Album review: THE BURRITO BROTHERS – The Notorious Burrito Brothers

THE BURRITO BROTHERS -- The Notorious Burrito Brothers

Store For Music [Release date 06.03.20]

This is one of those situations where a little knowledge is a bad thing. Without any “previous” one would pick up this disc and be introduced to very pleasant, competent country rock. Non-threatening, if a little middle of the road, but executed well.

But it carries the mantle of the Flying Burrito Brothers, who pretty much invented country rock back in the day. Back in the days of Bernie Leadon, Chris Hillman and the peerless Gram Parsons.

The band eventually morphed into The Burrito Brothers during the 1980’s, and since then they’ve variously been re-incarnated as Burrito Deluxe, and as The Burritos

Here’s the rub. These guys have no history with the band before 2010. They have no direct lineage whatsoever to The Flying Burrito Brothers. They should of course be credited for keeping the flame alive – but they sit uncomfortably in that space between tribute band and genuine bearer of the flame

The flames here are fanned by a retreading of the Flying Burrito Brothers “Cosmic American Music” classic “Dark End of the Street”, and an excellent cover it is. “Sometimes You Can’t Win” is given a Burrito Brothers / Gram Parsons co-credit, which I don’t really get since Gram had passed away before The Burrito Brothers were even born. Another Burrito classic is “Do Right Woman”, whereas appearing here is a song called “Do Right Man” !

The album is mostly original songs though, with, I have to say, a very clean recorded sound, and good vocals

The Flying Burrito Brothers were legendary. But not just that – they were hugely influential. One of those examples where everyone who bought their record seemed to start a band ! There would have been no Eagles without the Flying Burritos ! Plus they had a kind of royal pedigree, coming as they did out of the ashes of The Byrds. Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons also discovered Emmylou Harris for the world and brought her into Gram’s band.

Gram was a rich boy, lazy with his career, wasted on drugs and wasteful of his talent – but nonetheless a genius

It’s hard to follow that. The Burrito Brothers should be commended for trying, even if never being 100% convincing. ***1/2

Review by Iain McGonigal

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