[Review] Rick Roberts: Windmills (1972)

A breezy album of country-rock from the former Flying Burrito, now in the company of Eagles.

Kronomyth 1.0: When the apple blossoms bloom in the windmills of your mind.

The hot new Burrito didn’t stick around for very long, leaving after one album (The Flying Burrito Bros) to strike out on his own. Rick Roberts was the best part of the Burritos’ last record and he continues to impress as an up-and-coming country-rock singer/songwriter on Windmills. Produced by David Anderle (who also produced Mother Hen’s eponymous album from the previous year) and featuring a who’s who of country-rock stars including three Eagles, two Burritos and two members of CS&N, Windmills is the kind of breezy endeavor that forecasts smooth sailing for the future.

Roberts has a good voice (sometimes reminiscent of James Taylor) and an ear for mellow country-rock. His first album arrives at more or less the same place as Chris Hillman’s debut, Slippin’ Away; not surprising, since many of the same players are involved. You have the tasteful pedal steel of Al Perkins, the occasional fiddle of Byron Berline and the percussion of Joe Lala on both records. There are also some impressive vocal cameos on Windmills, including harmony vocals from David Crosby (In a Dream), Jackson Browne (Drunk and Dirty), Jane Getz (Pick Me Up On Your Way Down) and Don Henley (Davy McVie).

What’s missing on Windmills is a standout single. Honestly, Roberts’ material on the last Burritos album (“Colorado,” “Why Are You Crying”) was better. Deliver Me isn’t a bad song, but in a crowded market and with a name like Rick Roberts, it would take more than a middle-of-the-road country-rock song to make him a star. And, so, what you’re left with is a pleasant album with some pretty songs from a fresh face and some familiar faces behind it. Windmills isn’t the breakthrough debut I would have predicted after hearing The Flying Burrito Bros. Still, it’s solid enough that I’m interested in hearing more from Rick Roberts.

Original elpee version

A1. Deliver Me (4:51)
A2. Davy McVie (3:45)
A3. In My Own Small Way (2:57)
A4. Sail Away (7:17)
B1. Two Lovely Women (4:39)
B2. In a Dream (4:12)
B3. Drunk and Dirty (3:42)
B4. Pick Me Up On Your Way Down (Harlan Howard) (2:53)
B5. Jenny’s Blues (3:46)

All songs written by Rick Roberts unless noted.

The Players

Rick Roberts (vocals and acoustic guitar, electric rhythm guitar on B1), Mother Hen (Jane Getz) (piano, harmony on B4), Don Henley (drums, chorus on A1, harmony on A2), Joe Lala (percussion), Al Perkins (pedal steel guitar, electric guitar on B3), Lee Sklar (bass), Mike Utley (organ) with Marc Benno (guitar on B1/B3), Byron Berline (fiddle), Jackson Browne (harmony on B3), David Crosby (harmony on B2), Chris Hillman (bass on B3), Bernie Leadon (guitar & chorus on A1, banjo & harmony on A3), Randy Meisner (bass on A1/A3/B2, chorus on A1), Dallas Taylor (drums on B3). Produced by David Anderle; recording engineered by John Haeny, Richie Moore, Kent Nebergall; remix engineered by David Anderle.

The Pictures

Photos by Bob Jenkins. Art direction by Roland Young.

The Plastic

Released on elpee in September 1972 in the US (A&M, SP-4372).

  1. Re-issued on compact disc on August 29, 2001 in Japan (Universal, UICY-3324).
  2. Re-packaged with She Is A Song in December 2004 on 2-for-1 compact disc in the UK (Gott Discs, GOTTCD016).

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