Steve Young “Seven Bridges Road”

If you’re a fan of country-rock, Americana, or the 70s Outlaw Movement, you know that Steve Young is no run-of-the-mill artist.  1969’s Rock, Salt and Nails was a fine debut but on this disc Young comes into his own as a songwriter.  One could make the case that this is Young’s best LP, though the next 3 records that follow Seven Bridges Road are also very good.

Confusingly, there are three versions of Seven Bridges Road, each one featuring a slightly different song lineup.  For my money the 1971/1972 Reprise version (the green album) is the best, but the Blue Canyon (1975) and Rounder LPs (1981) each have something to offer fans.  Recording originally commenced in Los Angeles with Ry Cooder on hand but then sometime later, sessions were moved to Nashville.  Things didn’t go so smoothly down in Nashville.  Steve Young recalls: “These sessions were a clash of vibes.  Some pickers were into it.  Others, I had to fight it out.  There was a lot of friction between those Nashville players and me because of the way they were used to doing things, but it came out quite well.”

Seven Bridges Road is full of incredible performances.  Young’s songwriting is stronger than ever this time around, his singing is often compelling and the musicians that support him are in excellent form.  The title cut and “Lonesome On’ry and Mean” (a big hit for Waylon Jennings) are outlaw classics that have made other artists lots of money.  That being said, much of this album’s strength is in it’s variety: “Come Sit By My Side” is gorgeous folk-rock, there are two hard driving, boozy country-rockers in “Long Way To Hollywood” and “The White Trash Song”, the gutbucket country of “Many Rivers” and quirky Americana (“Ragtime Blue Guitar” and “One Car Funeral Procession”).  Seven Bridges Road is one of the truly great country-rock records.

Seven Bridges Road (Reprise):

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“One Car Funeral Procession”

:) Original Vinyl | 1972 | Reprise | search ebay ]

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  • I agree. This is my favorite Steve Young album. The outtakes from the re-release are great too. It’s a shame he isn’t more well known.

  • Stumbled on your website as I’m preparing to chat with Mac Gayden about Steve – he produced Young’s 1981 album To Satisfy You (which Ace Records in the UK is going to reissue). Anyway, excellent blog and do note that Ace are reissuing Seven Bridges Road on CD this month – finally all the different recordings that appeared across the 3 different editions you mention are gathered together. Steve was a huge talent and – to my mind – Seven Bridges Road is up there with the best of Nick Drake, John Martyn, Gram Parsons, Gene Clark and other more celebrated singer songwriters of that era.

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