Forty years ago on the date of Jim Bridger’s death (211 years earlier), and beginning in a tipi and finishing in a 24-track recording studio, my good friend Slim Pickens and I began recording the story of my distant relative’s harrowing adventures with Hugh Glass and a mother grizzly bear across the plains of South Dakota. Out of this recording session came my prototype epic ballad Seekers of the Fleece, which began my lifelong journey as a Western balladeer and historian. To celebrate this anniversary, and as a loving tribute to the great Slim Pickens, Golden Egg Records is proud to release The Crawl, an 11-minute excerpt from Seekers of the Fleece, Part One of my epic ballad trilogy, A Ballad of The West.
When we began recording in 1975, Slim’s bomb-riding scene in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove was already immortal, but Slim was also the gun-shot law-man slowly dying while Dylan crooned Knocking On Heaven’s Door in Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and Headly LaMarr’s dunce sidekick, “Taggart”, in Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles; this amongst scores of other films.
Slim was a living legend who shared my love of the mountain men of the 1820’s and 1830’s, and was fascinated by our little project - enough to lend his name and voice and join up with a bunch of unproven twenty-something hippie musicians on a wild adventure to tell the story of Hugh Glass and Jim Bridger. And boy did we have a ball working on it together!
It is with great love and respect that I dedicate The Crawl to the memory of Slim Pickens, the authenticity he brought to Seekers of the Fleece, and the joy he brought to the world. I hope you enjoy hearing his character work in this vintage recording, remixed by John Inmon, available until now only as part of a 4-disc set.