18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a book about EVERYONE in the Flying Burrito Brothers,
This review is from: Hot Burritos: The True Story of The Flying Burrito Brothers (Paperback)
I first become a fan of the Flying Burrito Brothers in 1972. Prior to that, like most rock music listeners, I wouldn't have been caught dead with a Merle Haggard or bluegrass record. But Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, and company opened up my mind to the beauty and joy of country music.
I've witnessed the gradual elevation of former-Burrito, Gram Parsons, to immortal status over the last thirty-five years. In `Hot Burritos,' John Einarson with FBB co-founder, Chris Hillman, debunk the Parsons legend with a hard-hitting history of the pioneering country-rock band that puts the contribution of each member in proper perspective.
Is Chris Hillman's criticism of Parsons motivated by jealousy? Parsons's flamboyant personality and self-inflicted early demise gave birth to a legend that continues to grow with each passing year while Hillman's unparalleled contributions to country-rock go largely unrecognized in comparison. There's no doubt that Gram Parsons had flashes of brilliance throughout his short career with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and as a solo artist. Yet, he never had the discipline to realize the full extent of the gifts he was given. I agree with Hillman in that, although I tried and tried, I found nothing in Parsons's two solo albums to compare with his `Gilded Palace of Sin' songs except for `She.'
To serious Burrito fans, the slights to Hillman and the rest of the band members in the race to exploit the Parsons legend are glaring:
- Several books have been written about Parsons, but none about the Flying Burrito Brothers until now.
- The A&M 1976 release of "Sleepless Nights" is billed as Gram Parsons - The Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram solo on the cover.
- The A&M 1988 release of "The Best of the Flying Burrito Brothers: Farther Along" includes not one song from the post-Parsons Burritos. The 'blue' album and the live "Last of the Red Hot Burritos" had a lot of great stuff, most of it better than the songs from `Burrito Deluxe.'
- The A&M 2001 "20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Flying Burrito Brothers" includes no songs from the post-Parsons Burritos.
The Amoeba Record's 2007 "Gram Parsons With The Flying Burrito Brothers: Live At The Avalon Ballroom, 1969" gives Parsons headline billing and features a solo Gram on the cover.
`Hot Burritos' does much more than just put Parsons's contributions in their rightful perspective. The origins of the band and its ultimate ending are dealt with nicely. Each of the four albums is critiqued and there's a wealth of interesting information coming from first-hand interviews with former Burritos and associates. Similar to his other books I've bought, "Desperados: The Roots Of Country Rock," "Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of the Byrds' Gene Clark," and "There's Something Happening Here: The Story Of Buffalo Springfield," Einarson uses a plethora of primary sources to give a factual account of the Burritos. Chris Hillman gives the reader information about the band that simply could not be found elsewhere.
Sadly, the Flying Burrito Brothers never found their niche while the band existed. However, to their everlasting credit, they've been turning on countless people to the beauty of country music through their recordings for the last forty years. Thanks for the music, Chris, from the Byrds, Burritos, Manassas, Souther, Hillman, and Furay, Desert Rose Band, and the solo albums. Thanks especially for turning me on to bluegrass. And thanks for the great Gospel tunes in your later albums.