Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bob Seger - Back In 72 (1973 Great US Classic Rock - Wave)


Released on vinyl in January of 1973, 'Back In '72' cues up Bob and his band (including JJ Cale and the Muscle Shoals Band) on what has always been my favorite Seger recording. It has several strikes against it (it reached only #188 on the Billboard album charts, did not spawn any Top 40 hits, and even Bob has refused to release it on CD due to dismay over the mix and his own vocal performance... which sounds great to me), but it also includes several of my favorite Seger tracks. And my favorites aren't even the ones Bob or his fan base seem most infatuated with. 
'Back In '72' picks up right where Bob left off on his previous album, a collection of covers titled 'Smokin' O.P.'s', with a superb cover of The Allman Brother's 'Midnight Rider'. Bob beefs up the chorus with the soulful sound of Motown backing singers as he lays into "...not gonna let 'em catch the midnight... RIDER!". There's plenty of solid rock and roll where that came from in the form of 'Stealer', a ragged, gritty, love gangster number, and my two favorite Seger tracks, 'Rosalie' and 'Back In '72'. 'Rosalie' roasts one Rosalie Trembley, then program director for one of the most powerful AM radio stations in the world, 50,000 watt CKLW, located in Windsor, Canada, just across the river from Seger's Detroit. At the time, getting your song on Rosalie's playlist all but insured a hit, so Seger's chorus chimes "she's got the power, she's got the tower, Rosalie". It's a churning rock number with a great rhythm guitar riff. The title track opened side two on the original vinyl, and features a solid beat, quality guitar riffs, and fine sax solos. The lyrics trumpet some key national and local political events from 1972, such as "Sherriff Gribbs (elected as the last white mayor of Detroit in 1969), and his grim ad libs, cryin' 'bout the crime in the streets", and "Tricky Dick, he played it slick, something I was afraid he'd do, back in '72". It's first rate from start to finish.
Many Seger fans, however, cherish this disc for the side one closer, 'Turn the Page', which to this day remains one of Seger's favorites, and has become a staple of his concert setlists. This five minute-plus, slow tempo blues track laments the rock and roll road life with lyrics such as "there I go, playing star again". There are two romantic ballads that harken as precursors to Seger's 'Night Moves' sound, 'So I Wrote You a Song', and the nearly six minute 'I've Got Time', which may be too sluggish to serve as an album closer. The remaining two tracks aren't slouches, however. 'Neon Sky' is a pulsing rock number, again lamenting the never-ending money chase, and a cover of Van Morrison's 'I've Been Workin', honoring the blue-collar work ethic of Segers hometown, and featuring a sweet lead guitar solo. 
All in all, it's hard to understand why this particular Seger album failed to gain national acclaim. It did grow up in an era, however, where people had become accustomed to albums that featured absolutely no filler, ranging from The Stone's 'Sticky Fingers' to Carole King's 'Tapestry'. Unfortunately, the fans who loved Seger during lean times, certainly among his most dedicated fans, are the ones from whom Bob is holding 'Back In '72' hostage, regardless of whatever warts he may feel it has. Although Bob has kept open the possibility of re-recording some of these tracks, these songs will never be recorded again with the same vitality and sincerity as Bob and his band delivered them back in '72. Let's just hope that Bob rewards his loyal fan base with a remastered disc, perhaps embellished with out-takes or alternate versions of these great tracks. What do you say, Bob? (By Running Man (Chesterfield Twp., MI)

Tracklist
01 - Midnight Rider
02 - So I Wrote You a Song
03 - Stealer
04 - Rosalie
05 - Turn the Page
06 - Back in 72
07 - Neon Sky
08 - I've Been Working
09 - I've Got Time
10 - Persecution Smith (Bonus)
11 - Chain Smokin' (Bonus)
12 - Lookin' Back (Bonus)
13 - Heavy Music - Part 2 (Bonus)

Personnel
Bob Seger - guitar, vocals 
Jack Ashford - maracas, marimba, tambourine 
Barry Beckett - organ, piano, electric piano 
Philip Bliss - steel guitar, vocals 
Eddie "Bongo" Brown - conga 
J.J. Cale - guitar 
Pete Carr - guitar 
Tom Cartmell - flute, saxophone (Later known as Alto Reed) 
Roger Hawkins - drums 
David Hood - bass 
Jimmy Johnson - rhythm guitar 
Marcy Levy - background vocals 
Bill Mueller - guitar 
Jamie Oldaker - drums 
Sergio Pastora - conga, tambourine, timbales 
Scherrie Payne - background vocals 
Dick Sims - organ, piano, keyboard, clavinet, pedal bass 
Luke Smith - background vocals

Link

4 comments:

macCoy said...

Hello Silverado
Super LP de Bob avec des titres comme "Rosalie" repris par Thin Lizzy et qui deviendra un hymne du hard ou encore "Turn The Page" repris par Metallica

Great!

Tommy Duque said...

Thank you Silverado for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this, and I'm not sure when you made these notes (ie earlier or not?) The good news is that there was an authorised re-release of this on CD, which for some reason was done as a limited edition (from memory 10 or 20,000, I think, so not too bad - pressed in Germany). The better news is that the sound quality is exceptionally good. I don't know if it was a full remaster, or just an EQ tweak, but it works, and brings out nearly everything that made the original record so good in the first place. Someone (possibly Punch?) obviously convinced Bob that his voice on this was not as awful as he thought it was.

Anyway, copies appear on e-bay from time to time. H

[Limited Edition Hall Of Fame Release 2004. MS 2126 Palladium Records/Reprise Records/Warner Bros.]

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you for this!
- Alan