The Flying Burrito Brothers (1978-1979)

The Flying Burrito Brothers 1978

Harris - Battin - Kleinow - Guilbeau - Ponder


Burritos at the "Lone Star" in NYC
Sneaky Pete, Skip & Greg

Now based in L.A. Greg returned to playing solo gigs and after a show at a small bar the bartender asked him to record some songs just for fun at the small home recording studio in the house he shared with a guy called Mickey McGee.
Greg Harris At the time Mickey was out on tour playing drums with the The Flying Burrito Brothers, and on returning from tour Mickey found the tape and asked who was this guy. Mickey impressed by the tape and knowing that Bobby Cochran was about to leave the band arranged for Greg to audition for the FBB.

The audition was set up at Skip Battin's house in Topanga Canyon and after rehearsing for an hour with the remaining band members Mickey McGee, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Gib Guilbeau and Skip Battin they liked what they heard and Greg was hired. This was early 1978 and the band were due to go back on the road in about five days but Greg who didn't even own an Electric Guitar and had to buy one to use on the tour. The tour started in New York at the "Bottom Line" and Greg started his career with the band by having to sing the first 5 songs of the set, quite a baptism for his first time on the road, which highly amused the other band members.

After that short tour Skip, Gib and Sneaky Pete had an offer to join up with the New Riders Of The Purple Sage for a tour in April 1978, however, it was short lived merger because the FBB had already signed up for a tour of Japan in May 1978 with Ed Ponder replacing Mickey McGee on the drums.


Skip Battin - Gib Guilbeau - Greg Harris

The Flying Burrito Brothers

Kleinow, Battin, Guilbeau, Harris & Ponder
front: Mark Holland


Sneaky Pete, Gib, Skip, Ed & Greg

Note: Mark Holland (in the picture above right) is a huge Gram Parsons fan, started the "Gram Parsons Foundation" in the 80s. He has a bed and breakfast in Tampa/Florida known as "Gram's Place".


Gib, Ed, Skip & Greg

The Flying Burrito Brothers were announced on posters and in newspapers with Gene Parsons and Jimmy Ibbotson (member of the "Nitty Gritty Dirt Band" and short term member of Skip Battin's "Evergreen Blueshoes"). There were also pictures with Gene Parsons and Jimmy Ibbotson!!! Jimmy Ibbotson was invited by Skip Battin but Jimmy wasn't interested in the Japan tour.
So the band line-up for the tour was Gib Guilbeau, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Skip Battin, Greg Harris and Ed Ponder.
During the tour a live album recorded at the "Kudan Kaikan Hall / Tokyo" on May 14 / 15th titled "Close Encounters To The West Coast" and released later in 1978 in Japan on the Better Days / Columbia Nippon label.

The live album retitled "Live In Tokyo" was issued in the US the following year by the small Regency label and has been released several times since under different guises.

Close encounters ...

Close encounters ...

Close Encounters To The West Coast
and Live In Tokyo

Live in Tokyo

- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Close Encounters To The West Coast (Nippon Columbia YX 7218)
later it was released in the US as:
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: Live In Tokyo (Regency 79001)
Produced by the Flying Burrito Brothers
with Greg Harris, Gib Guilbeau, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Skip Battin & Ed Ponder.

Side A: Big bayou/White line fever/Dim lights, thick smoke (and loud, loud music)/There'll be no teardrops tonight/Rollin' my sweet baby's arms
Side B: Hot Burrito # 2/Colorado/Rocky top/Six days on the road/Truck drivin' man.

Note: "Close Encounters To The West Coast" was released by Relix Records on CD 1991 (Relix RRCD 2044) and "Live In Tokyo" by the UK Soundown label 1986 on vinyl. 1993 the German Castle Communications released the album together with another live album "Live From Europe" recorded 1985 also with Greg Harris on 1 CD with the title "The Live Collection" ( CMC 3087). - Once again "Close Encounters To The West Coast" and "Live In Tokyo" are the same albums.


Gib Guilbeau


Greg Harris




Skip Battin


Gib Guilbeau

Note: Pics above take in Japan on 14th May 1978.

A 1979 single from the album issued by Regency unexpectedly gave the Flying Burrito Brothers their first country chart entry with a cover of Merle Haggard's "White line fever".

Greg Harris THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: White line fever Single
- THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: White line fever/Big Bayou (Regency 45001)
Produced by The Flying Burrito Brothers
with Greg Harris, Gib Guilbeau, Skip Battin, Sneaky Pete Kleinow & Ed Ponder

Note: That single reached the country charts around # 79!

Also in May 1978 Sneaky Pete Kleinow recorded two songs at "Soundcastle Studio" for a Pedal Steel instrumental album "Pacific Steel Co." which was produced by Al Perkins:

PACIFIC STEEL CO. Pacific Steel Co.
- PACIFIC STEEL CO.: Pacific Steel Co. (PAC7-121)
Produced by Al Perkins
Two songs by Sneaky Pete Kleinow with Greg Harris, Skip Battin & Ed Ponder.
Other songs by Jay Dee Maness, Al Perkins, Tom Brumley, Junior (Red) Rhodes & Michael Nesmith.

