Amidst the mayhem of proposals, we must not forget that we’re still publishing some actual, proper, wonderfully readable books. Coming very shortly are the volumes on Wire’s Pink Flag and Big Star’s Radio City, but today let’s celebrate Bob Proehl’s telling of the story behind The Gilded Palace of Sin.
Here’s the back cover copy from Bob’s book…
The Burritos wanted country music that breathed and bled, that was relevant and vital. To create it, they injected the country of the past with everything at hand, anything they could find that mattered to them. They stuffed it full of club girls and pot and dead Kennedys and soul and hippies and riots and rhinestones, crossing their fingers and hoping it would pop, dazzling audiences as sure as Operation Rolling Thunder’s bombing of North Vietnam or the sunburst on the back of Chris Hillman’s Nudie suit.
Rising from the rubble of the Byrds at the end of the sixties, the short-lived Flying Burrito Brothers created an extraordinary, pioneering country rock album. The Gilded Palace of Sin fused elements of country, R&B, and rock, in a way that was years ahead of its time. Delving into issues of race, politics, and fashion that inform the album, Bob Proehl traces the story of Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman’s collaboration from South Africa to Altamont, shining a light on an album that defied convention and laid the groundwork for subsequent decades of alternative country music.
Bob Proehl is a DJ, writer, and owner of No Radio Records, an independent record store and label. He is the country music columnist for PopMatters.com and resides in Ithaca, NY.