Seekers of the Fleece
July 17-July 23, 1975
The July, 1975 recording sessions for Seekers of the Fleece were drenched in irony from the very start. The sessions began with the recreation of a trappers rendezvous in the mountains outside Sadalia, Colorado on July 17, 1975 -eight years to the day that I made my first record in Nashville. Also on July, 17, 1967, because of my given name -“Bobby Durham”- being taken by other recording artists, I was forced to take my mother’s maiden name -“Bobby Bridger” as a pseudonym. I didn’t realize at the time that July 17, 1881 was the day that Jim Bridger died. Thus, I became Bobby Bridger eight-six years to the day of Jim Bridger’s death.
Professional pseudonym’s aside, beginning the sessions on July 17 had much more to do with necessity than familial/historical symmetry; it just worked out that way. Then, another irony visited the recording sessions: As a producer, I felt we should begin the session with a trapper’s rendezvous in the mountains. I believed it would give Slim Pickens and the Lost Gonzo Band members a chance to get to know each other in a relaxed environment that could also be used as a ceremony for me to present tradition mountain man gifts to them for helping with the sessions. I enlisted the help of my old friend, modern-day mountain man, Timberjack Joe and came down from Wyoming to help. We went to a friend’s ranch near Sadalia and set up Timberjack’s tipi. He started cooking while I ran back to Denver’s Stapleton Airport to pick up Slim and the Gonzos.
On the way driving back to our rendezvous site someone turned on the news and we learned that American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts would be performing the very first rendezvous in space that evening. So here we were in Colorado recreating the rendezvous of the 1820s Fur Trade Era, while above nations with frosty political relations were uniting peacefully in space. July 17 was a special day indeed.
These black and white photographs were all taken by my wife at the time, Gloria Gannaway. The members of the original Lost Gonzo Band – Gary P. Nunn, Bob Livingston, John Inmon and Donnie Dolan are all represented as are my late dear friends, Slim Pickens and Timberjack Joe. Big Mike Williams is present as is Charles John Quarto (co-author of Geronimo’s Cadillac) and Michael Burton (the author of the classic cowboy song, Nightrider’s Lament) The legendary Ramblin’ Jack Elliot joined us later in the sessions.