The Definitive Collection
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The Flying Burrito Brothers created an undisputed masterpiece when they cut their first album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, in 1969, and while the group would continue to make records in one form or another for the next thirty years, as far as most fans were concerned, it was pretty much over when Gram Parsons — the lead singer, principle songwriter and creative visionary behind the first album — quit the band after completing their second LP, 1970s Burrito Deluxe. The Definitive Collection plays to the common consensus that the two albums with Parsons represented the band's best work by featuring both in their entirety, along with three bonus tracks — the rare non-LP single "The Train Song," and covers of "Six Days on the Road" and "Close Up the Honky-Tonks." While by all logic this disc ought to live up to its title, in practice it falls a bit short of the mark. While The Gilded Palace of Sin is a uniformly superb album, Burrito Deluxe sounds a bit spotty in comparison, with a few tracks that are clearly filler (even Parsons admitted to journalists he was preoccupied with other things while it was being recorded); the superb compilation Farther Along: The Best of the Flying Burrito Brothers wisely cherry-picked the best songs from the second album and instead devoted the space to superior outtakes and rarities, and as a consequence it's a more consistent and satisfying listen. Despite this, The Definitive Collection does offer two albums anyone with a serious interest in the roots of country-rock needs to hear in one handsome package, remastered in their original mixes and featuring fine liner notes from Robyn Flans, and it's full of superb music from one of the guiding lights of the genre. If it doesn't quite qualify as definitive, it's close enough to merit a spot in most folks' music collection. (The same compilation was previously released by Universal under the title Sin City: The Very Best of the Flying Burrito Brothers, with similar front-cover artwork.)
If you're inclinde to get this - and by all means, you should be becaus it's fantastic, you might want to check out the anthology for a few more dollars. It's worth the cost for the additional songs. If you've given this a preview, undoubtedly you've heard the genius of Gram Parsons. These are exceptionally crafted songs, and country to the core... but with the spirit that anything from the Laurel Canyon area carried in the '60s. The Burritos are the undisputed champions of Southern California country, as is evidenced here. Masterworks from an underrated band - a must have for fans of the Byrds, the Dead, NRPS, CSN and all other groups influenced by country music. Give it a spin.
Formed: 1969 in Los Angeles, CA
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s