Honky Tonkin'

The Flying Burrito Brothers

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Honky Tonkin' Review

by William Ruhlmann

One Way's Honky Tonkin' is, in effect, an unacknowledged reissue of Arista Records' 1999 Flying Burrito Brothers album Sons of the Golden West. That album's 14th and final track, "Ode to Gram," has been replaced by "Wheel of Love," and two bonus tracks, live performances of Little Feat's "Willin'" and George Jones' "You're Still on My Mind" from a 1998 show in Norway, have been added. Otherwise, this is Sons of the Golden West, an album that unveiled yet another amended lineup of the Flying Burritos, with Sneaky Pete Kleinow once more departed and replaced by steel guitarist Wayne Bridge, such that the group became a unit led by John Beland, a Burrito since the early '80s, although there were no longer any original members. As on 1997's California Jukebox, the Burritos loaded up on guest stars, including Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Alison Krauss, the Oak Ridge Boys, Delbert McClinton, and Merle Haggard, and employed plenty of covers: Mel Tillis' "Honky Tonkin'," Ricky Nelson's "Never Be Anyone Else but You," Hank Williams' "Honky Tonk Blues," and Keith Richards' "Locked Away." On his originals, Beland often reminisced about the early L.A. days that gave birth to the original band ("Down at the Palomino," "Up on Sycamore"), which only served to emphasize the oddity of a Burritos band made up entirely of replacements. By now, the group was basically a country-rock franchise, and all those guests and cover songs made it difficult to draw a bead on what this edition really sounded like. Maybe that was the idea.

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