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The Best of This Week on my i-pod: More Bob Seger

August 24th, 2008

Sometimes on this feature, I have fell into sheer review. It’s a mistake. This was never meant to be, “what a great CD.” It is much more about the effect music has, the feel I get from listening, how life is improved through the sheer act of music. This was one of the moments when I almost fell into review, but escaped through expansion of the original idea. Thus one of my all time favourite musicians, and people, Bob Seger, got some Looking Back:

Sunday, September 17, 2006
This week on my i-pod – More Bob Seger

With the new album out, I have spent much of the week with Bob Seger playing. Whether the new CD, or a classic album I have covered a lot of Seger ground this week. By Friday afternoon, I decided to pick a bunch of songs and have the MP3 play them randomly. It’s always interesting to pick songs instead of full albums, as it gives you a closer look at what is moving you.

On this week, I picked two of the new songs: Wreck This Heart and Wait For Me, the first two tracks on the album. Working backwards, there is only one song from the last album, “It’s a Mystery”, that I bother much to listen to, but it’s one of the greats. Lock and Load is a great Seger rocker, possibly even the best in the last 30 years.

Of course The Real Love from “The Fire Inside”, Like a Rock and American Storm from “Like a Rock”, and Even Now from 1982’s “The Distance”. The mid 70’s is his best years and was well represented. However, it was one old and one new (fairly) that where the true gems of the listen.

Turn the Page is the Seger song. All other pale in comparison. Not just Turn the Page though – Turn the Page from the “Live Bullet” album. I have the “Back in ’72” album that the song comes from originally, have quite a few bootlegs and have seen him numerous times. I can assure you, that one performance of “Turn the Page” is heads and shoulders above the rest. It’s not really surprising. He was playing the mid-west bar circuit, travelling club to club. Then he came home to Detroit to sell out Cobo Hall on two consecutive nights; 10,000 people a night. And you sing this song:

Say, here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing star again.
There I go, turn the page…

Out there in the spotlight your a million miles away,
Every ounce of energy, you try and give away,
As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play.
Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed,
With the echo from the amplifiers ringing in your head,
You smoke the days last cigarette, remembering what she said.
Now here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing star again.
There I go, turn the page.
Here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.
Ah here I go, playing star again.
There I go, there I go.

Is it any wonder the song had a little something extra in it. After all the years of living the song, finally he wasn’t playing star, he was a star. Yea, that night was special and it came across in one of rock and rolls greatest moments. Turn the Page is a good song – even Metallica couldn’t ruin it (God help them, they tried though. They tried!) – but on this night a great song was born.

The other song was 1998’s Chances Are with Martina McBride, from the Sandra Bullock movie “Hope Floats”. I don’t have much time for country music, mostly because I can’t take the whiny twang of the singers. But there’s a couple of the lady singers I like: Shania Twain is one; Martina McBride the other. Martina McBride might just have the nicest voice in music. It is stunningly beautiful, clear as a bell and pitch perfect note for note. Bob Seger, on the other hand, has a “smoke too much, ah hell it was close” kind of voice. A singer I have always loved, a distinctive interesting voice, but let’s not kid the troops. Like Seger himself, it is a working man’s voice, a voice not presented upon birth as a gift from the Gods, but a voice that is solid only through hard work and years of performing. And when McBride and Seger put them together, it’s magic.

I have discussed my wife’s romantic dances on the deck before, how I’m responsible to a) attend and b) supply the music. I have decided that Chances Are belongs on our deck next time, is a song that I can comfortably sing to my bride, knowing she would appreciate it:

Chances are you’ll find me
Somewhere on your road tonight
Seems I always end up driving by
Ever since I’ve known you
It seems you’re on my way

All the rules of logic don’t apply
I long to see you in the night
Be with you ’til morning light

I remember clearly how you looked
The night we met
I recall your laughter and your smile
I remember how you made me
Feel so at ease
I remember all your grace and your style

And now you’re all I long to see
You’ve come to mean so much to me

Chances are I’ll see you
In my dreams tonight
You’ll be smiling like the night we met
Chances are I’ll hold you and I’ll offer
All I have

You’re the only one I can’t forget
Baby you’re the best I’ve ever met

And I’ll be dreaming of the future
And hoping you’ll be by my side
And in the morning I’ll be longing for the night
For the night

Chances are I’ll see you
Somewhere in my dreams tonight
You’ll be smiling like the night we met
Chances are I’ll hold you and I’ll offer
All I have

You’re the only one I can’t forget
Baby you’re the best I’ve ever met

It’s the kind of song you expect Bob Seger to write. According to Greatest Hits 2, he wrote it in 1990. There where rumours at the time of an album that got mostly scrubbed because the centre-piece was Tom Waits’ Downtown Train. He told Rod Stewart about it, Stewart recorded and released Downtown Train first, so Seger returned to the studio and released “The Fire Inside” in 1991 instead. If 1990 is the date for Chances Are, then we can assume it is from the lost album, and we can are left to speculate how good an album we missed.

Bob Seger, This Week on my I-Pod

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