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 Parsons—Burrito 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.