The Flying Burrito Brothers: Burrito Deluxe

The Flying Burrito Brothers: Burrito Deluxe is released.
# allmusic 4.5/5
Burrito Deluxe is the second album by The Flying Burrito Brothers, released in April, 1970. In between The Gilded Palace of Sin and Burrito Deluxe, the band underwent some personnel changes. Bassist Chris Ethridge left the band out of frustration at the band’s lack of success. In his place, Chris Hillman moved over to bass, and Bernie Leadon was hired to play guitar. Also, ex-Byrd Michael Clarke was hired as the band’s full-time drummer.
It is the Flying Burrito Brothers’ second and last album to feature Gram Parsons, who left–or was squeezed out, depending on which story you believe–halfway through the sessions. Surprisingly, the album doesn’t suffer from the fracturing of the group, and the album is in many ways stronger than the debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin. Two stunning covers by rock royalty show how far the band had traveled in their short career; both outshine the originals. The version of Bob Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” has a relaxed, sexy saunter missing from the original, and the version of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses”–which appeared over a year before the Stones’ own version–is sublime, one of Parsons’ most tender and expressive vocals. Elsewhere, the originals combine country and rock much more adroitly than the somewhat tentative debut. A country-rock milestone.
by Mark Deming, allmusic
Gram Parsons had a habit of taking over whatever band he happened to be working with, and on the first three albums on which he appeared — the International Submarine Band’s Safe at Home, the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and the Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace of Sin — he became the focal point, regardless of the talent of his compatriots. Burrito Deluxe, the Burritos’ second album, is unique in Parsons’ repertoire in that it’s the only album where he seems to have deliberately stepped back to make more room for others; whether this was due to Gram’s disinterest in a band he was soon to leave, or if he was simply in an unusually democratic frame of mind is a matter of debate. But while it is hardly a bad album, it’s not nearly as striking as The Gilded Palace of Sin. Parsons didn’t deliver many noteworthy originals for this set, with “Cody, Cody” and “Older Guys” faring best but paling next to the highlights from the previous album (though he was able to wrangle the song “Wild Horses” away from his buddy Keith Richards and record it a year before the Rolling Stones’ version would surface). And while the band sounds tight and they play with genuine enthusiasm, there’s a certain lack of focus in these performances; the band’s frontman sounds as if his thoughts are often elsewhere, and the other players can’t quite compensate for him, though on tunes like “God’s Own Singer” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go,” they gamely give it the old college try. Burrito Deluxe is certainly a better than average country-rock album, but coming from the band who made the genre’s most strongly defining music, it’s something of a disappointment.
“Lazy Days” (Gram Parsons) – 3:03
“Image of Me” (Harlan Howard, Wayne Kemp) – 3:21
“High Fashion Queen” (Chris Hillman, Parsons) – 2:09
“If You Gotta Go, Go Now” (Bob Dylan) – 1:52
“Man in the Fog” (Bernie Leadon, Parsons) – 2:32
“Farther Along” (J.R.Baxter, W.B.Stevens) – 4:02
“Older Guys” (Hillman, Leadon, Parsons) – 2:31
“Cody, Cody” (Hillman, Leadon, Parsons) – 2:46
“God’s Own Singer” (Leadon) – 2:08
“Down in the Churchyard” (Hillman, Parsons) – 2:22
“Wild Horses” (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 6:26

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