The Flying Burrito Brothers: The Guilded Palace of Sin

The Gilded Palace of Sin isn’t strictly a country rock record. But when Parsons chose to mix the country with whatever else, he did it so well that it drew the ire of the Nashville establishment who felt that Parson’s music was a stain on the wholesomeness of pure country music. A sort of hippie invasion, if you will. Looking back, it’s funny to think about. Not only Nashville’s revulsion at Parson as an unsavory character—because there were no unsavory characters in country music—but also because country rock and country pop now dominate a large section of the consumer music market. That sort of genre blending, the country aesthetic mixed with dance beats or rock riffs, is a flower off the tree of Parson’s Cosmic American Music. Although I’m not so sure he would be happy with the dumb-downed legacy that is the current state of country music. American it is. Cosmic it is not.
Counterbalance No. 153: Flying Burrito Brothers’ ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’ by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

The Guilded Palace of Sin remains for me, after forty-six years, one of my favorite pop records of all time, certainly in the top five.

I put the following compact disc in my car player and listened to it twice.


The hook for me, once again, was Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s pedal steel magic. His playing reinforces my own sense that The Burrito Brothers were a psychedelic country band, with Sneaky’s shapeshifting steel fronting the lead guitar aesthetic with its leaps between swirly chorus-effect and bandsaw fuzz.

Plus, marvels of lip-synch and stand-up pedal steel.

Sneaky Pete also anchored The Flying Burrito Brothers on tour.
Calgary, August 1970

There are some fine audio-only concerts from 1970 on youtube.

Seattle Pop Festival – July 27, 1969

December 6, 1970 – Lyceum Ballroom – London, England

Hoon’s Tune & Muso Faves of Faves – 2014

Over the past week I’ve unveiled some of the music that brought me satisfaction and, often, extraordinary moments of sonic alignment–which is how great music strikes me, and, has struck me for forty-five years.

Nowadays it is clear that musical culture in the USA revolves around everybody being their own mix master. Almost all the music mentioned in the previous week’s post can be sampled via Spotify or Pandora. It can be purchased at iTunes or Amazon or GooglePlay, yet the best place to purchase it, is at the artist’s web site–where such an opportunity exists.

The following is my ordering of my very favorite releases from last year. This evaluation isn’t intended to parse artistic merit. It just serves my desire to name Wussy the album of the year, and to put their superb Attica in the company of other peerless examples of vital musical artistry.

1. Wussy – Attica |buy direct| ***record of the year*** 
2. The Swans – To Be Kind |buy direct|
3. Sam Newsome – The Straight Horn of Africa A Path to Liberation (Art of the Soprano, V2) |buy Amazon|
4. Noura Mint Seymali (Mauritania) – Tzenni |buy direct|
5. D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Black Messiah |buy Amazon|
6. Hassan Hakmoun (Morocco) – Unity |buy Amazon|
7. Tisziji Munoz – Taking You Out There! Live |buy direct|
8. Irma Thomas – Full Time Woman (The Lost Cotillion Album)
|buy Lousiana Music Factory|
9. Aya Nishina – Flora [from 2013] |buy|
10.The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream |buy direct|
11.Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music |buy direct|
12.FKA Twigs – LP1 |buy Amazon|

Special Mention – Archival Discovery of the Year

John Coltrane – Offering – Live at Temple University |buy Resonance Records|

Rock & Pop / Old Timers’ Division – A Few Favorites – 2013

Harris - Crowell


Old Timers – Live

The Band – Live at the Academy of Music 1971 
Bill Payne‘s “Tracing Footsteps” with Dennis McNally 2013-05-17 (all shows)
Grateful Dead – Dave’s Picks Vol. 7 
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Miami Pop Festival (iTunes)

Bonus: best bootleg:
Graham Parker & The Rumour – The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ) 2013-04-19

comment: Five unreleased tracks key The Band’s Academy of Music deluxe set. Fans get something more in that this set showcases a Bob Clearmountain mix the cornerstone live date Rock of Ages and provides a nicely saturated and visceral mix of the later set in discs 3 & 4. Every year brings more remastered Grateful Dead goodies from the prime 1968-1974 era. Hendrix is God.

Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne has been touring as a solo act and has used the opportunity to tell about the history of Little Feat. He is a natural raconteur. I hope more dates pile up on I had to pick one. All the ‘Tracing Footsteps’ dates supply a piece of the Little Feat & Bill Payne puzzle.

Old Timers – New

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – Old Yellow Moon

Neil Finn & Paul Kelly – Goin’ Your Way
Dan Baird And Homemade Sin – Circus Life
Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture of You
Linda Thompson – Won’t Be Long Now
The Del Lords – Elvis Club

comment: The reunion of Harris and Crowell fulfills expectations: it’s transcendental. On the song Back When We Were Beautiful, Emmylou evokes Edith Piaf. Aussies Finn and Kelly acoustic power pop is cheery and grown-up. Both Dan Baird and The Del Lords appropriate the attack of Sticky Fingers era Rolling Stones and deliver the old school rock and roll goods. It’s especially explosive to have The Del Lords tossing grenades again. Linda Thompson’s comeback record is full of felicitous moments and heartfelt expression–and it seems to me to be her finest hour. Guy Clark is what Bob Dylan would be if contemporary Dylan were more observant, less self-satisfied, and, consistently true to a deep artistic vision.


The Clash – Sound System
The Beach Boys – 50th Anniversary Box Set

Revolutionary punk or reactionary power-pop. What floats your boat?


Dub Collision mix: Devil In Disguise

1 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band-Billy in the Low Ground 00:56
2 The Dillards-Man Of Constant Sorrow 1:24
3 Jesse Winchester-The Brand New Tennessee Waltz 3:09
4 Linda Ronstadt-Keep Me From Blowing Away 3:09
5 Buffalo Springfield-Kind Woman 4:11
6 The Byrds-You Don’t Miss Your Water 3:49
7 Dillard & Clark-Train Leaves Here This Mornin’ 3:53
8 The Flying Burrito Brothers-Christine’s Tune 3:04
9 Rick Nelson-So Long Mama 3:28
10 The Grateful Dead-Mama Tried 3:03
11 New Riders of the Purple Sage-I Don’t Know You 2:27
12 Neil Young-If I Could Have Her Tonight 2:21
13 The Band-King Harvest (Has Surely Come) 3:38
14 Barbara Keith-The Bramble and the Bush 2:55
15 Crazy Horse-Dance, Dance, Dance 2:13
16 Michael Nesmith-Propinquity (I’ve Only Just Begun To Care) 3:00
17 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-Teach Your Children 2:53
18 Beau Brummels-Jessica 2:21
19 Jerry Jeff Walker-Backslider’s Wine 3:35
20 Cowboy-Seven Four Tune 2:42
21 Ian Matthews-Biloxi 4:17
22 Moby Grape-If You Can’t Learn From My Mistakes 2:36
23 Little Feat-Texas Rose Cafe 3:41
24 Poco-Just in Case It Happens, Yes Indeed/Grand
Junction/Consequently So Long 9:36

Because my musical world triangulates, as I would tell you, The Byrds, Thelonious Monk, and Pauline Oliveros–crazy, I know–here’s a mix that speaks for itself.

Although I was partly deflected off the folk-rock course for a long period, the time during which I sank my ears into all sorts of different waters, the fact is folk and country rock was my original ‘home.’ This compilation brings together some prime exemplars from roughly the period 1967-1974. Favorite tunes here and music for DFH like me.

Burrito Blast


Flying Burrito Brothers Live at Fillmore East 1970, (released this year.) Chris Hillman, years after the night captured on this energetic new addition to the Flying Burrito Brothers discography:

Sneaky Pete’s steel guitar shines throughout and may be his best performance on record.

What happened to The Flying Burrito Brothers the next year, 1971, ushered in twenty-five years of what I would term, fractal dynamics, as different configurations of players, constituting a kind of shifty strange attractor, bubbled up and out and up again, all around either the original ‘brand,’ The Flying Burrito Brothers, or Burrito Brothers, and, finally, Burrito Deluxe. Pedal steel icon Sneaky Pete left the band late in 1971, only to find a new attractor three years later, as the band rose once again after all but disbanding a few months and a European tour after another shuffle of personal followed in the aftermath of Chris Hillman, Michael Clark, and Bernie Leadon all moving on to greener pastures.

