In July 1974 A & M released a retrospective double album, "Close Up The Honky Tonks" which besides featuring tracks from the first two albums and the single "The Train Song" also contained a number of previously unreleased tracks from the Sound Factory early 1970 demo sessions, the collaboration with Gene Clark "Here Tonight" and completed by three live out-takes from late 1971.
With the popularity of the band in Holland still very high the Dutch arm of A & M went one better with their own double album "Honky Tonk Heaven" all of which was being released for the first time. Several songs were duplicated across these two releases but the Dutch version added more songs from the 1970 sessions, and included out-takes from the third album sessions but omitted the live material.
A number of tracks remained exclusive to this for many years until the advent of the CD, but even now a couple of songs from this album are still unavailable on the CD format.
THE COMPTCHE FIREHOUSE BENEFIT BLUES BAND /
Since leaving the Byrds Gene Parsons had been playing and recording demos in Comptche, Ca. with a group of musicians first as "The Comptche Firehouse Benefit Blues Band" featuring Joel Scott Hill, Graham Keigley, Steve Gurr and sometimes Gene Clark. Later Chris Ethridge and Tommy Kendall joined the group and the new name was"The Docker Hill Boys".
THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS
By chance at the time Chris Ethridge was living close to Gene and was soon persuaded to rejoin on bass, Sneaky Pete also came back on to the scene. The final member was an old friend of Gene's , Cajun musician Gib Guilbeau, the two of them having played together in several guises in the 1960's the best known being "Nashville West" aka "The Reasons" along with Clarence White.
So in September 1974 with the new five piece group now starting to tour it wasn't long before they set about recording demos which lead to a recording contract with Columbia who rejected these initial recordings which are presumably still in the label's vaults. One song "Wind & Rain" sung by Gene Parsons did eventually get a release on his "Kindling Collection" CD.
Other songs reportedly recorded around this time included:
The first three were later recut for inclusion ot the band's two Columbia albums, the final song written by Gib Guilbeau remains unissued.
The initial recordings having been rejected , the band were placed in the hands of the Nashville producer Norbert Putnam and in the early summer of 1975 further sessions commenced that would find release as "Flying Again which was released in October. Although the album achieved the highest position, # 138, of any Burrito albums sales were again disappointing due in the most part to the lack of strong material because of record company pressure for an album. Of the album cuts the two contributions by Gene Parsons were undoubtedly strong, a re-cut of "Wind & Rain" this time with Joel on vocals and "Sweet Desert Childhood" sung by Gene. "Building Fires" partly written by Dan Penn was an obvious choice for the first single, and Gib Guilbeau's two songs, "Bon Soir Blues" & "River Road" showed his Cajun roots, "Easy To Get On" from Joel had previously been recorded at the Docker Hill Boys sessions in 1974. The remaining songs are a couple of covers and the group collaboration "Hot Burrito # 3" must rank as one of the weakest songs ever recorded by the band. In hindsight it would appear that record company pressure for "product" spoilt an excellent opportunity for the reformed band to deliver a top rate album.
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - Flying Again|
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Flying Again (COLUMBIA 33817 (US) 1975 / CBS 69184 (UK) 1975)|
CD Reissue: LINE CLCD 9.00931 (CD - GERMANY ) 1990
Produced by Norbert Putnam and Glen Spreen
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - singles|
BUILDING FIRES / HOT BURRITO # 3 (Columbia 10229 (US) / CBS 3724 (UK) - 1975)|
BON SOIR BLUES / HOT BURRITO # 3 (Columbia 10287 (US) - 1975)
The band continued touring extensively throughout 1975 and early 1976 with a number of shows being recorded one of which from early 1976 was released as "From Another Time" on the small independent Shiloh label in 1989. The content was a fair representation of a typical Burrito show of the period containing not only material from the Columbia record but also the A & M years with only a couple of songs "Diggi Liggi Li" & "Faded Love" not having been released by the band before. The latter was of special interest being the only song in the whole Burrito history sung by Sneaky Pete ever commercially released on disc.
Much later in 2001 this live album was revisited by the Beautown label and with the addition of several unreleased tracks and released as "The Red Album".
