Chris Hillman – he was THERE. The Byrds, The Burritos – and it looks like he has a dry sense of humour through it all.
From the interview :
Somehow, during the chaos of the train tour, Gram and I managed to find time to write another semi-gospel song called “The Train Song.” I already mentioned Gram’s knack for pulling off whatever hijinks he could think of, but he did it again when he cooked up the idea of hiring R&B pioneers Larry Williams and Johnny “Guitar” Watson to produce that record as the Burritos’ next single. Larry was best known for his songs “Dizzy, Miss Lizzy” and “Boney Maroni” (with the memorable line, “skinny as a stick of macaroni”), while Johnny was known for his signature song “Gangster of Love.” It was an idea only Parsons could come up with.
When the day arrived, we were all standing in the parking lot of A&M’s studios when a gleaming red Cadillac convertible pulled up with Larry Williams behind the wheel and Johnny “Guitar” Watson riding shotgun. They looked like a couple of characters straight from Central Casting. Larry had his initials emblazoned across his jumpsuit, which of course was bright red to match his Caddy. Johnny had on the coolest straw pork pie hat with a wide black band. Now, these guys were cool. Before the engine had even stopped, Larry was out of that car, clapping his hands. “Watson,” he shouted, “let’s make us a hit record!” In addition to our dynamic production duo, we brought in Leon Russell and Clarence White to play with the rest of the band.
Once we got settled into the studio and started working out the parts, Gram pulled out a big bag of cocaine. Johnny and Larry scoped out Parsons and started working their game: “Watson,” Larry exclaimed, “I believe this is a hit.” Johnny fired back, “You know it is!” Gram was soaking up the compliments when Michael whispered to me, “Does Parsons even know they’re just playing him for his drugs?” Chris Ethridge, being an R&B bass player born and raised in Mississippi, gave me a wink from across the room. He knew the score, too. It was a strange session to say the least, but in the end we wound up with a genuine Flying Burrito Brothers record that sounded a little like Spike Jones and his band. What it definitely was not was a hit, despite what Mr. Williams had so loudly earlier proclaimed in the A&M parking lot.