Sometimes, the magic can sneak up on you. One of the very best concerts I’ve seen in the past ten years was Bob Seger at Conseco Fieldhouse – no shit – in 2007 . Bought a $60 ticket from a scalper for 15 bucks ten minutes before the show. Went to the back of the arena and found a seat with great sound, straight look at the stage. Upper deck. Seger went old-school, with no video screens; forced the audience to commune with the band and the singer. Who does that anymore? Brilliant move. Great, energetic, connected-to-the moment crowd at the cavernous arena. And he sounded damn good for a man with 40-odd years in the rock show businees, who smokes a little too much. Seger had it that night. Even from the upper deck. That doesn’t happen too often.
Seger’s got a new/old album coming out this week, so I’ve been reading some stuff online, and I’m always surprised when someone writes how they don’t “get” Bob Seger.
He has one of the greatest voices ever in rock and roll, but I get a feeling he’s not really thought of as influential or A-list by some. Yeah, he ‘s in the Rock Hall of Fame. But there’s this nagging reminder that Seger is too, what shall I call it, pedestrian and old-fashioned? Everytime I hear (like twice a year?) a person say Bob Seger ain’t that good, I think “dude, what are you talkin’ about?” I was reading a blog last night about songs that didn’t quite reach the top 40, and how this writer says he can’t listen to Seger. He then goes on to gush over Scritti Politti. So that explains a lot.
For kicks, let’s look at those five 80’s songs that didn’t hit Top 40 for Seger.
“Horizontal Bop” — 1980, #42
“Feel Like a Number” — 1981, #48
“Old Time Rock and Roll” — 1983, #48
“It’s You” — 1986, #52
“Miami” — 1986, #70
The first three are legendary classic rock radio songs, and that’s why we think they were huge songs; because they were. Just not huge on Top 40 stations. “Feel Like a Number” may be one of the ten best rock and roll songs of the decade (though this is the live version), depending on th night, and what youmay be drinking (or smoking). My list changes all the time, but that’s a song can bounce onto my list of all-time faves right now. Underrated. It’s like CCR on steroids – with lyrics of desolation and resignation. Rock lyrics. Sad words hidden by swinging, groovin’, jet-propelled rock music.
“Old Time Rock and Roll” is the re-entry after appearing in the “Risky Business” movie. The last two songs are off the Like a Rock album – and I really like “It’s You” So whatever. You don’t like Seger? Then I don’t like you. Bob was Midwestern rock and roll before Mellencamp. Before REO Speedwagon got big. Before Cheap Trick. Before Springsteen.
Now, he wasn’t a rock star until “Live Bullet” in 1976. (He had released eight albums before hitting with the album recorded at the legendary Cobo Hall). But after that, nobody was bigger than Seger for the next 5 or 6 years.
Seger’s new album, Early Seger Vol. 1, features recently remastered versions of numerous classic Seger songs from the early 1970s and four previously unreleased recordings.
It will be available to Midwestern fans through Meijer in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky.
Starting the following Monday, November 30th, fans can purchase the CD or a full album download at bobseger.com, where the 10 songs can currently be heard.
In September, Seger headed to Kid Rock’s studio in Detroit to re-record elements of four previously unreleased tracks for the collection: “Gets Ya Pumpin’,” “Star Tonight,” “Wildfire” and “Days When the Rain Would Come. Seger also re-recorded much of “Long Song Comin'” from 1974’s Seven.
Early Seger Vol. 1 includes five remastered tracks – “Someday” and his version of Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter” Seger’s cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider” and “Get Out Of Denver” and “U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class)” , two best known from the Live Bullet record.
Intriguing little collection; I’ve heard much of it and it benefits greatly from the remastering. And you get what are essentially five new songs.
You don’t like Seger? Highly unlikely. You read this far. Now check out the video below the track listing, for some long-haired Dee-troit rock and roll.
The track listing for Early Seger Vol. 1
1. Midnight Rider (remastered from original Back in ’72 tapes)
2. If I Were A Carpenter (remastered from original Smokin’ O.P’s tapes)
3. Get Out Of Denver (remastered from original Seven tapes)
4. Someday (remastered from original Smokin’ O.P.’s tapes)
5. U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class) (remastered from original Seven tapes)
6. Long Song Comin’ (originally appeared on Seven; extensively re-recorded for Early Seger Vol. 1)
7. Star Tonight (Seger recording previously unreleased; first released as a cover by Don Johnson for his 1986 album, Heartbeat)
8. Gets Ya Pumpin’ (previously unreleased; Seger’s earliest version of this song, written in 1973, was entitled “Pumpin'”)
9. Wildfire (previously unreleased)
10. Days When The Rain Would Come (previously unreleased)