The Bob Seger Album By Album Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by JamieC, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Detroit Mi USA
    Welcome to the Bob Seger album by album thread! Here we will follow the career of Michigan's favorite son.

    To start the proceedings however we will look first at the clutch of singles released on Hideout and Cameo.

    We will be utilizing both Wikipedia and The Seger Files as our base for info and notes.

    Up first:
    Ballad of the Yellow Beret. On the Are You Kidding Me? label. 1966. The artist is listed as "D. Dodger." (According to some sources, Yellow Beret was backed with Florida Time by "The Beach Bums.")

    This parody of Sgt. Barry Sadler's hit got some airplay until Sadler wrote a cease-and-desist letter. The lyrics rip into Vietnam protesters: "This is a protest against protesters," says a narrator before Seger begins singing, opening with the lines:

    "Fearless cowards of the USA
    Bravely here at home they stay
    They watch their friends get shipped away
    The draft dodgers of the Yellow Beret."
    Near the end, the song becomes a hammy spoof, with a cartoon-style voice overs (not Seger's) offering ludicrous excuses to a draft board.

    Next Up:
    East Side Story. January 1966. B/w an instrumental version, East Side Sound.

    "East Side Story" is the defining song of Seger's early years for many fans, including me. It is the song that captures the full power of his voice, his promise, his songwriting ability. More than anything, it is probably the song that launched his career and sustained it during the dry periods that followed. "East Side Story" became a huge hit in Detroit, a #3 record on Detroit radio, which was unheard of for a local band. Thirty years later, the song has not lost one iota of energy -- it still has the same raw, pulsing urgency of a rock classic. Only in this case, it's a rock classic that most people have never heard. If Seger ever does a boxed set or a true anthology, this song would be a must, shoulder to shoulder with "Heavy Music," "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," and "Night Moves" -- the other three landmark songs of his career.

    Persecution Smith. September 1966. Cameo-Parkway. B/w Chain Smokin. Produced and arranged by Seger. Engineered by Les Cooley.

    Persecution Smith" begins with a blistering peel of electric guitar, followed by a rapid-fire tumble of lyrics in the style of Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues." In fact, the voice quality is closer to Dylan's than to the Seger we now know. The lyrics, however, are definitely in the Seger vein of social comment:

    "He rises every morning but he don't look at the sun.
    He reaches in the corner where he keeps his loaded gun.
    Then he checks the firing action as he straps it to his chest,
    Plans an ambush for the mailman, even though it's all in jest."

    Up next

    Sock It To Me, Santa. Winter 1966. (Or December 1967.) Cameo-Parkway. (Seger-Honaker-Lagassa-Leone.) B/w Florida Time, a Beach Boys-style song. The single lists the songwriter as "Punchy." Both produced by Doug Brown and Bob Seger. Engineered by Les Cooley.

    Once again, Seger in the style of James Brown/Mitch Ryder -- (Ryder's "Sock It To Me, Baby" came out the following year.) As with "Chain Smokin," what's important here is the energy and the music -- the lyrics exist just to put some syllables around that energy. Indeed, the lyrics couldn't get any sillier:

    "Sock it to me, Santa,
    You heard what I said.
    Sock it to me Santa,
    Just bring me a sled!"

    Three steps forward, one step back

    Vagrant Winter. Cameo-Parkway. April 1967. B/w Very Few. Cameo-Parkway.

    "Vagrant Winter" is in some ways least interesting of Seger's early singles. It's hard to hear anything of the later day Seger in this song. If he was imitating someone or testing out a style, it's hard for me to hear what it was. If anything, I'd say it might be some kind of San Francisco sound -- there's a sitar-like guitar winding through the middle, fancy cymbal work and a little bit of skating rink organ. If that's Pep Perrine on drums, by the way, I'd say he's giving Keith Moon a run for his money -- the drums are pounding, full and excellent. But overall, of this early bunch, "Vagrant Winter" is the most unSegerlike Seger song -- except for the B-side, "Very Few," which is even more unSegerlike.
    And Finally The classic

    Heavy Music. June or July 1967. Cameo-Parkway. B/w Heavy Music Part 2

    Produced and primarily arranged by Doug Brown. Sold 66,000 copies in Detroit.