Side A: Fat'n sassy/Spittin' image/Atrium/Selah/Sheffield steel
Side B: Salty psaltery/Jay Dee's boogie/Arrowhead/Tonight is forever/Rio

The same Burrito band as on the Japan tour played on the songs with the exception of Gib Guilbeau. The Sneaky Pete songs on that album were "Spittin image" and "Tonight is forever" both written by Sneaky Pete. Musicians were Sneaky Pete, Greg Harris, Skip Battin and Ed Ponder.

Greg Harris

Greg Harris

     Skip Battin

     Skip Battin

     Ed Ponder

     Ed Ponder

     Sneaky Pete Kleinow

     Sneaky Pete

Later 1978 Sneaky Pete recorded a solo album titled "Sneaky Pete" with Greg Harris playing on 9 of the 10 songs. Other musicians were present day and past members of the Flying Burrito Brothers like Gib Guilbeau, Skip Battin, Gene Parsons, Mickey McGee, Bobby Cochran & Charlie Harwood. This album was released on the Shiloh label.

Sneaky Pete Kleinow

Shiloh cover

SNEAKY PETE KLEINOW: Sneaky Pete Sneaky Pete

Rhino cover

- SNEAKY PETE KLEINOW: Sneaky Pete (Shiloh SLP 4086)
Produced by Dale Davis & Gene Humphrey
with Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Greg Harris, Skip Battin ,Gene Parsons, Gib Guilbeau, Jamie Faunt, Mickey McGee, Charlie Harwood, Connie Williams, Ed Ponder & Bobby Cochran.

Side A: Cannonball rag/Love of the common people/Leaning on your love/Sleepy lagoon/California and you
Side B: Beat the heat/Oklahoma stomp/Trains in the station/Bad seed/Hanalei.

Flying Burrito Brothers 1979

Skip - Gene - Greg

Note: 1986 Rhino Records re-released this album with a different cover (RNLP 70070)
Vancouver and in 1994 Shiloh Records released another Sneaky Pete album "The Legend & The Legacy" containing 8 new recordings and a further 5 first released on the 1978 album.

Trying to sign with Elektra/Asylum Records the FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS with Gene Parsons back in the band recorded demos at Conway studio in Hollywood 1979.

Conway studio demos:

with: Gib Guilbeau, Gene Parsons, Sneaky Pete, Greg Harris, Skip Battin.

  • Makin' it right (Greg vocals)
  • Ooh-Wee California (Gib vocals)
  • Please notify someone (Gene & Greg vocals)
  • Rider in the rain (Gene vocals)

    Flying Burrito Brothers

    Greg - Skip - Sneaky - Gib - Ed

    But Elektra seems that the material was not commercial enough.
    Gene Parsons leaves the band for the final time and Mickey McGee returns for a few weeks.

    Flying Burrito Brothers

    Sneaky, Skip, Gib & Greg

    Ed Ponder returns on drums and the Burritos did again some demos for Elektra:

    Elektra demos:

  • Ease on by you (Greg vocals)
  • Ooh-Wee California (Gib vocals)
  • Cajun fiddle man (Gib vocals)
  • Here comes love (Skip vocals)

    But Elektra didn't like the recordings and were never released although most of the songs from both these demo sessions were subsequently re-recorded for various solo projects by the band members.

    Note: At that time Eric White (Clarence's brother) was the roadie for the Burritos.

    After Gene Parsons left the Flying Burrito Brothers 1979 he started to record his second solo album "Melodies".
    Greg played acoustic guitar and mandolin on that album.
    Other musicians were Herb Pedersen (ex-Dillards), Albert Lee, Bob Warford (ex-Kentucky Colonels), Roger Bush (Country Gazette) ... .

    Melodies GENE PARSONS: Melodies
    - GENE PARSONS: Melodies (Sierra/Briar SRS 8703)
    Produced by Gene Parsons
    with Gene Parsons, Greg Harris, Herb Pedersen, Albert Lee, Luis Cabaza, Bob Warford
    Roger Bush, Joey Larsen, Pierre Bensusan, Peter Wasner & David Vaught.

    Side A: My kingdom for a car/Melodies from a bird in flyght/Mama Papa/Won't last long/Way out there
    Side B: Hot Burrito # 1/No fire here tonight/Pastime/Little jewels/Why you been gone so long

    Gene and Greg

    Gene Parsons & Greg

    Note: This album was re-released by Gene Parsons' String Bender Records on CD.

    Greg remembers the recording sessions:

    "I was playing in night clubs in Los Angeles, so I would play until one o'clock in the morning and then drive an hour to Hollywood and record from about three in the morning 'till eight. All night long, just me and Gene. That was it. And then I had to go on the road with the Burritos, Mickey McGee being on drums. So I left the sessions and Gene did the rest with Albert Lee and Herb Pedersen, whom I didn't meet."

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