I’d heard the Burritos out in California
Could fly higher than the Byrds
Roger McGuinn had a 12 string guitar
It was like nothing I’d ever heard.
This line from David Alan Coe’s “Willie Waylon and Me” a song that I’ve had stuck in my head for most of my life.
This verse references the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds, two influential groups in the folk rock genre I still listen to today.
Chris Hillman was an original member in both of these groups.
Hillman was the original Bassist of the Byrds which included, Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby and Michael Clarke in 1965.
Late into the 1960’s and early 1970’s a group was formed and became one of the chief influences on the country rock genre. The Flying Burrito Brothers.
The Flying Burrito Brothers included Hillman and Clarke of the Byrds as well as Pete Kleinow, Gram Parsons, Rick Roberts and Bernie Leadon.
The next chorus of the David Alan Coe song “Willie, Waylon, and Me” makes reference to the Eagles as well as the Byrds.
And the Eagles flew in from the west coast
Like the Byrds they were trying to be free
Bernie Leadon would move on to becoming a founding member of the Eagles in 1971 after the Flying Burrito Brothers decline. Bernie would later be replaced by Joe Walsh.
“Stephen had a vision”Graham Nash
After the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Chris Hillman, a key figure in the development of country rock, joined Stephen Stills newly formed band Manassas.
Paul Harris, Al Perkins, Joe Lala, and Dallas Taylor were also members of Stephen Stills ‘super group’.
Stephen Stills had once been the opening act for the Byrds in a band called Buffalo Springfield.
Buffalo Springfield Included Neil Young, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, and Bruce Palmer.
Stephen stills is listed in the Rolling Stones top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time as #28.
“Stephen Stills is a genius”Neil Yong
David Crosby of the Byrds origin would later join Stephen Stills, Gram Nash, and Neil Young in Crosby Stills Nash and Young.
Neil Young would eventually leave to begin a solo career causing the band a member short , and changing the name to Crosby, Stills and Nash.
These humble beginnings of folk rock and country were founded in the late 60’s and early 70’s mainly in Southern California. Many of these members lived just outside of Las Angeles in an area known as Laurel Canyon.
Many of the greatest folk songs to date were written within this Canyon. In this atmosphere the greatest of all time wrote songs together, and played their songs to each other. They started bands and they broke up the bands. The chemistry that transpired in this canyon still amazes me today.
Modern artists are still playing their original music and trying to write new songs to sound like these original works of genius.
Besides the Byrds following, The Beatles, Beach Boys, Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa and many more of the greats spent time in this Canyon outside of L.A.
This was the music that I grew up listening to, and what I compare everything else to today.
It was like nothing, I’d ever heard.
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