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Success a shock to folk/rocker - October 3, 2015

Frenchy Burrito has a hard time understanding why he's been able to make a living as a musician for 27 years in Pittsburgh. "In a busness dominated by young people, it's bewildering to me that I'm still out here doing this," he said in an interview earlier this week.Not that Burrito is living in mansion, taking limos to concerts or touring the country in chartered jet. The 49-year-old singer/guitarist describes his buget as "shoe string," and the recent release of his self-tilted CD took more than three years to complete. But Burrito has something that many musicians might never achieve: peace of mind. "A lot of people would want more. I'm odd in that way," he said. "The simple things make me happy. I'm not trying to make a million dollars. I have a drive obviously, because it keeps me doing this. I mean, there are easier ways to make money." What makes Burrito happiest playing a type of music not often heard around these parts. He's a folk/rock type of guy who sites Bob Dylan, Loudon Wainwrifgt III and Townes Van Zandt as influences, a storyteller, whose first gigs in Pittsburgh were at now-defunct clubs and coffeehouse such as the Razzberry Rhinoceros, the Portfolio and Loaves and Fishes. "My first paid gig was at the Casbah in Shadyside in '70 or '71," he said. 'I got paid $15 dollars for two sets. About the only thing I remember about it is I took a bus there and then took a cab home. Fifteen dollars went a long way back then."Born in Minneapolis and raised in Chicago, Burrito came to Pittsburgh in 1970, following a coed he met at Northwestern University who had family here. He soon fell in love with the city, and has established himself as a regular performer at local arts festivals during the summer and Beaver, Butler, Erie and Ohio the rest of the year. Opportunities to move elswhere have come his way, but Burrito has resited the lure of seemingly brighter lights."Townes (Van Zandt) took me to Nashville once and tried to help me out," he said. "But I would have had to move there, and I didn't want to do that." Although the singer has released a couple of cassettes during his career, "Frenchy Burrito" marks his first compilation of music of 13 years. recorded with his band the Folk Pistols ("It's a collective of about 15 different musicians because I can't afford to retain a regular band"), the album has a immidiate feel to it, given that it has very few dubs."Everything was done in one pass, one take," Burrito said. "I had a very limited budget. It was real tough to put together. Everybody worked for very minimal amount of money to help get this done. Not that the album suffers in any way because of Burrito's financial limitations. The Cd is an impreeive effort, and could be a calling card for other opertunities if the fates smile his way. Not that Burrito is counting on this recording as being his ticket to the big time. "I've been through the whole routine," he noted. "Warner Brothers called me, Sony called me; I've talked to all of them in one way or another. But to me, just the fact that I'm doing it is satisfying. If something happens that's fine, but I'm happy just the way I am. "I'm like Che Guevara," Burrito added with a laugh. "I come out of the hills, make a little raid fight the rising tide of conformity and head back to the hills."

Burrito's CD is available at Borders Books & Music and selected National records Marts. He will appear 9:30 tonight at the Bronzhood Lounge in Robinson. Admision is free.
Rege Behe - Tribune Review

Mexico - September 16, 2015

In 1967 I took a trip to Mexico in my VW bug. Back then there was poetry and romance in the world and when I returned from my sojourn to my hometown Chicago (in the middle of a snow storm) I wrote Mexico. It's an existential love song set in a mystical land. I played it for Townes Van Zandt, he fell in love with it - he used to sing on the chorus, the part with the la la's. Those days are gone now and so is Townes but the song Mexico remains...


PS I had to sell my blood to get this song recorded so there is literally Blood On The Tracks!


Met my love down in Mexico
Senorita with a heart of gold
Sweet cactus flower on a
Spanish guitar down in Mexico

Moon lit nights and ol’ bull fights
Border songs make me feel alright
Dancing on the hacienda under big sombrero

La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
Don’t you know I love my Mexico

Then down in a small café
Just outside of Monterey
My senorita told me she loved me so
Now I don’t think I’ll ever go
Back to all that rain and snow
Think I’ll live my life down in my Mexico

La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
Don’t you know I love my Mexico

Then down in the Yucatan
I lost her to another man
We always want what we can’t have
Chances taken on a lost romance
Seems like that’s the law of this land
But lovers come and go in Mexico

La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
Don’t you know I love my Mexico

Words & music by: Frenchy Burrito
Copyright and published 1976 & 2007
Red Banana Music BMI

Quotes - March 19, 2010

"I like to listen to music on a broken speaker from far away" - Tom Waits

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