Oct 192010

Hey man, you can take your country rock and leave the best parts of The Flying Burrito Brothers to me! I love the band’s first album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, for its heavy bass, fuzz guitars, and reedy vocals. No offense, but I could give a damn about the whole “country” thing. My favorite country music usually sounds like rock ‘n roll anyhow.

As much as I love the band’s debut, it’s all a little hokey and dated, the way many “psychedelic” albums are bound to be. Better yet is the band’s 1970 follow-up album—and the last one with St. Graham ParsonsBurrito Deluxe. It’s actually way more country rock, with future Eagles member Bernie Leadon joining the band on lead guitar and vocals. As much as I hate Eagles (not The Eagles, as we recently learned), Burrito Deluxe explains why anybody else may have cared to make such music. (Thank god some of the pub rockers, like Brinsley Schwarz, actually had the spirit and playfulness to nail this approach!) Maybe some fans like the more traditionally country songs, but for me the album centers around a few pinky-rock classics: “Lazy Days,” a breakneck cover of Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now,” and the song with this super-hokey video that I just found, “Older Days.” (The album also featurs a nice version of “Wild Horses,” but I’m afraid to tell you that for fear that your mind will run to a series of glorified Stones cliches.)

There are few musical styles that more readily hit my soul than chooglin’ pinky rock. When done by The Flying Burrito Brothers on Burrito Deluxe I get the perfect mix of the best parts of the intersection of The Grateful Dead’s occasional pinky-rock workouts and The Velvet Underground‘s Loaded. And that Bernie Leadon was something else! I remember seeing an old Eagles performance of one of the few songs by them that doesn’t make me throw up, and Leadon was on fire. How’d that guy get lost in the rock ‘n roll shuffle?

I’ve long sought videos of the band from this period with no luck. Tonight, after a pretty trying day that, unfortunately, looks to be headed for an equally trying tomorrow, I hit paydirt! Here’s an actual live clip of “Lazy Days,” from the time shortly after Parsons left the band.



  10 Responses to “Rock ‘n Roll Holy Grail: The Flying Burrito Brothers Play Pinky Rock!”

  1. BigSteve

    Who is the comedian in the boat? I haven’t thought about that guy in ages. The brain cells are coming up with John Bynum, but that must be wrong because google is coming up with nothing, He did impressions I think.

  2. misterioso

    I remember being shocked at this video when I first saw it a few years ago–didn’t expect to see Graham tarting it up MJ style. It’s great, though. But Burrito Deluxe is not so hot in general. Other than “Hippie Boy”, Gilded Palace is neither hokey nor especially dated, at least not in any harmful sense. It’s just great.

    John Byner is the comedian.

  3. Yes! I was stuck on that comedian’s name, too.

  4. machinery

    Funny, always loved Older Days but it always reminded me of a song the Monkees might have done when Nesmith took the reins.

  5. The Burritos should be one of my favorite bands, but for some reason I prefer bands who name-check them to the actual band. Maybe I just need to revisit….

  6. …not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  7. Absolutely one of my favorite bands – now we know where Duran Duran got the inspiration for the Rio video — sans painted up girls, but the Burritos likely didn’t have the same budget to work with.

    I am interested to get my hands on Keith Richards’ autobio to see what he has to say about Gram. Evidently from what I’ve read elsewhere, Gram became kind of a load . . . and a pest to old Keith.

  8. I opened for “The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band” in the early 80’s and Bernie Leadon was with them at the time. Dude could play. What’s he doing now?

  9. There’s scant information on Leadon’s career since his NGDB stint and a reunion tour with Eagles. In 2004 he released his second solo album, following a 27-year wait after his debut solo album. Wikipedia says he’s a surfing enthusiast. His own website concludes with this:

    He continues to perform, mostly at corporate events and private shows.

    I smell an effort to find this guy and conduct an RTH interview!

    (John Cusack, if you’re reading, we haven’t given up on getting you to answer a round of Dugout Chatter.)

    gregg, we may need to put you in the Dugout. You’ve obviously got some cool stories from your musical career.

  10. I had to look up pinky rock…. Do we have a Pinky Rock hall of fame? If so I nominate Rick Richards. (Ga Satellites / Izzy Stradllin)

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