    Pep Perrine, drums; Dan Honaker, bass; Carl Lagassa, guitar; Seger, piano and lead vocal; Doug Brown, backing vocal;and David Whitehouse, backing vocal.

    This is the song that changed everything. This is the song that, ten years later, remained the focal point of Seger's live performance as captured on Live Bullet. It is the first song, on vinyl anyway, that really captured his ability to combine the raw power of rock with the punch and rhythm of the James Brown style soul music he loved. It's not an exaggeration to say that this was a new sound. He wasn't following anyone here (the way that he was arguably following Van Morrison with "East Side Story," the first landmark song of his career.) Instead, he was combining two styles into a something new. When that happens, worlds can explode, as they did for Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry or the Beatles. In a lesser but still potent way, "Heavy Music" might have exploded for Seger, too, except for the ultimate bad luck with Cameo-Parkway, which went out of business just as the song hit. Still, "Heavy Music" cracked open the door of stardom and, along with "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," sustained Seger through ten years and ten thousand miles of strip joints, bars and dives. Put it on with a pair of headphones today, and you can hear why: the adrenaline pounds, the vocals soar. This is what they call mastery.

    So there you have it . Six singles. An albums worth of tunes. The foundation upon which all else lies.

    All reviews above are from the Seger Files

    Next Week---Rambling Gambling Man

    Attached Files:

  2. tonyc

    tonyc Forum Resident

    Good idea for a thread. I will be able to add my .02 cents later on.
  3. Jason Michael

    Jason Michael Forum Resident

    I am interested in this thread- over the last few years I have bought all the available Seger CDs. Unfortunately, I have no opinion on these singles because Bob has decided not to release his early stuff.
    But when you get to "Smokin' O.P.s" (which I just picked up last week), I am there!

  4. antonkk

    antonkk Forum Resident

    Cool! I'm in.
  5. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Detroit Mi USA
    The last of these singles resides on Smokin' OPs. Heavy Music is the original single there.
  6. rjp

    rjp Forum Resident

    were any of the above on that rarities thing he put out last year?
  7. Jason Michael

    Jason Michael Forum Resident

    Cool. I figured it was a remake.
    Thanks for the info.

  8. xyyyy

    xyyyy Active Member

    Just finished listening to Seger's- Eastside Story. This was Seger's wax debut, under his own name. Kind of sounds like 'Gloria' at times. The song is on a cd I have titled 'Michigan Garage Barage'. Cool stuff!
  9. Joe Fornarotto

    Joe Fornarotto Well-Known Member

    New Jersey
    So that explains the poor quality of the sound of Heavy Music on the CD...always wondered why it was mono when the rest of the CD was stereo.
    Learning already on this thread.
    If possible could you fill us in on where any of these tracks are available on CD.
    Some of his early tracks were included on the Cameo-Parkway box set....right?


  10. xyyyy

    xyyyy Active Member

    East Side Story on Cameo Parkway- artist Bob Seger and the Last Heard. The band's name was later dropped by Seger, because it sounded like- the Last Turd.:eek: Seriously:agree:
    elvissinatra likes this.
  11. Saint Johnny

    Saint Johnny Forum Resident

    Asbury Park
    If anyone would like to hear most, if not all of these singles, in a fairly regular rotation. Please tune your browser to the Technicolor Web Of Sound, or Beyond The Beat Generation.
  12. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Detroit Mi USA
    Heavy Music on the Cameo/Parkway set is correct mono. The version on Smokin' OPs is in fake stereo
  13. xyyyy

    xyyyy Active Member

    No- I believe you're referring to Bob Seger- Early Seger Vol. 1. The Meijer chain was distributing the cd. Great version of Midnight Rider! Highly recommended you pick up a copy.
  14. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Detroit Mi USA
  15. O Don Piano

    O Don Piano Forum Resident

  16. music4life

    music4life Forum Resident

    South Elgin, IL
    Cant really add anything at this point since like most people outside of Detroit, I've heard very little of these early singles. I located a 45 copy of "Heavy Music" last year, and I have "Sock it to me Santa" on a Christmas compilation.
  17. mrmaloof

    mrmaloof Active Member

    I got most of these singles on CD via the compilation "The Best of Hideout Records", which was briefly available on Amazon. It has all of these tracks (missing, unfortunately, the ballad "Very Few") plus some other Detroit rock and roll goodies from the same era. I guess a few of these came out on the Cameo-Parkway compilation, and I believe that Sock It To Me Santa has made it to some compilations and soundtracks.