Sneaky Pete remained not quite the central constant in the midst of various permutations, with each at least securing the ‘Burrito’ part of the band’s name. Yet, the result is that there is a lot of Sneaky etched on legitimate and illicit recordings strung between 1974 and Sneaky’s last recordings, released in 2009 with Burrito Deluxe.

Although there was a certain measure of cynicism likely in the motivation for some of these configurations, and, each of the studio recordings are dragged down to different degrees by mediocre material and, at times, too much obedience to the commercial trends (in country music) of their day, there is also a lot of terrific Sneaky Pete steel guitar on display. Other moments of grace are supplied by musical evidence that supports just how much the shape-shifting cast of characters enjoyed playing with each other. Amongst the likes of talented and heart-felt players such as John Beland, Joel Scott Hill, Gib Gilbeau, Kleinow was the only first tier player, yet under the different variations of ‘Burrito’ the various crews kept their ‘Bakersfield sound’ inflected California country rock going against, really, the odds.

Of course Chris Hillman wasn’t onboard for the ensuing messy history, so he didn’t get to hear the ace steelman do his thing on many a long lonely night. Sentimentally, I will always feel Sneaky’s amazing essays on The Guilded Palace of Sin are not only his best work on record, but represent a pedal steel guitar-driven country rock moment second to none. Still, especially in the various Burrito ensembles of the eighties, there exist a plenitude of recorded and stunning Sneaky moments. This was especially the case throughout the eighties. (I will offer up a mix in a later post.)

Here’s 30 minutes worth of the Sneaky Pete, with five tracks taken from two albums, Suite Steel, and Pacific Steel, that featured his playing along with other virtuoso players.

1 Flying Burrito Brothers::Star Of The Show 4:10
2 Sneaky Pete Kleinow::Splittin’ Image 1:58
3 Flying Burrito Brothers::Did You See 2:58
4 Sneaky Pete Kleinow::Medley: My Back Pages, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Wheels 3:55
5 Sneaky Pete Kleinow::It Makes No Difference 5:07
6 Sneaky Pete Kleinow::Blackbird 2:06
7 Sneaky Pete Kleinow::Cannonball Rag 2:25
8 Flying Burrito Brothers::Hot Burrito #2 4:38


h/t Tim Connors offers up a capsule history of all permutations Burrito on his essential web resource about all things The Byrds.


Sweet Sap



Three years ago, Glen Hansard and Irglova Marketa, starred in the movie Once, a bittersweet love story framed by the joining of a man and woman’s musical and romantic aspirations. Among the duets the two sing as they use their musical journey together to work through their feelings for each other, is the melancholy Falling Slowly. It deservedly went viral.

Now, as a new musical year rolls in, I am happy to report the duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White have plucked this same bittersweet chord with the song Poison and Wine from their debut record, Barton Hollow. And, the video has gone viral too on youtube. The new record drops February 1.Ms. Williams is the known quantity. She gained notice as a rising star in Christian folk music back in the early eighties, when she was in her late teens. Then American Idol contestant David Archuleta picked up a song of hers, and a year later another song was featured on Grey’s Anatomy. Whereas John Paul White labored as a contract song writer until his debut record The Long Goodbye was released in 2008. The Civil Wars have come out from somewhere shy a tad shy of nowhere.

It makes sense the two met in songwriting camp. I haven’t heard the record, yet the copious videos they’ve made available, the free ep from last year, Live at Eddies (download) have generously set the stage for the duo’s song craft to become much better known. Much has been made of the two’s California meets Nashville synergy. Okay, but their artistry really seems centered on two great songwriters, their deep rapport, and, simple guitar or piano settings.

Check out the collection of videos at The Civil Wars‘ youtube portal. Billie Jean! Allison Rizk, one of my go-to mavens, has produced a nifty article and podcast at Radiopotato.

The Civil Wars: Web Site Facebook Twitter Myspace

Wrapping Up 2010 I. Everything Rock Pop and Country and Folk List for 2010

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Before Today
Jackson Browne &
David Lindley
Love Is Strange
Jamey Johnson
The Guitar Song
Neil Young
Le Noise
Brian Wilson
Gershwin Reimagined
Elisabeth Cook
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Cassandra Wilson
Silver Pony
Julie Neumark
Dimestore Halo
J.J. Grey & Mofro
Georgia Warhorse
Jackie Greene
Til the Light Comes
The Texas Sapphires
As He Wanders


Ralph McTell
Somewhere Down The Road
The Doors
Live In Vancouver
Deadstring Brothers
Sao Paulo
Quarantine the Past
Jack Rose
Luck In the Valley
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
1970 With Eric Clapton
Patty Griffin
Downtown Church
The Rolling Stones
Exile On Main Street

My first thought to myself, while scanning a spreadsheet listing of my popular music encounters last year, was, ‘what a great year for hippie music!’

