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Music Review: Bob Seger – Back In ’72

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Bob Seger returned in 1973 with a solid album of American rock ‘n’ roll. Gone were the psychedelic leanings of some of his early releases and in its place were the beginnings of the musical style which would become commercially popular in future decades.

Back In ’72 found him relying more on his own writing skills; six of the nine tracks were original compositions.

The album marks the debut of “Turn The Page” which would become immortalized in a live version on his 1976 Live Bullet album. This weary song of a musician’s endless life without success has an autobiographical feel to it as he continued to be a star in the Detroit area but could not break out nationally. This studio version has a bluesy feel with a piano sound more prominent than on the live track. While the live version would be a radio staple for years, this original performance has a lot to recommend it and remains one of his signature songs.

Several others of his compositions were first rate. “Neon Sky” was a ballad that dealt with the difficulties of family vs. career. “Rosalie” which would be noted for its performance by Thin Lizzy, has all the ingredients to serve him so well in the future. The title track is guitar and sax based rock at its best.

The cover songs were also well chosen and performed. The old Allman Brothers song, "Midnight Rider," is transferred from a southern rock groove to gritty and raw Detroit rock ‘n’ roll. It almost becomes a different song. “Stealer,” co-written by Paul Rodgers, may not be smooth but it is energetic. Van Morrison’s, “I’ve Been Working,” fits Seger’s vocal style well and would also make an appearance on Live Bullet.

Back In ’72 finds Bob Seger poised between his raw early sound and the commercial pop/rock that would prove so popular in the future. Taken on its own it is a nice slice of early 70s rock. It is also a hard album to locate as Seger was not happy with the sound and production and for years has resisted it being re-issued. It may be difficult to find but when you finally put the ear phones on and give it a listen, it will be worth the effort.

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About David Bowling

  • Jalex Diamond

    I’m really glad that somebody has been reviewing some of Seger’s harder to find (especially on CD!) material
    I just recently bought a copy of ‘Mongrel’ online and I should be receiving it within a week or so. Reading your reviews only increases my desire to seek out all his other (pre-‘Live Bullet’) records (especially this one, ‘Seven’, and ‘Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man’).