The Burrito Brothers “Christmas”

Store for Music, 2023

Gentle country rock that is for more than just Christmas from a band that fully deserve to use the familiar name.

Gram Parsons said in 1972 “The idea’ll keep going. It’s not like it’s dead. Whether I do it or anybody else does, it’s got to keep going.” And indeed Burrito Brothers in varying forms and identities have done exactly that. The current holders of the keys Chris P James, Tony Paoletta, Peter Young, and Steve Allen, have been at it for a decade now.

The second song ‘Bethlehem Bell’ is where the Beach Boys could have taken a country tune. Gentle harmonies, pedal steel, and a slide guitar solo. All the ingredients in fact to make it a very listenable experience. ‘Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy’ throws in a touch of humour, ‘Christmas Moon’ is a an exquisitely constructed ballad, which stands apart from the mostly mid-tempo trot of the rest of the album. ‘The Feast of Stephen’ features the inevitable children’s choir, their la,la,la’s sounding more like a crowd of Turkeys than anything else.

Spirit of the Season’ has a definite Tom Petty edge to it and is one of the album highlights. Another is the title song, written by Pete Townsend, where they rock that bit harder and stretch out the instrumental jam to six and a half minutes. The almost sixties psych style ‘Christmas Time is Here Again’ drifts along for eight minutes, taking in a couple of mood shifts along the way. The Burrito Brothers have to be commended for trying to make a holiday record musically valid as well. And for the most part it works, although maybe a minute or two off ‘Christmas Time is Here Again’ would have made it a more coherent song.

The album closes with ‘Happy New Year’ which takes us back to a more traditional country style tune. Their website suggests that ‘Christmas‘ has barged in front of an album called ‘Together’ that will finally see a release in 2024. And while there may be no Byrds here, this version of the Burritos is a legitimate group in their own right, and the new album could well be an interesting listen in the new year.

The press that accompanied the album, “Today’s Burritos are passionately dedicated to their craft. They’re “the older guys” who show us “what it’s all about.” There’s a gentle, giant well they draw water from. These pros know a lot about making beautiful, artistic recordings. They know how to rock out too.” While that rocking is fairly sedate this is another album that you can safely put on to distract from the onslaught of Cliff and Slade.


About Tim Martin 241 Articles
Sat in my shed listening to music, and writing about some of it. Occasionally allowed out to attend gigs.
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