As it is, any year’s offering will be filtered through my decidedly unhip residual hippiedom. Yet, 2010 was exceptional on several crucial counts: first, despite not really having any shelves on which to shelve box sets, or any bins into which to slide reissues, it was sterling year for reissues of ‘way’ old classic stuff. Two reissues almost bookend this year’s distillation, The Doors, and Delaney and Bonnie. On another count, because some of the oldest rock generation’s members popped out records fabulous (Neil Young obviously,) and horrendous. There seemed to be ongoing reminders that some dogged efforts have persisted for 40+ years. What a surprise that Peter Wolf walked back through the door with a darn good record! Then there was the cover record phenomena marked by a lot of mostly forgettable retreading from Cyndi Lauper, Carlos Santana, Sheryl Crow, Garth Hudson, and one immensely enjoyable blast from Bettye Lavette.

Of course by ‘anti’hip’ I mean pro-hippie, and imply that my tastes in pop are long mostly fixed to the verities of well played and well sung, and ‘musicianly’ rock, where the paragons are The Byrds, The Band, Little Feat, and a few really elder others, most long gone. The final count reveals that a lot of rock style buried by FM bombast and punk in the late seventies today has come to constitute touchstones for a third generation of melodious, rootsy bands. It’s not odd that none of this new music is either new or fit to the current mainstream, a mainstream to some extent centered on those bombastic precedents. But, I don’t listen much to this mainstream, settling, as I have settled, on this third wave of accessible, and hoary–in a good sense–rock. The New Pornographers essayed very focused takes on this era on their ingratiating Together.

I put in evidence Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Janiva Magness, whose records this year would instantly appeal to anyone who valorizes Bonnie Raitt. Similarly, and by surprise, The Nouveau Honkies echo Brinsley Schwarz, the connoisseur’s pub rock outfit and Brit equivalent to The Band. Brinsley Schwarz made their last record in 1973! This list of twenty records distills a master accounting of 200+ recordings, so it’s significant English folkie Ralph McTell came out of nowhere with an outstanding record, a record that could be described as what Ry Cooder might be up to were he long The Queen’s subject. Jackson Browne and Dave Lindley‘s 2CD live set squares Browne’s earnest and often biting folk songs with Lindley’s virtuosity, and, on this very fine record, a cast of Latin players. It’s of one of Jackson’s best records.

A certain kind of purist keeps the door shut to the modern sound of Nashville, perhaps not realizing that Nashville isn’t the epicenter anymore. There are so many enjoyable, if modest, records coming out which get lumped into the alt-country, Americana, roots country rock, and, country, that it isn’t possible to keep up. Julie Neumark, naughty Elizabeth Cook and sweet steelin’ The Texas Sapphires, with the Nouveau Honkies, rose into my own top rank. It was Jamey Johnson who sent the biggest message, (perhaps to Brad Paisley and Keith Urban?) with the masterful two sides, The Guitar Song. His deep record has a lot of gravity, and to me Johnson has set himself apart in his genre, in the same way Springsteen did with singer/songwriter fueled rock long ago.

Lilium was new to me and they hold down a spot where hippie demands overlap with post-rock. For Lilium, this means an unholy alliance of country, and, say the demonic spawn of Lou Reed and King Crimson. I know…doesn’t sound appetizing, but it is a fine, if-you-will, slab of “post-alt-country. Sungrazer‘s on the cusp. In my scheme of working this all out I could have plugged something else in. Still, I like this record of heavy guitar psych and hard rock. Unlike the several other alternatives, it preserves its crunch from beginning to the end. Steinar Gregertsen is a Swedish lap steel virtuoso, and he slides all over the Hendrix canon with felicitous zap and zing.

