[Review] The Flying Burrito Bros: Burrito Deluxe (1970)

A brighter, bouncier Burrito this time, without the psychedelic pedal to the metal.

Kronomyth 2.0: The gilded pouches of beans.

Despite the short passage of time, Burrito Deluxe is a different record than its predecessor, The Gilded Palace of Sin. For starters, the freestylin’ and psychedelic pedal steel of Sneeky Pete is noticeably restrained this time. The band’s second album is also much brighter and bouncier than their first. Oh, yeah, and Bernie Leadon has now replaced Chris Ethridge, which brings another voice into the mix. The vocal harmonies on this album are one of its most endearing features.

I really like this record, maybe even more than their first, but again I’m not a trustworthy source where country-rock is concerned. The facts that Older Guys sounds like The Monkees or that Man in the Fog features both the tuba and accordion are pluses to me. Which isn’t to say that the band’s country-rock songs don’t blow by like a cool breeze. Their versions of Image of Me and Farther Along are terrific, and the Leadon original, God’s Own Singer, sounds like a classic in the making.

Oddly, the band’s second album didn’t chart. Choosing Cody, Cody as the single probably didn’t help. It’s a great song, perhaps as close as they’d come yet to sounding like The Byrds, but too subtle for the radio. The rollicking “Older Guys” probably would have been the better choice. Or their version of Wild Horses, which makes its first appearance here. Six minutes long or not, it’s a fantastic song. Their take on Bob Dylan’s If You Gotta Go, on the other hand, is their attempt at fixing something that wasn’t broke.

I guess the future didn’t depend on Burrito Deluxe, and maybe that’s why critics tend to give it a colder reception. It’s a really good record, though, and continues to make the case for shifting your attention from The Byrds to The Flying Burrito Bros. Given the fact that Chris Hillman fired Gram Parsons from the band before their next album, a third course may not be in order, but you’ll definitely be wanting this second helping.

Original elpee version

A1. Lazy Days (Gram Parsons) (2:58)
A2. Image of Me (Harlan Howard) (3:20)
A3. High Fashion Queen (Gram Parsons/Chris Hillman) (2:05)
A4. If You Gotta Go (Bob Dylan) (1:57)
A5. Man in the Fog (Bernie Leadon/Gram Parsons) (2:30)
A6. Farther Along (public domain arr. by Chris Hillman/Gram Parsons) (3:58)
B1. Older Guys (Gram Parsons/Chris Hillman/Bernie Leadon) (2:30)
B2. Cody, Cody (Gram Parsons/Chris Hillman) (2:43)
B3. God’s Own Singer (Bernie Leadon) (2:04)
B4. Down in the Churchyard (Chris Hillman/Gram Parsons) (2:19)
B5. Wild Horses (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) (6:20)

The Players

Michael Clarke (drums), Chris Hillman (vocal, bass, mandolin), “Sneeky” Pete Kleinow (pedal steel), Bernie Leadon (guitar, dobro), Gram Parsons (vocal, piano) with Byron Berline (fiddle), Frank Blanco (percussion), Leopoldo C. Carbajal (accordion), Buddy Childers (cornet and flugelhorn), Tommy Johnson (tuba), Leon Russell (piano on A5/B5). Produced by Jim Dickson, Henry Lewy; engineered by Henry Lewy.

The Pictures

Art direction by Tom Wilkes. Photography by Jim McCrary.

The Plastic

Released on elpee in April 1970 in the US and Canada (A&M, SP-4258) and the UK (A&M, AMLS-983).

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1977 in Japan (A&M, GXG-1033).
  2. Re-issued on elpee and compact disc in 1986 in the UK (Edsel, ED/CD 194).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in 1987 in Japan (A&M, C19Y-4004).
  4. Re-issued on compact disc in 1995 in Japan (A&M, POCM-2029).
  5. Re-packaged with The Gilded Palace of Sin on 2-for-1 remastered compact disc in 1997 (A&M, 540 704-2).
  6. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee on June 2, 2015 in the UK (Music on Vinyl, MOVLP1390).
  7. Re-issued on 180g vinyl elpee in 2018 in the US (Intervention, IR-022).

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