- A wonderful original pressing of this Country Rock classic with very good Hot Stamper sound and exceptionally quiet vinyl from start to finish
- Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman fused folk and country with rock and soul influences on this superb debut release
- 5 stars: “The Gilded Palace of Sin, was where [Gram] revealed the full extent of his talents, and it ranks among the finest and most influential albums the [country-rock] genre would ever produce… no one ever brought rock and country together quite like the Flying Burrito Brothers, and this album remains their greatest accomplishment.”
This vintage A&M pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What to Listen For
Here are some of the things we specifically listen for in a vintage Flying Burrito Brothers record.
Our highest rated Hot Stamper pressings are simply doing more of these things better than the other copies we played in our shootout.
The best copies have:
- Greater immediacy in the vocals (most copies are veiled and distant to some degree);
- Natural tonal balance (many copies are at least slightly brighter or darker than ideal; those with the right balance are the exception, not the rule);
- Good solid weight (so the bass sounds full and powerful);
- Spaciousness (the best copies have wonderful studio ambience and space);
- Tubey Magic, without which you might as well be playing a CD;
- And last but not least, transparency, the quality of being able to see into the studio, where there is plenty of musical information to be revealed in this sometimes simple, sometimes complex recording.
Standard Operating Procedures
What are the sonic qualities by which a Pop or Rock record — any Pop or Rock record — should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.
When we can get many of the qualities above to come together on the side we’re playing, we provisionally award it a Hot Stamper grade, which may or may not be revised over the course of the shootout as we hear what the various other copies sound like. Once we’ve been through all our side ones, we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner. Other copies have their grades raised or lowered depending on how they sounded relative to the shootout winner. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.
That’s why the most common grade for a White Hot Stamper pressing is Triple Plus (A+++) on one side and Double Plus (A++) on the other. Finding the two best sounding sides from a shootout on the same LP certainly does happen, but it sure doesn’t happen as often as we would like (!) — there are just too many variables in the mastering and pressing processes to ensure consistent quality.
Record shootouts may not be rocket science, but they’re a science of a kind, one with strict protocols developed over the course of many years to ensure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can possibly make them.
The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing — or your money back.
Do Right Woman
Dark End Of The Street
Hot Burrito #1
Hot Burrito #2
Do You Know How It Feels
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
By 1969, Gram Parsons had already built the foundation of the country-rock movement through his work with the International Submarine Band and the Byrds, but his first album with the Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin, was where he revealed the full extent of his talents, and it ranks among the finest and most influential albums the genre would ever produce.
As a songwriter, Parsons delivered some of his finest work on this set; “Hot Burrito No. 1” and “Hot Burrito No. 2” both blend the hurt of classic country weepers with a contemporary sense of anger, jealousy, and confusion, and “Sin City” can either be seen as a parody or a sincere meditation on a city gone mad, and it hits home in both contexts.
Parsons was rarely as strong as a vocalist as he was here, and his covers of “Dark End of the Street” and “Do Right Woman” prove just how much he had been learning from R&B as well as C&W. And Parsons was fortunate enough to be working with a band who truly added to his vision, rather than simply backing him up; the distorted swoops of Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s fuzztone steel guitar provides a perfect bridge between country and psychedelic rock, and Chris Hillman’s strong and supportive harmony vocals blend flawlessly with Parsons’ (and he also proved to be a valuable songwriting partner, collaborating on a number of great tunes with Gram).
While The Gilded Palace of Sin barely registered on the pop culture radar in 1969, literally dozens of bands (the Eagles most notable among them) would find inspiration in this music and enjoy far greater success. But no one ever brought rock and country together quite like the Flying Burrito Brothers, and this album remains their greatest accomplishment.