Old timer Brian Wilson‘s Gershwin project proved a winner. If you have any kind of taste for, or weakness to, fifties pop, Wilson has made a statement about timelessness and beauty on a record with only one rock song on it. Delaney and Bonnie‘s archival set from 1970 brings together 3 tour sets from the D&B & friends band that featured Eric Clapton. These have circulated in lesser fidelity in the underground, but Rhino Handmade has given them the mastering and packaging treatment these sets deserve. Prime white gospel soul and rock and roll is the agenda. Last and hardly least is The Doors‘s instantly essential Vancouver performance. Nuff said.

As for Neil Young, the bar is set high because he’s long been in my pantheon and has etched a handful of absolutely essential discs. I was set up for Le Noise by the concert recordings that popped up last spring. Young toured without a band and playing electric, acoustic, piano, and pump organ. A movie of Le Noise is available in a high quality stream. Check it out. This great gust of folk noise music is self-explanatory.

Ariel Pink & Haunted Graffiti finally go into a regular studio after leader Ariel Marcus Rosenberg’s many years working his lo-fi power pop magic from the bedroom or the equivalent. Ironically, I was never a huge fan of the FM radio hitmeisters Mr. Pink brilliantly refers to here. So, I was never much into The Sweet or David Bowie or T-Rex, and, on-and-on, because this record is littered with references and “simulacratic” artifacts from roughly 1965-1980. On the other hand, this was the most refreshing burst of pure psychedelic pop in 2010.

Jazz picks are up next. And then I’ll cover realms of experimental, electronic, and world music…some time soon.

(note–I made up this list year by assigning records released in these genres 3 points each, and then slowly upgraded them through re-listening and re-evaluating, adding points along the way. 2 points is a reject, and 1 point was a waste of my time. Whereas this list of twenty represents the 7,8,9 point evaluations. I’m picky when I do the sort, and I’m careful about where my investment goes, so 80% of the records I engaged with last year have value to me. 63 of 205 pop recordings gained 5 or more points, so there are many gems underneath this creamy top flight.)

The short list.

1. Ariel Pink & Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
2. Neil Young – Le Noise
3. Jackson Browne & Dave Lindley – Love Is Strange
4. Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song
5. Brian Wilson – Reimagines Gershwin
6. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
7. Ralph McTell – Somewhere Down The Road
8. Dead String Brothers – Sao Paulo
9. Janiva Magness – The Devil Is An Angel Too
10. JJ Grey & Mofro – Georgia Warhorse
11. Elizabeth Cook – Welder
12. Ray Davies – See My Friends
13. Julie Neumark – Dimestore Halo
14. The Texas Sapphires – As He Wanders
15. The Nouveaux Honkies – Where Do I Go
16. Cassandra Wilson – Silver Pony
17. The New Pornographers – Together
18. Black Dub – Black Dub
19. Jackie Greene – Til the Light Comes
20. Steinar Gregertsen – Standing Next To a Mountain – A Tribute to the Music of Jimi Hendrix
21. Lilium – Felt
22. Sungrazer – Sungrazer



I’ve explained somewhere here sometime ago that my own organic journey through the sonic worlds is unapologetic in its forty year attempt to square Flatt and Scruggs with John Coltrane. These exemplar/examples are but two of the ways I can stretch the dichotomy. Noting this, on the right side will always float country air. This has ratified some biases too, because my tastes tend to put a premium on the instrument rather than the letter, and to prize naivete over bombast.

The other aspect is simply finding the first sonic grades in the school of hippie psych and cowpone. So, for example, I can dig (Untitled) and The Guilded Palace of Sin endlessly. If you miss the reference, its way too late. On the other side is a bigger subject, a subject for another post–enough to say on the left hand are the rivers of Duke and Monk.

So, it is, turning back to the folky right, that I keep an ear out for those retiring, dimming hippie folk country vibes. As it happened a very long time ago, on May 14, 1970, I ventured with a much straighter object of affection and some long-haired friends down to Public Hall to see a typical, weird, 1970 bill: John Mayall, Poco, setting up, of all possibilities, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. So: lucid appropriation; naivete; and, ear splitting bombast.

