Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2 + 2 is on my mind

Bob Seger doesn't want anyone to re-release the string of records he made in the late sixties. That's too bad because they are all very good records. A few have were included on a Cameo-Parkway box set a few years ago. The others have never been widely available since they were originally released.

I posted "Florida Time" by the Beach Bums yesterday. Seger doesn't appear on that song but he did sing on the A-side "The Ballad Of The Yellow Beret". It stinks - you don't need to hear it.

"East Side Story" was the first 45 Seger released under his own name. The record went to #3 in Detroit in 1966. In 1967, Seger recorded "Persecution Smith"/"Chain Smokin'" and "Vagrant Winter"/"Very Few" and "Heavy Music". These records were very popular in Michigan, some selling over 50,000 copies. Cameo records was not able to break Seger nationally though. They were busy going out of business. Capitol Records noticed Seger's record sales and signed him in 1968.

The first Capitol record was "2+2=?", one of the best anti-war songs ever recorded. The song's politics were probably what kept it from being a hit but it did go top 10 in Detroit. The next record is even better. "Ramblin Gamblin' Man" was Seger's first national hit, making the top 20 in the U.S. and Canada. Naturally it was a #1 record in Detroit. I never get tired of this song. Strangely, after "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man became popular, Capitol Records re-released "2+2=?". It still didn't get much airplay.

Seger's debut LP was released in 1969. It was supposed to be called TALES OF LUCY BLUE but the name was changed to take advantage of the success of "Ramblin'Gamblin' Man. The LP is as good as the singles, pick it up next time you see a copy.

The second LP - NOAH - is where things start to get strange. Seger was having some personal problems so a guy named Tom Neme was brought in to help out with the band. Neme's contributions aren't bad, they're just not what Seger would have done.

The events surrounding the recording of NOAH affected Seger so strongly that he went back to college and considered quitting music entirely. Which could be the reason Seger doesn't want any of these early records re-released. They probably bring up too many bad memories for him. It's too bad though, these records should be heard by more people.


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