Bassist and songwriter born in Meridian, Mississippi, who played the local circuit in the southern U.S. and then relocated to The Golden State whilst still in his teens.
Chris collaborated with Joel Scott Hill until he joined The International Submarine Band. He performed on their debut LP, Safe at Home. Gram Parsons recruited him to join The Flying Burrito Brothers and Chris double-tasked on piano and bass on their inaugural album, The Gilded Palace of Sin.
He quit the band and released an album under his own name, L.A. Getaway, in 1971, with an assist from his old buddy Joel, who played guitar and contributed vocals to the mix.
Gram quit the band but he and Chris continued to perform together on the road with the likes of Byron Berline, Emmylou Harris, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Gene Parsons, Clarence White, and Roland White.
When Gram overdosed and died in 1974, Chris reunited with Gene and Joel, and they billed themselves as The Docker Hill Boys. They added Gib Guilbeau on fiddle and evolved into a new incarnation of The Flying Burrito Brothers, recording a pair of albums, Airborne and Flying Again.
Chris left the group in 1976, and pursued a career as a session musician. He quickly found himself busy and in demand. Artists and groups with whom he has performed include Jackson Browne, The Byrds, Judy Collins, Gene Clark, Ry Cooder, David Crosby, The Doors, Jerry Garcia, The Kudzu Kings, Roger McGuinn, Graham Nash, Randy Newman, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Linda Ronstadt, Leon Russell, Nancy Sinatra, Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Winter, and Bill Withers. He spent eight years on the road again with Willie Nelson.
His compositions, in tandem with Gram Parsons, include “Hot Burrito #1”, “Hot Burrito #2”, and “She”, which has since been recorded by The Black Crowes.
For a snapshot of Chris’s bass work, check out Gram Parsons Archive, Vol. 1: Live at the Avalon Ballroom and Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels: The Gram Parsons Anthology.
Suffering complications from pancreatic cancer he passed away in April 2012 in Meridian, Mississippi. He was 65 years old.
Here he is on bass with The Flying Burrito Brothers in a performance of “Christine’s Song”…