The Flying Burrito Brothers

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The Flying Burrito Brothers was an early country rock band, best known for its influential debut album, 1969's The Gilded Palace of Sin.[1] Although the group is most often mentioned in connection with country rock legends Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, the group underwent many personnel changes.



Classic line-up

The Flying Burrito Brothers were founded on the West Coast of the United States, by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, former members of The Byrds,[2] and pianist/bassist Chris Ethridge and pedal steel guitarist Sneaky Pete Kleinow. They recorded The Gilded Palace of Sin without a regular drummer, the album containing originals by Parsons/Hillman and two covers by soul music writers Dan Penn and Chips Moman. Needing a permanent drummer for touring purposes, the band hired Michael Clarke, another ex-Byrd, who had recently been working with the Dillard and Clark Expedition.

Gilded Palace did not sell well, though was critically well received.[3] Ethridge departed in mid-1969, and Hillman moved to bass as the band hired singer and guitarist Bernie Leadon. The band performed at the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969. As documented in the film Gimme Shelter, the band was on stage when fights broke out in the audience.

Owing to disagreements with Hillman, the next album Burrito Deluxe included few Parsons/Hillman compositions. Parsons left the group after its release in 1970,[4] replaced by Rick Roberts, the new line-up releasing a self-titled album in 1971. Kleinow then left to become a session musician and became part of the line-up in Laramy Smith's group "ARIZONA" then Leadon departed to create the Eagles.[5] Al Perkins and Roger Bush replaced them, and Kenny Wertz and Byron Berline joined as well, releasing a live album Last of the Red Hot Burritos in 1972. The original band dissolved after the last founding member, Chris Hillman, took Perkins with him to join Manassas. Berline, Bush and Wertz formed Country Gazette, and Roberts reassembled a new group for a 1973 European tour, then initiating a solo career before forming Firefall with Michael Clarke.

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