The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Best of the Flying Burrito Brothers

A&M/Universal

No less than the third anthology on the band released by the same label (and that’s not counting the recent double album from Rhino of Burrito leader/guiding spirit/doomed troubadour Gram Parsons’ hits, which unsurprisingly includes almost everything here), is still an excellent cut-rate introduction to the group. As the cliché goes about The Velvet Underground, not many people purchased the only two Flying Burrito Brothers albums with Parsons aboard when they were released in 1969 and ’70, but everyone who did started a band.

Certainly the strains of The Eagles, Poco, his compatriot Emmylou Harris, and later, The Jayhawks and Son Volt can be easily heard in these 12 tracks. If those artists are already in your collection, you simply cannot be without something from the Burritos. And if you’re on a budget, this is going to fill the bill. But not for long. Once you hear Parsons• plaintive voice and memorable, often weepy but never maudlin songs, you•ll want more. This 41-minute compilation (which interestingly includes a handful of rarities) is a decent place to start. It’s an adequate sampler for those who need just a taste of the roots of country rock, or “Cosmic American Music,” as Parsons dubbed it. Once you’ve saddled up this pony, it’s probable you’ll want to ride this horse additional times around the track. Similar to the most legendary American icons, just about everything Parsons touched was worth hearing.

Those who think country rock leaves a dusty taste in their mouth need only to wrap their lips around these timeless tracks. They may not turn you into a fan, but you•ll undoubtedly have an appreciation for one of the most respected, and ultimately tragic figures in the history of Americana music.

Universal Records, 17555 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

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