again as the Flying Burrito Brothers. This incarnation of the band never released any studio recordings, but two live albums eventually emerged: Flying High (J.B., 1978) and Close Encounters to the West Coast (Relix, 1991).


The Flying Burrito Brothers v. 5.3

With the addition of guitarist/vocalist Greg Harris, the Burritos continued touring (sometimes with Ed Ponder on drums). In June of '79, they released another concert LP, Live from Tokyo (Regency, 1979). This time, something strange happened. The single, a live version of Merle Haggard's "White Line Fever," somehow penetrated the lower reaches of the American country charts. Gene Parsons, Harris and McGee had already opted out by this point, but the rest of the band had reached a crossroads: would they continue on, oblivious to commercial considerations, or would they go for the brass ring?



To follow the career of the no-longer-flying Burrito Brothers, see The Burrito Brothers: 1980 - 1985.



Notes

"I got a call..." Claybaugh at 9.


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Spinoffs | Flying Burrito Brothers | 1974 - 1979

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