1972 Case File #9.

Bob Seger
Bob Seger, Smokin’ O.P.’s

File Between: Mitch Ryder and Grand Funk Railroad

Comments: For a long time I resisted the lure of Bob Seger, convinced that late-period schmaltz like “Turn The Page” and the ultra-lame “oooh, like a rock” that dominated my childhood memories of television were all there was to him. But then I started looking stuff up for this 1972 project, which was supposed to be all-inclusive regardless of my personal taste, and I found out he’d been making music long before the Silver Bullet Band — and then, when I scored this record, I found out that the music was actually good, even at times great: wild blue-eyed soul with a swagger and a toughness straight out of garage rock, with a great crunch that 70s production allowed. This is mostly a covers album, with Seger running through Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Tim Hardin songs (with, it must be said, detours into lugubrious self-penned schmaltz), but the highlight here is a monster cover of Stephen Stills’ “Love The One You’re With,” where he trades vocals with soul belters Pam Todd and Crystal Jenkins, and makes Stills’ original sound like a half-assed Pat Boone version.

A Keeper? I’m not sure Seger ever made any perfect LPs, but I’d be sorry to lose about half of this one.

Vinyl Rip: Love The One You’re With

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