    The version of Heavy Music on Smokin' O.P.'s is a needledrop of the single. You can hear this for sure on the CD, and then you can here the same light vinyl noise on the LP too.

    In the pre-CD era, there was a "Bob Seger 66-67" LP compilation running around in different guises. Mine recycled the cover of the Noah album.

    East Side Story and Heavy Music are the classics of this era. The other songs are interesting in both their successes and failures. The story of how someone moves from the narrator of "The Ballad of the Yellow Beret" to the narrator of "2 + 2 = ?" is told in "Leanin' On My Dream" on the Mongrel album.

    - Joe
  18. O Don Piano

    O Don Piano Forum Resident

    Something tells me that "Yellow Beret" was an ironic parody of what most Americans thought of "draft dodgers"- kind of like the Archie Bunker character.
  19. DrAftershave

    DrAftershave Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA
    Shocked, shocked that there hasn't been a Seger album-by-album thread until now. Will be chiming in.
  20. antonkk

    antonkk Forum Resident

    East Side Story and Heavy Music are great tracks! Can't believe there is no box set for this stuff or anything.
  21. kelhard

    kelhard Well-Known Member

    Its a shame that all the early Cameo / Hideout stuff isn't legally available in a nice collection. It seems Seger is reluctant to revisit his early days. I mean, if I was a songwriter for 40+ years, I would too assume that my early work would seem a bit naive to me now, but "East Side Story" and "Heavy Music" are such pounders, and do show what Seger was fully capable of at his early stage. Let the fans have the say.

    Looking forward to the "Seger System" posts.
  22. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    It's pretty cool to be able to say you own a copy of "Very Few," but it really isn't that great a song. "Vagrant Winter," on the other hand, is well worth seeking out on the original 45. It sounds amazing. The comment in the OP (which by the way is from the incomparable is correct that it's a very un-Segerlike song, although I could see it on Mongrel perhaps. "East Side Story" is great also. I own a Cameo 45 and a Hideout one and they both sound pretty good - definitely better than on the Hideout Records CD, which is great if you're on a budget, but to really appreciate the singles you have to hear them on the original vinyl!
  23. hipster006

    hipster006 Well-Known Member

    a have a 2 lp set of dubious origins called michigan brand nuggets. it has most of the early seger singles on it-east side story,persecution smith,lookin back,chain smokin,heavy music part 2,ballad of the yellow beret & sock it to me santa.
    kozy814 likes this.
  24. ralphb

    ralphb "First they came for..."

    Brooklyn, New York
    I have that one, and in addition to the Seger cuts ("Lookin' Back" is just incredible), it has many wonderful period Detroit singles and was considered a major release to collectors at the time. That Unrelated Segments track is a blast.

    It should be noted that "Heavy Music Part 2" is a different take than the hit and contains the timeless line "NSU, SRC, Stevie Winwood got nothin' on me." Seger should get off his butt and do this stuff up right. A deluxe version of Mongrel would be most welcome.
    kozy814 likes this.
  25. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Detroit Mi USA
    An important radio station to the Seger story is WKNR out of Dearborn. They were the only station in town that played the local artists(Rationals, Tidal Waves, Unrelated Segments), but none got over like Seger. His singles were in heavy rotation just like the Beatles(KNR was THE Beatle station). East Side and Persecution Smith both went top ten on the WKNR top 13 and Heavy Music went to number one! Heavy Music was the real headscratcher to us. No one around then knew about Cameo Parkway, and we just wondered at why Heavy Music wasn't number 1 on Billboard.
    Another interesting factoid is that Bob was a hit one other place besides Detroit, and that was Florida. I never figured that one out either.

Share This Page