THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS
Sneaky Pete & Gib after re-establishing the Flying Burrito Brothers name invite Skip Battin to rejoin along with new face Robb Strandlund on guitar and vocals go back on the road. Robb had made a nice solo album in 1976 but is best known for his song "Already Gone" recorded with great success by The Eagles.
This formation continued until March 1978 completing all outstanding commitments but no known recordings either studio or live sources have ever surfaced with Robb Standlund on vocals.
NEW RIDERS with BURRITOS
What happens next is probably the most bizarre episode in Burrito history, in March 1978 Mickey McGee & Robb Strandlund both depart leaving only Guilbeau, Kleinow & Battin.
Coincidentally, at this time one of Skip's old groups The New Riders Of The Purple Sage were also having personnel problems and down to three members, John Dawson, David Nelson & Patrick Shanahan so the two factions united and played together for about a month before going their separate ways again.
THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS
Even though record sales had never been high there was always a market for the Flying Burrito Brothers as a touring band particularly in Japan and Europe and an offer to tour Japan was too good to turn down.
The three remaining members, Sneaky, Gib & Skip, brought Ed Ponder back on drums and recruited singer & multi - instrumentalist Greg Harris for the Japanese tour.
Greg is a proficient musician on Guitar, Fiddle, Banjo, Mandolin as well as being an excellent singer and although his previous experience apart, from an album with Chick Rains, was mainly as a backing musician but he proved to be a very capable front man for the band.
The tour in Japan proved very successful and Columbia - Nippon recorded one of the Tokyo shows to release as an album. The resulting record "Close Encounters To The West Coast" was initially only available as an expensive Japanese import but was later released in the US by the small Regency label as "Live In Tokyo".
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - Close Encounters ... / Live In Tokyo|
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Close Encounters To The West Coast / Live In Japan
(BETTER DAYS (COLUMBIA) YX 7218 (JAPAN) 1978 / RELIX RRCD 2044 (US - CD REISSUE) 1991
REGENCY 79001 (US) 1979 / SUNDOWN SDLP 025 (UK) 1986)
Recorded live in Tokyo at the Kudan - Kaikan in 1978.
The original Japanese release and later re-issued using the two different titles.
Produced by The Flying Burrito Brothers
Surprisingly in 1979 Regency also released a single from the album coupling "White Line Fever" with "Big Bayou" which actually gave the band it's first single chart entry by reaching the lower reaches of the country singles chart. The remaining 8 tracks were mostly familiar Burrito staples although Greg does a very nice version of Rick Robert's "Colorado" and other songs new to the band's catalogue - Hank William's "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight", Boudleux & Felice Bryant's "Rocky Top", Terry Fell's classic "Truck Driving Man".
Several labels have subsequently released the album using both the above titles.
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - single|
|WHITE LINE FEVER / BIG BAYOU (REGENCY 45001 (US) 1979 )|
On return from Japan Gene Parsons enters the picture again replacing Ed Ponder and with the Elektra label showing interest in signing the band several demos are recorded at Conway Studios, with Gib, Gene & Greg handling the vocals.
Four songs from these sessions have surfaced amongst collectors :
The first two songs were later recorded by Greg Harris for his one "Electric" solo album, and "Ooh - Wee California" had already been recorded by Gib in his "Swampwater" days at RCA.
Although Elektra had rejected the Conway studio demos they had not dropped their interest in the band in August a further four songs were recorded at Elektra's own studios, but again these were rejected and the chance of a record deal was gone.
These songs also circulate:
Overall these recordings are not a strong as the earlier demos with the band choosing to have another go at the old Swampwater song, a typical Guilbeau Cajun song and two others which would eventually be recorded again for solo projects by Greg Harris & Skip Battin.
THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS
In addition to his musical career Sneaky Pete was becoming more involved in the film industry working as an animator and the band actually played a number of shows during July & August as a four piece whilst Pete worked on a film project. After recording Sneaky returned to his film work and Neil Good took over temporarily on Pedal Steel until Sneaky returned.
Sneaky Pete - Business card
The band then took a break although, along with Hoyt Axton, they did play at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in December 1979 in a benefit show for the Chumash Indians after which Greg Harris left.
During 1978/79 both Sneaky Pete & Gib Guilbeau were recording solo projects backed by several current and past band members resulting in albums for the small Californian label Shiloh.
Sneaky also recorded 2 tracks for a pedal steel compilation album "Pacific Steel Company", issued on the Michael Nesmith (ex Monkees) owned Pacific Arts label backed up by Battin, Harris & Ponder and produced by former Burrito Al Perkins. The band went into "limbo" but a brand new era in the band's history was about to start
- PACIFIC STEEL CO.: Pacific Steel Company (PACIFIC ARTS PAC 7-121 (US) 1978)|
Contains two instrumental tracks by Sneaky Pete but backed by Greg Harris, Skip Battin & Ed Ponder
they are basically Flying Burrito Brothers recordings.
Produced by Al Perkins
Sneaky Pete tracks:
However it's worth noting at this timethat two other albums appeared around this time both credited to The Flying Burrito Brothers but, in fact, were not band recordings, these are still of interest featuring the likes of Gene Parsons & Clarence White.
The first "Burrito Country" on the Brian label is basically a compilation of old Gib Guilbeau material dating back to the mid 60's that was released on small L.A. based labels along with some Swampwater songs from their first album on King.
The second of these releases "Flying High" on J.B. records duplicates some of the material on the Brian disc but does include later material some of which maybe further late 1970's Burrito demos, certainly on a couple of tracks Sneaky Pete's unique steel playing is obvious.
Both the two following albums of dubious legality are credited to the Flying Burrito Brothers are actually mainly solo Gib Guilbeau recordings but are included here for completeness.
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Burrito Country (BRIAN 1979 (US ) 1979)|
The album contains some Gib Guilbeau solo recordings , the Swampwater song "Look Out Your Window" from their King LP
and other songs of unknown source. A number of songs also appear on the following LP but with different titles.
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Flying High (J.B.RECORDS ANV 1008 (US) 1979)