It was all good, yet I came for the ebullient middle set of Poco. The band, formed by Richie Furay and Jim Messina, ex-Buffalo Springfield, was–I’d argue–the most earnest country rock outfit of that era. This quality of sincerity would be snuffed as genre convention not more than five years later given the drug-fueled excesses of much more successful ensuant country rockers. (I’m thinking of one band in particular.) Poco would labor on through the decadent seventies and longer too. But, 1970-1971 was their true ‘hayday’.
[audio: Better Think Twice.mp3|titles=Poco-You Better Think Twice]
You Better Think Twice (Poco/Poco 1970)

Anyway. . .I was set up in more ways than one for maximum enjoyment. For one thing my mentor the amazing Dynamo Man had helped me to leverage Flatt and Scruggs and Moby Grape so as to appreciate Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, The Byrds, The Band, and, The Flying Burrito Brothers. I had seen The Byrds (and Clarence White) kick down a gym the previous fall. And, I had gotten down into the grooves of Poco‘s excellent first two records. The result remains etched: Poco-Public Hall-May 1970, remains ensconced in the roster of the ten best rock shows I ever sunk my ears into.

The spring tour later evoked live Deliverin’, their third and best record. It almost captures the ebullient gift I witnessed. A few months later lead guitarist Jim Messina was gone and Paul Cotton was in. Cotton’s thicker guitar sound helped take the band in a slightly harder direction. CBS Records sponsored a showcase before a small audience of friends and industry type at the end of September 1971. The tapes have surfaced 39 years later. Poco, live at Columbia Studios, 9/30/71, is a good one. The new, very old recording, is just as earnest and upbeat as the classic Deliverin’. The recording itself is vintage; the ol’ 8 into 4 into 2 track gains separation and looses a bit in the ambiance the Felt Forum provided for the spring date. Always a highlight was Rusty Young’s innovative, at times startling, pedal steel work.

Then there’s the context, because as much as Americana and countrified folk rock came back to the table and has remained there for two decades, the fact is by the end of the seventies the earnest originators had been sent to the far margins.

Still, it was a good feelin’ to know and this archival set is a stirring gem.

Here’s a chunk of latinized rock, pulled from a bootleg of a gig at Duke U. five days before the CBS Studios set. . . okay, mild bombast too but with some of the most psychedelicious steel work ever by Mr. Young.

[audio: Tonto De Nade Regresa.mp3|titles=Poco-012-El Tonto De Nade Regresa]

(Richie Furay put out a excellent record last year, Alive.)

Poco @ Wikipedia

interview with Rusty Young, unknown date (1990-ish?)

Bert, Red, and Pa Nes

English folkie Bert Jansch collaborated with Mike Nesmith on his 1974 gem,L.A. Turnaround. Nesmith brought along his colleague, pedal steel guitarist Red Rhodes too. By this time, Nesmith was three years into his travels down his own distinctive country-rock byway. Jansch had left Pentangle and returned to a solo career.

I don’t know the back story behind L.A. Turnaround, one of Jansch’s finest–among many fine–records. Much to my surprise, there are on youtube a series of clips of sessions featuring Jansch and Red Rhodes. The setting is a country cottage in Britain. The sessions are marvelous and intimate. Eventually, Nesmith would augment tracks cut in the impromptu studio with contributions from L.A. session men, guitarist Jesse Ed Davis and fiddler Byron Berline, as well as Brits, including bassist Klaus Voorman, and drummer Danny Lane.

The three youtube clips comprise a beguiling mini-documentary.

(L.A. Turnaround was reissued last year. Amazon)

Bert Jansch

Second Line Western Swing

It’s easy to peg records I really enjoyed last year. I’m not–usually–a very close listener. Sometimes I have to work to recognize something extraordinary. …usually, I don’t have to work hard at all.My own immediate ‘belly’ response is decisive in most cases.

When I auditioned Willie Nelson’s new recording with venerable Texas little big band Asleep At the Wheel, I wasn’t expecting the big upside. But then about six or so minutes into the experience I’m vibing to Fan It and realizing all-of-sudden-like, ‘this fantastic!’ No record last year plastered the smile on my soul like this one did.

Willie Nelson is legendary, iconic, all that, and his record last year Willie and the Wheel is simply one of the best records he’s ever made. (Willie & the Wheel home)

If you ask me what I found so pleasurable, I would tell you the record is just great singin’ and playin’ from beginning to end. Heck, it’s kind of like pairing Art Tatum with Ben Webster. You want some analysis to back my sense up? Come on!

Nice web video of the band courtesy of Austin City Limits.