The Legend-News

Monday, 2001 February 26 : Volume 4, Number 5

What We Got Here

Got something that you'd like Bill to autograph? See the latest installment of Re: McCall; and you'd better get into that snow shed, before the "Riverside Slide" gets you in the Song A’ Th’ Week.

Re: McCall

Got a question for Bill? Send it to

Q. [Several Crispy Critters have written to Bill, asking about the possibility of their getting an autograph. — Ed.]

Hello Mr. Fries,

I have a copy of the 'Best Of' album. I would be gracious if you could sign in for me. Where do I send?

A fan,
Bill Craig

Hello Bill, My name is Lonnie. I am wondering how I may obtain or receive a real autographed present or past photo of you, or just your autograph?! Is that possible?

Your friend always,
Lonnie Engel

Hello, I was wondering if there is a place to send for a autograph. Me and some friends have been huge fans since the 70s. My favorite song is "Oregon Trail" with "Lewis and Clark" a close second. Thanks.

Ron Parry

A. As to those requests for 8X10s and autographs: I don't have any photos left, and I don't like the idea of taking a new one since I look like an old dude now... which I am. If you want an autograph on something, send it to me at PO Box E, Ouray, CO 81427. — Bill

An Important Note from the Space Cadet!
That's right, Critters. Bill will sign stuff if you send it to him. But please remember to include return postage for your item (and packaging, too, if that's required), or you may not get it back. Bill is a one-man operation, and he's not rich. Chip Davis is, but then we're not the Manneheim Steamroller Fan Club. — Ed.

Q. Was the song "Classified" based on a personal experience or a true story?

Joe Brayman

A. Yes. It was a true story, but it happened to my son, Mark, back there in Iowa along about 1970. — Bill

Q. I grew up in Colorado and went to Fort Lewis College back in the late 70s, early 80s and am familiar with many of the places your songs and stories talk about, such as Wolf Creek Pass, Silverton, Black Bear Road and others. I would like to know if there are any guitar chords available for these songs and if so, where in the world can I get them. I have checked out a few places but none seem to exist. I am just learning to play the guitar and would love to add CW's songs and stories into the mix.

Mike Anderson, Olathe, Kansas

A. Ed. here, subbing for Bill. So far, the only collection of C.W. McCall sheet music that I've found is Black Bear Road / Wolf Creek Pass published by Chappel Music in 1976. It has every song from those two albums, except for "Wolf Creek Pass" itself. A friend (hi, Andy!) gave me my copy; but there must be a few more copies out there somewhere.

This is yet another reason why I wish that everything that's ever been published was available through the Internet. Items such as this, which are expensive to print and stock, could be very inexpensively sold online in a digital format. As for me, I'm slowly working my way through the book, scanning the pages into GIFs. — Ed.

I asked Bill about the omission of "Wolf Creek Pass" from the book, and he said that the "...Wolf Creek lyrics were too long for the book". Oh, well.

Q. I have enjoyed listening to your music (of what I have) for the last 25 years. I have to say that partly because of your music and the trends at the time I drive a truck and have enjoyed your perspective on the subject in your music. I couldn't tell from your web site if you distribute your music yourself, it is very hard to find. I would very much appreciate if you could answer that for me, and also I am glad to see that you are still hanging out in the mountains.

Thanks again for your unique music,
Tom Martin, Cheyenne, Wyoming

A. See Ed's solution... and keep on truckin'. — Bill

Ed.'s Solution, In Two Parts: (1) Buy the three CDs: The Best Of..., ...Greatest Hits, and The Real McCall: An American Storyteller. Bill still gets royalties from these. (2) Rummage through every used record shop that you can find, online and offline. Check out past issues of The Legend-News for leads to online sites which deal in used records. — Ed.

Q. I know that Woody Guthrie is one of your favorite writers and I thought I would let you know about a great event every July in Woody's hometown of Okemah, Okalahoma. It is the Woody Guthrie Free Folk Festival, a five-day festival that is packed with the great folk artists of today, and some of yesterday. Last year, Pete Seeger was there for the week along with Arlo. It would be great to see you there next year... at least it's something to think about.

In case you're interested, here is the link: Woody Guthrie Folk Music Festival.

A. I am very interested. Thanks, Jim. Woody had that rarest of qualities: honesty. — Bill

A few years ago we were in Ouray for the 4th of July, what a great place to be... We were walking down the street and I could of sworn that we ran into you coming out of the grocery there, well as much of a grocery there is there. But anyway, I still say it was you and I was to awstruck to say hello, if it was you then I want to tell you Hi now, and I hope to see you in Ouray the next July 4th. By any chance, do you own a older Lincoln?

A big fan for what you did to protect our past in song and image.
Jimmy Carlisle

A. No. But I own an older Jeep: a restored M38, 1951 vintage. — Bill

Q. I have been a fan of yours since 19 and 76 when a friend of mine in Albuquerque gave me an 8-track of 'Black Bear Road'. Since then I have bought all the LP's and later the CD's of CW McCall.

Anyway, when in the area of Durango, Silverton and Ouray, (last time in 1995) Do you think it would be possible to meet cha? I'm planning on being in Colorado Springs the first weekend of June, 2001 and would like to cruise to the southwest of the state again (pretty country).

Gary Hardwick, Anchorage, Alaska

A. Take care of yourself, now. Funny thing, Gary: I'll be in Alaska next summer... Ketchikan. — Bill

Song A’ Th’ Week

Up here in the northern hemisphere, winter is coming to an end and the weather is warming. But warm isn't necessarily a good thing when you've got a million tons of snow sitting high on the side of fourteener.

Riverside Slide
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Wilderness

One cold, black night of a Colorado winter
It snowed on Red Mountain Pass
We warned ev'rybody that the Slide was runnin'
An' 5-5-Oh was a mess
But outta the plowshed, south a' town
Come a blade with a flashin' blue light
We told that boy: "Whatever you do,
Beware of the Riverslide Slide."

Plow jockey's got a job to do.

Now that plow-jockey knew he had a job to do
Been dodgin' them slides for years
But we all knew, deep down inside,
He was livin' with a thing called fear
'Cause you don't mess around with an avalanche, son
A lotta men tried, and died
Yeah, you get them plows past Bear Creek Falls,
You lookin' at the Riverside Slide

Now all a' us folks around Ouray County
Seen a lotta them cold, black nights
When the only thing movin' is a big ol' plow
Flashin' them weird blue lights
You drive them snowplows around these parts
You gotta have a real thick hide
'Cause ya never quite know what time a' the night
You gonna die in the Riverside Slide

Well, it snowed six feet on the mountain that night
An' we knew what was comin' on down
An' so did the boy an' his flashin' blue light
When he rolled that blade outta town
Well, he took that plow up 5-5-Oh
An' he felt it lean to one side
An' before he knew it, he was buried alive
At the bottom of the Riverside Slide

Yeah, all a' us folks around Ouray County
Seen a lotta them cold, black nights
When the only thing movin' is a big ol' plow
Flashin' them weird blue lights
We found the boy in the early spring
Still settin', the plow on its side
Yeah, ya never quite know what time a' the night
You gonna die in the Riverside Slide

The Legend-News is Copyright 2001 TechRen Enterprises. "Daddy? Would you read me a bedtime story?" "Sure, Billy. How about 'C.W. McCall and the Lost Load'? Or maybe 'Sloan's Big Adventure'?" Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music.