The Flying Burrito Brothers

Saddle up the Palomino

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This bootleg CD will be a delight to any serious fans of the Flying Burrito Brothers, as its 70 minutes consist of a live performance -- taped live off the soundboard, in stereo -- from June 8, 1969, and features the classic Burritos lineup of Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, and Michael Clarke. As Parsons' concert work is otherwise unrepresented in any full-length release, this makes Saddle up the Palomino almost indispensable. The sound is still a little harsh, despite the professional recording source -- one would want a professional producer (and hopefully a surviving member of the band) to mix this material into a proper, finished two-track master -- but it's still interesting to hear the group's attempts at adding some harder-rocking wrinkles to numbers like "Dream Baby," or push into more traditional country-style territory (rather more successfully) on "Town Without Memories" or "Long Black Limousine." It's a good artifact of the group's early sound, representing a lineup midway between their first and second albums, with Hillman and Clarke showing off some very solid ensemble playing (better, in fact, than one usually got to hear them doing with the Byrds) as the rhythm section.