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Bridges Road was
the greatest record
“A friend turned me on to the Seven Bridges Road album when I was living in Southern California, the summer of '72 or thereabouts,” Terr said. “I became really obsessed with it. I loved it--- the writing, the sound, the feel of it. (To that point), I had never listened to anything quite so obsessively, I would say.
“We became friends,” Young said. “He thought Seven Bridges Road was the greatest record ever released and he had this little dinky record company in New Mexico. (When I explained that the record was out of circulation and just sitting around), he came up with this crazy idea to ask Warners if they would sell it. So he went to Warner Brothers and bought the masters for almost nothing.”
“I don't know how I got the idea, but I did,” Terr said. “I bought (the album) for some ridiculous amount--- like $1200 or $2000 or something like that. Some time later, I was told that that was the last time Warners sold tapes that were lying around. For any amount of money. It was apparently an embarrassment to them that someone bought the album for next to nothing and got some mileage out of it. Not that I made a fortune on it, but somebody could have.”
“I began gigging with this band from New Mexico called The Last Mile Ramblers,” Young remembered. “Terr had been trying to work with them and I just went along with the flow. We had played some around Albuquerque and there was kind of a good vibe between myself and the band, so I wasn't opposed to going into the studio and seeing what would happen in a session.
“I ended up re-recording one song (The White Trash Song) with them for the Blue Canyon release while I was hanging out in New Mexico, playing. New Mexico was a fascinating experience for me. More contact with the Mexican-Indian world. I'll never forget it.”
It should be noted also that there was a change beyond the new version of The White Trash Song. One Car Funeral Procession gave way to a cover of Merle Haggard's I Can't Hold Myself In Line. Terr thought that maybe the reason had to do with Young's admiration for Haggard, that Young had a thing for Haggard's music.
“I do,” admitted Young. “I think Haggard is absolutely brilliant on a lot of his songs and is probably the last 'real' country guy around anywhere. When he's at his best. I Can't Hold Myself In Line is from that original L.A. session. We cut a bunch of different songs then and I can't remember why or who decided, but we ended up using that track on the Blue Canyon album.”
“The Last Mile Ramblers were from my home area,” Terr added, “and I had done some recording with them. As you may know, the now semi-famous Junior Brown was their guitar player at the time, calling himself J. B. Brown. That blazing guitar was probably half the reason I wanted to record them.
“Steve did a big concert out here with Waylon Jennings and The Last Mile Ramblers. The Ramblers backed Steve up and maybe that's how he got turned on to them. But Junior Brown being such a hot guitarist, maybe that is the key to their recording of The White Trash Song. Shortly after that concert, they all went into the studio and recorded it with that fast guitar of J. B. Brown.
“I had had a couple of albums out prior to Seven Bridges Road. I would describe Blue Canyon Records as a dilettante operation, if you know what I mean. I was just lucky to have had contact with Steve and Junior and The Ramblers--- some good writers, pickers and singers.
“The Last Mile Ramblers album may have, in fact, been released after the Blue Canyon version of Seven Bridges Road. It is amazing that I can't remember which came first. There was at least one earlier album. I was in San Francisco the summer I met Steve and recorded an album by a band called Sweetgrass.
“I don't think I pressed more than a couple thousand of the Seven Bridges Road album. And there was a sort of press version, too. It was in a plain white sleeve with a square label on it. I couldn't tell you how it compared to the actual release, but there were probably some differences. I may have pressed a couple of hundred of that one. I only did it to dig up interest from the press.
“I had a lot of ambition and a lot of energy, but I wouldn't say I was organized. I repackaged the album in a black-and-white album jacket, nothing fancy, and got it out. It got some circulation because there were a number of Steve Young fans out there, and even with my poor efforts it got some reviews. Rolling Stone reviewed it, which didn't necessarily guarantee a best-seller, that having to do more with distribution and all.”
Distribution was shoddy, in fact, through no fault of Blue Canyon. The label was forced to work within the frameworks of small independent distributors which alone placed obstacles in the way at every turn. Just the fact that the album was listed among thousands of others, in some instances, made it hard to find. Add to that the lack of publicity and the album was virtually dead-on-arrival. Not that it didn't sell. It just didn't sell well enough to warrant keeping it in print.
“There is a take of Guy Clark's Desperadoes Waiting For a Train on Slim's album,” Terr told me, “which Steve told me that Clark had told him was his favorite version of the song ever produced. To my knowledge, that was the only Slim Pickens album ever released. He did a couple of other things, but I don't think they were ever released as albums.”
Chapter One: The
Long Way to Hollywood