Music Notes: Old Time Rock and Roll

Written by Jason P. Woodbury Category: Arts Issue: October 2017
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Bob Seger’s Deep Cuts

Though he’s been known for his distinctive blend of heartland rock for decades, Bob Seger had an under-the-radar career before steering the Silver Bullet Band to chart-topping heights in the mid-‘70s and ‘80s. With Seger coming to Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday, October 28, here’s a primer of five rare Seger deep cuts worth seeking out as you prep your playlist for the show.

Photo by American Talent International (management)/Capitol Records.

“Heavy Music”
An invocation of the euphoric feeling great music inspires, this 1967 single, recorded with Seger’s band the Last Heard, rages hard. Even if Seger’s later hits would take on a gentler tenor, it’s easy to hear how this raucous style of Detroit boogie would inform his work for decades to come. 

Seger describes himself as a political centrist, but there’s no mistaking his early counter-culture leanings on this searing 1969 cut. The song is a favorite of Jack White of the White Stripes. This year, White’s Third Man Records label reissued it as a limited-edition 45 RPM record. 

“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” 
As heavy and righteous as an MC5 or Stooges cut, Seger’s 1969 single was credited to the Bob Seger System. His pal Glenn Frey of the Eagles contributed guitar and vocals, but don’t come looking for mellow vibes. It’s a garage-rock stomp through and through.

Ask Bob Seger about his 1971 acoustic album Brand New Morning and he’ll joke that his only copy is “buried in my backyard.” Though it’s never been reissued, it’s a gem. Songs like “Sometimes” showcase Seger as a true songwriter’s songwriter – empathetic and wise. 

Pulled from Seger’s Back in ’72 (which came out in 1973), “Rosalie” found greater fame when Irish rock band Thin Lizzy covered it. But Seger’s original rocks plenty, showcasing his ability to groove that would soon propel him to superstardom. 

—  Jason P. Woodbury