Having helped invent modern country rock with his contribution to the Byrds' Sweetheart Of The Rodeo
, Gram Parsons
left the Byrds
in protest at their decision to tour South Africa and formed the Flying Burrito Brothers with fellow ex-Byrd Chris Hillman
. Gilded Palace Of Sin
and Burrito Deluxe
are the only two Burritos' albums to feature the restless Parsons. The first is one of the best half dozen albums ever made, a dazzling synthesis of country traditions and hippie irreverence--Parsons' self-described "Cosmic American Music". The second is merely a work of thundering genius.
Gilded Palace Of Sin brought out the best in Parsons, both as a writer ("Hot Burrito #1", better known as "I'm Your Toy", is now a standard) and a singer (his mournful version of "Dark End Of The Street" is worth the price on its own). His collaborations here with Chris Hillman ("Wheels" and "Juanita") would not have disgraced any Hank Williams record (like Williams, Parsons was never accepted by the Nashville country establishment). Burrito Deluxe, though somewhat erratic by comparison, contains at least one more Hillman/Parsons classic ("Cody Cody") and several typically impassioned covers, not the least of which is Parsons' tilt at the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses"--a song variously rumoured to have been written for or about Parsons. --Andrew Mueller