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STEVE YOUNG —SEVEN BRIDGES ROAD THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS (ACE Records)

 

www.acerecords.com

 

Let’s get straight to the point. Here we have a huge contender, if not already the declared winner of the year reissue! If you are, up to now unfamiliar with the genial attributes and recordings of singer-songwriter Steve Young here is the perfect solution to the problem. Young was an outlaw, a free spirit long before Waylon and Willie and the boys were shaking up Nashville, and helping to light the flame for Austin, Texas. “Seven Bridges Road” first saw release as a track on his 1969 album, Rock Salt & Nails released by A & M Records the record failed to make an impact. It’s failure prompted Young to quit the music business and open a guitar shop in the Bay Area of San Francisco, but Warners were keen to record Young, hence in 1972 the album Seven Bridges Road was issued on the label’s Reprise division. So starts the life of the historic album, and it was then reissued on Jim Terr’s small Blue Canyon label and Rounder (Sonet in the UK) in 1981. His association with Rounder exposed his music to a greater audience and one that understood him better than Warners or A & M for that matter.    

 

While the title-track is a most celebrated song (covered by The Eagles, Joan Baez, Dolly Parton, Rita Coolidge, Iain Matthews among others), and rightfully so but it is the full-on passion of “Montgomery In The Rain” as he goes looking for the late Hank Williams that gets to me every time. There are also other instances where he makes the ground shudder and stir the mind, body and soul of the listener like few others. Apart from Garth Cartwright’s wonderful liner notes the release also comes with the releases’ original notes; that speak of the songs and lyrics. Plus, of course the bonus tracks; among which you have another recording of “Seven Bridges Road”, Bob Dylan’s “Down In The Flood” and “Days Of ‘49” and his own “The White Trash Song”. 

 

No holding back, his focus was straight as an arrow, and music steeped in blues and rural America, potent as moonshine whisky. Sadly, the Steve Youngs of this world are few and far better, his ability to embrace America’s less fortunate and those of the Southern states, especially it was a gift equal to that of the greatest writers up there with Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and Rick Bragg among others.

 

With the superb “My Oklahoma”, “Begin To See Design” and “One Car Funeral Procession” you could not ask for more or a better sound. As fiddle, banjo, Dobro, guitars et al merge into one beautiful, organic fuelled composition. As for 100 % you need look no farther. It doesn’t stop there either, as you have the gospel inclined “Many Rivers” is warmed in impeccable fiddle, upright bass and pedal steel, and for good measure honky tonk piano. With such greats as the title-track and “Montgomery In The Rain” in the line-up you would think there would be no room for another classic, but you would be wrong because the 12th track is “Lonesome On’ry And Mean” (plied in harmonica, banjo and pedal steel guitar a darkness descends). It just goes on as you have the Jimmie Rodgers-esque “Ragtime Blue Guitar” and “True Note” plus the lonesome sounding “Wild Goose”.

 

What a great tribute to Steve and his music, yet again Ace Records come up with the good. For with the add-ons and the original sleeves to go with new liner notes the whole release is an engaging study. Part of which is checking out the players' Ry Cooder, Bobby Thompson, Charlie McCoy, Jerry Carrigan, Bob Moore, Henry Strelecki, Uncle 'Josh' Graves, Pete Drake, Weldon Myrick, Fred Carter Jr, Jerry Shook and others too many to mention.  

 

                                                Maurice Hope 

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November 2017

1
JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,BH,RST,LK
2
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
BP,FS,HD
3
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
HM,TK
4
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
TJ
5
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
 
6
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
BR,MW
7
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
JS
8
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Rivers
Independent
FC
 
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
SP
10
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
MG
 
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
JB
12
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
RK
 
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
HVB,PJ
 
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
 
15
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
HDB,JJ
 
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
LM,SZ
 
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
CVL,DHO
18
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
Mountain Fever Records
 
19
Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
 
20
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Independent
 
 
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
 
 
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Matador
EZ
23
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Independent
 
 
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
 
 
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
 
 
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Independent
GC,RW
 
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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