Saturday, February 2, 2013

February 2nd, 2013 - Deluxe Winter Burrito

"And now for something completely different..."   The Meista here with another pairing for you my friends.  I'm going off the usual metal/hard rock track today with a pairing of the Flying Burrito Brothers and their sophomore, 1970 album, "Burrito Deluxe" and a Full Sail Wassail Winter Ale from their seasonal FB Pub Series.

What do you get when a bunch of long-haired freaks start playing honky-tonk and old-time country?  The Flying Burrito Brothers (FBB), that's what!  Founded in 1968 by former The Byrds members singer and guitarist Gram Parsons and guitarist Chris Hillman, as well as pianist and bassist Chris Ethridge and pedal steel guitarist "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow, the FBB essentially defined country rock.  Ethridge would leave the band before recording began on "Burrito Deluxe" and Hillman would take over on bass as guitarist Bernie Leadon joined the group.  Another ex-The Byrds member, Michael Clarke would join on drums for the "Burrito Deluxe" album sessions.  Expanding on the sound Parsons had created on The Byrds' seminal 1968 album, "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" and "The Gilded Palace of Sin," the FBB's first album, "Burrito Deluxe" is a wonderfully rich and textured album.  "Lazy Days," my all-time favorite Parsons' song starts the album off with foot-stomping, honky-tonk goodness.  Sneaky Pete's steel guitar slide work is astounding and Clarke's drum work is almost proto-punk in speed.  The vocal harmonies are awe-inspiring on this track as they are with the rest of the album.  Songs like "Cody, Cody," "Image Of Me," and "God's Own Singer" hearken back to a time of childhood innocence and discovery as well the roots of American rock and roll music.  The album finishes with a breathtaking version of Keith Richards' "Wild Horses" released almost a year before its appearance on "Sticky Fingers" by The Rolling Stones.  A good friend of Richards, Parsons was so enamored by the song when heard it played in private that he convinced Richards to let him record it before the Stones did.

Unfortunately, this was the last FBB album to feature Parsons.  Due to disagreements between he and Hillman and alcohol abuse, Parsons was fired after "Burrito Deluxe" was recorded.  He pursued a solo career until his untimely death from a drug overdose in 1973.  Sadly, Clarke died in 1993, Kleinow died in 2007, and Ethridge died in 2012.  Also sad was the legacy of country rock.  The exciting, new sound the FBB had created would become watered down, pop drivel as the 1970s rolled on.  Musicians like The Eagles, Bread, and John Denver would gain great wealth while bastardizing the purity of sound that the FBB's short-lived existence had created, turning it into the soft rock hell it became of the mid-to-late 1970s.  There's Meista's two cents for y'all!  :)

The Wassail Winter Ale by Full Sail Brewing Company is a traditional "winter warmer" ale.  Brewed with four different malts and a blend of Pacific Northwest hops, the Wassail Winter Ale is a very enjoyable and very smooth dark ale.  It pours a rich mahogany with a frothy, 1-finger head that dissipates rather quickly.  The nose has notes of sweet bread, some mellow dark fruits, and overall maltiness.  The flavor is similar.  There are rich notes of freshly baked bread, sweet toffee and caramel, subtle raisin, and a nice hop finish.  Wassail Winter Ale is definitely a great beer to pair with the warmth of the FBB's "Burrito Deluxe" on a cold, winter night or a "lazy day."


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