Honky Tonky Nights
This double-disc set from Belgium's Music Avenue features two Flying Burrito Brothers lineups and live/outtake recordings from the mid-'70s to the early '80s -- by which time Gram Parsons had been long gone. Disc one, entitled From Another Time, features original Burrito bassist Chris Ethridge and pedal steel strongman Sneaky Pete Kleinow, with drummer Gene Parsons (no relation); fiddle player, vocalist, and guitarist Gib Guilbeau; and Los Angeles rock and blues everyman guitarist and vocalist Joel Scott Hill (whose L.A. Getaway album with Ethridge is regarded by many as a classic of early-'70s roots rock). The Hollywood Nights lineup on disc two contains Kleinow as the only original member. He is joined by bassist Skip Battin; John Beland on guitars, Dobro, harmonica, and vocals; Guilbeau; a slew of drummers, including Billy Thomas and Mickey McGee; alternating keyboard players; and female backing vocalists, including Jeanie Clark. What does it all mean? That these are bands that tried to continue on a legacy begun and lasting for only a magic moment in the late '60s and early '70s. Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen played the standards -- and there are plenty of them here, including "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)," and "White Line Fever" -- and the original Burrito tunes cannot be given the same soul they were by the original band with Hillman and Parsons sharing harmonies. This one is for completists only. There isn't anything terribly wrong with these performances; there just isn't anything original or captivating about them, either.