The seeds for this era of the band's history actually started during 1979 whilst Gib was still touring with the FBB.
Gib had signed a song-writing deal with Criterion Music in L.A. and around the same time as his old friend from the Swampwater days John Beland, who was currently leading Rick Nelson's "Stone Canyon Band" had signed a similar contract and the two immediately hooked up in a very prolific song-writing partnership.
Part of their contracts with Criterion gave them access to the company studios in L.A. so that they could demo the songs they had written.
Gib & John called on old friends like Thad Maxwell, Mickey McGee, and on occasions Sneaky Pete Kleinow, to participate in these sessions which eventually developed into a "Swampwater" reunion project.
Many songs were recorded but all remained unreleased until 1987 when the Italian label, Appaloosa, put out a "Swampwater Reunion" album. Although these recordings are not strictly part of the Burrito story they are of prime importance to the most successful era in the long history of the group.
Of the 12 songs on the album all but one were written or co - written by Guilbeau and Beland with Maxwell and McGee also contributing. The one cover version, Bobby Fuller's "Let Her Dance" gave an opportunity for Mickey McGee to exercise his vocal chords. Overall the material was excellent surpassing most of the songs recorded by the Burritos since 1975. A number of songs remained unreleased for a few more years, after the Appaloosa release and one song "Birmingham" written by Guilbeau & Beland still remains in the vaults.
Unfortunately these sessions are the only legacy from the project with no live shows undertaken.
|SWAMPWATER - Reunion|
- SWAMPWATER: Reunion (APPALOOSA AP 046)1987|
CD Reissue: (AKARMA RECORDS AK 281)
Band: Gib Guilbeau, John Beland, Thad Maxwell & Mickey McGee
Even after the aborted "Swampwater" sessions Gib & John continued recording at Criterion along with Gib's colleagues in the Burritos, Skip Battin, Sneaky Pete Kleinow & Mickey McGee.
Many songs were recorded but like the earlier recordings remained unheard for many years until picked up by the UK label "Sundown" who released a 2 LP set in 1990 entitled "Hollywood Nights' 1979-82" containing 18 songs from these and later Criterion sessions.
|THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS - Hollywood Nights 1979-82|
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Hollywood Nights 1979-82 (SUNDOWN CDLP 067 / SUNDOWN CDSD 067 (UK) 1990)|
Many of these songwriting demos from 1979 - 82 were later re-recorded by the Burrito Brothers (Gib Guilbeau & John Beland) and included on the duo's Curb albums. The LP version contains 18 songs with the CD containing an extra 5 bonus tracks(*) which actually come from the 1979 "Swampwater" sessions with the song "You" identical to "They'll Never Be No Getting Over You" from the "Swampwater Reunion" album on Appaloosa AP 046 released in 1987.
Produced by John Beland
The CD version released at the same time contained an additional 5 bonus tracks although these were actually out-takes from the earlier "Swampwater Reunion" sessions.
All 23 songs on the CD version were written by Guilbeau & Beland and although only intended as demo's produced a very strong album with some excellent steel guitar by Kleinow on some tracks. The songs themselves were far more commercial than any other recordings since 1975 and many were later re-recorded for subsequent releases in the 1980's.
These recordings have been recycled many times in recent years by a succession of, mainly European, labels until a number of differing titles, one such release even purporting that they were live recordings.
Several other well known musicians took part in these Criterion sessions including pianist, Charlie Harwood who occasionally joined the Burrito's on live shows in the Southern California area. Drummers Billy Thomas, later in Emmylou Harris' "Hot Band", and Steve Duncan later a member of former Burrito Chris Hillman's "Desert Rose Band".
The Guilbeau & Beland songwriting partnership continued and eventually Gib asked John to join the Burritos. Initially John was reluctant to leave his secure position with Rick Nelson but realising that the band needed to change direction and aim for country music radio accepted Gib's offer.
Also recorded at Criterion during this period was an album by Jim Ringer called "Endangered Species" released on the Flying Fish label in 1981. This album produced by John Beland's long time friend and early mentor Larry Murray credits amongst the musicians "The Burrito Brothers" (Beland, Guilbeau, Kleinow, Battin & McGee), the Dillards (including ex Burrito Ed Ponder) & The Hot Band with Billy Thomas and adding John Beland on guitar. The Burrito Brothers appear courtesy of Curb / Columbia Records.
Over the years several compilation albums / CD's have been released:
- COAST TO COAST (LIVE FEATURING SNEAKY PETE) (POINT 2621322 (1992)|
A budget album wrongly credited as a live recording all songs from Hollywood Nights
- IN CONCERT (HAPPY PRICE HP 93442 (EEU) 1994)
- TOO MUCH HONKY TONKIN 1979 - 82 (COUNTRY STARS CTS 55439 (EEU) 1996)
- IN CONCERT (START 93422 (HOLLAND) 1998)
- MASTERS (EAGLE EABC 079 (UK) 1998)
- MEMBERS EDITION (UNITED AUDIO UAE 1282 (1998)
- LOUISIANA (DESPERADO DS 029 (EEU) 1999)
- THE GOLD COLLECTION (FINE TUNE 1145 (US) 2000)
- WANTED (WETON 023 (EUROPE) 2003)
- COUNTRY MUSIC - LA GRANDE MUSICA AMERICANA - The Flying Burrito Brothers (Hobby & Work CM 015 (1999)
- HONKY TONK NIGHTS (Music Ave (2006)