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Music Review: Bob Seger – Early Seger Vol. 1

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Bob Seger has now sold tens of millions of records and CDs and is safely enshrined in The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Between 1976 and 1986 he released a series of commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums. Titles such as Night Moves, Stranger In Town, Against The Wind, Like A Rock, The Distance, and Live Bullet continue to sell well decades after their initial release as they contain some of the most memorable tracks in rock ‘n’ roll history. Songs such as “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Against The Wind,” “Fire Lake,” “Shame On The Moon,” and “Shakedown” are instantly recognizable by several generations of American music fans.

Seger has raided the vaults for his latest release, Early Seger Vol. 1, which consists of six remastered pre-1976 tracks and four previously unreleased songs.

He reaches back to 1972’s Smokin’ O.P.’s for “If I Were A Carpenter” and “Someday.” The first is an organ-based folk/rock tune and the second is a simple, moody slow song that looked ahead to his better ballads to come.

The Back In 72 LP yields Seger's cover of the old Greg Allman tune, “Midnight Rider,” which had been out of print for years. He gives it a straightforward rock treatment with a loud drum mix providing the foundation.

Three songs are taken from Seven. “U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class)” features a smooth vocal and picks up steam as it progresses. The always entertaining “Get Out Of Denver” has been refitted with a new guitar solo but retains it frenetic uptempo style and energy. “Long Song Comin’” has basically been re-recorded as horns and a stinging guitar sound have been added to give it a more polished sound.

The four unreleased tracks consist of two interesting songs and two unearthed gems that are seeing the light of day for the first time. “Star Tonight” was covered by Don Johnson in 1986 but here Seger provides a gritty vocal to his own composition. “Gets Ya Pumpin’” builds on the 1973 tune “Pumpin’” and is essentially a power ballad. “Wildfire,” recorded in the mid-1980’s makes for a wonderful surprise. This polished, up-tempo rock cut was originally slated to be the title song of the Like A Rock album. “Days When The Rains Would Come” stems from the same period and is an up-tempo ballad with lyrics that paint a picture of love remembered. The song is equal to any material that he released during that creative period of his career.

Bob Seger has returned with an interesting release that plugs a lot of holes in his career. Early Seger Vol. 1 is a must for any Seger fan as it presents some well-crafted music from an old master.

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