Sunday, 2 February 2014

7 Inch Singles Collection: Steve Young - Seven Bridges Road

Going for some proper country music this time:


A-side: Seven Bridges Road
B-Side: Don't Think Twice

(Country Roads 1981)

Steve Young is a someone who was a pioneer of the "country rock" and "outlaw country" movements. I didn't know that - I just had to look it up on Wikipedia, and I suggest if you want to know more about him you head there too. However much of a pioneer he was he obviously wasn't someone who garnered much fame from it, or at least not to me, as I'd never heard of him outside of this record.

Seven Bridges Road itself may be more familiar - The Eagles had an American hit with it in 1980. Steve Young was the originator of this song back in 1969 (thank you Wiki), so it looks like in 1981 he thought to capitalise on The Eagles success by sticking his own version back out there. I don't know whether this is re-recording or re-release of the original, and , frankly , I'm not sure that really matters.

Seven Bridges Road is plaintive and mournful. The melody is picked out an acoustic guitar and the song is carried by Steve Young's strong country voice. There's a sadness and almost mystical quality to the sound. Structurally it's big ballad, building and building towards epicness throughout the duration of the song. It's start s small and grows into something bigger and wider, starting to rock as we reach the outro. Although it is country rock - the country nature isn't too overt, so it's not overpowering. I was surprised that I enjoyed that as much as I did.

Don't Think Twice is a Dylan song. Just like the a-side it has some acoustic picking to start, but much more uptempo than Seven Bridges Road. When he first starts singing it does sound like he's trying to stretch his voice into dylanesque contortions, however this quickly disappears and he settles into the kind of gravel voiced sound familiar to "Outlaw Country" music. At this point the backing group becomes more full on and the overall sound is much stronger. This has a much more overt country flavour, with quite heavy emphasis on fiddles. What it doesn't do is remind me of the Dylan version, and that's a good thing.

Overall, for an obscure bit of country and western I really rather enjoyed that record. Although as I've got older I've noticed that I've had a stronger leaning to country than in my younger years, (I blame my Dad). I think it's a good thing that I'm embracing more styles as I gracefully age.

Next time there's an appearance from The King!

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