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - live albums|
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: From Another Time
(SHILOH SCD 4094 (US) 1991 / SUNDOWN SDLP / CD 072 (UK)
Recorded live in 1976
Diggi Liggi Li / Wheels / Dim Lights,Thick Smoke / Faded Love / Devil In Disguise
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: The Red Album
In February 1976 Chris Ethridge left the band for the second time to return to session work.
THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS
Chris Ethridge was replaced by another ex Byrd, Skip Battin, who after a couple of years playing with "The New Riders Of the Purple Sage", renews his rhythm section partnership from the Byrds with Gene Parsons.
Immediately Skip joined the other members in Crystal Studios to record a new album for Columbia along with Stevie Wonder and some of his musicians guest at the sessions. The album "Airborne" released in June lacked any real direction being just a collection of average songs at a time when the "country rock" genre was peaking with "The Eagles" flying high. Chartwise it fared even worse than it's predecessor not even denting the top 200 album.
Of the material Gib Guilbeau was represented by five songs the solely written "Toe Tappin Music" & "Big Bayou", the rocking "Out Of Control" with Gene Parsons, "Waiting For Love To Begin" with Sneaky Pete completed by "Walk On The Water" with Joel Scott Hill who also was represented by "Border Town" a co-write with Michael Lawson. The remaining songs were from outside sources, the old Ray Sharpe R'n'R classic "Linda Lu", Stevie Wonder's "She's A Sailor", the John Prine song "Quiet Man" was Skip Battin's first vocal contribution to the band. The last couple of songs "Northbound Bus" written by Nicki Barclay and "Jesus Broke The Wild Horse" complete the album.
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - Airborne|
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Airborne (COLUMBIA 34222 (US ) 1976 / CBS 81433 (UK) 1976|
Produced by John Fischenbach & The Flying Burrito Brothers
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - single|
|WAITING FOR LOVE TO BEGIN / BIG BAYOU (Columbia 10389 (US) - 1976)|
Resuming touring again many shows were recorded and years later the New York based label "Relix" released a couple of live albums from these 1976 tours. The first album "Sin City" released in 1991 was the usual mix of old & newer Burrito material with nothing really knew except versions of Lefty Frizzell's "If You've Got The Money", & the traditional "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" & Gib Guilbeau's song from his Swampwater days "Take A City Bride". The second Relix album "The Bicentennial Burritos" taken from shows in Oklahoma City, Passaic N.J. & Kansas City didn't appear until 1999 containing different versions of most of the material from the earlier Relix release. The only previously unavailable song on a Burrito release (live or studio) being a version of "Old Time Rock'n'Roll". Although these albums are of interest to collectors of Burrito music neither do anything to enhance the band reputation.
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - live albums|
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Sin City (RELIX RRCD 2052 (US) 1992)
Recorded live in 1976
White Line Fever / Faded Love / Wheels / Do Right Woman / If You've Got the Money / Take A City Bride
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: The Bicentennial Burritos (RELIX RRCD 2098 (US) 1999)
Orange Blossom Special / Toe Tappin' Music / Old Time Rock'n'Roll / Sin City / Close Up The Honky Tonks
Unfortunately whilst touring in the summer of 1976 Gene Parsons, temporarily left after breaking his wrist. Gary Wattman (appears on a couple of Hoyt Axton albums around the same time) substituted for Gene on drums and at short notice Ed Ponder took over on drums and it was this line up that toured Europe in the Autumn Returning to the US in November the fit again Gene rejoined but Ed remained on drums and they toured as a six piece unit for a few weeks but in December wholesale changes took place with Gene, Skip & Ed all leaving the band. This proved to be the start of many comings & goings over the next few years.
Replacements were quickly found with Gib's old colleague from Swampwater, Thad Maxwell coming in on bass and L.A. session drummer Mickey McGee completing this new formation but again a short lived one for in February 1977 Joel Scott-Hill also left with his replacement being Bobby Cochran on guitar & vocals.
Other albums with tracks from that period:
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Flying Again / Airborne (Acadia ACA8110 - 2006)|
2 albums on one CD (Airborne for the first time on CD)
- GENE PARSONS: "The Kindling Collection" (SIERRA SXCD 6007 (US) 1994)
- VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Best Of Shiloh - Volume 1 (SHILOH SCD 4093 (US) 1990)
- HONKY TONK NIGHTS (Music Ave (2006)