ARTIST: The Flying Burrito Brothers
TITLE: The Gilded Palace of Sin
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #164
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I bet you know Hot Burrito #1 by its cover versions and as I’m Your Toy.
LINEUP: Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Chris Ethridge. John Corneal played drums on half of the tracks before he split, then they used who was available.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It’s not the first country rock album, it’s not even the first famous country rock album, but it’s the legendary country rock album that made the in-crowd notice.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: First, no matter what you think about country music, this is a songwriter’s album first and foremost. Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman wrote great originals (“Christine’s Tune”, “Sin City”, “Wheels”) and Parsons and Ethridge collaborated on the record’s two gems (“Hot Burrito #1” and “Hot Burrito #2”). Add in great covers of “Do Right Woman” and a devastating take on “Dark End of the Street”, you have to love and respect the songs the band presented.
The instrumentation is country of course, but with a rock flair (with soulful bass lines and great distortion on Kleinow’s pedal steel). Parsons’ vocals have never been more heartfelt and genuine.
The drawbacks are that a couple of tunes are rather corny and dated (“My Uncle”and “Hippie Boy”). Their placement at the end of each side ends everything on a sour-ish note. Minor quibbles, really, as the other nine songs rather make up for it.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Christine’s Tune was renamed Devil in Disguise later; the song was about one of the LA Groupies (and member of the GTO’s) Christine Frka, who died in 1972.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: It’s part of a two-fer with their second album and a great non-album single.
GRADE: A-: Parsons and Hillman (and company) nailed the fusion of rock and country like no other on this album. Two cuts drag it down, mainly for the sequencing.