Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band - Live Bullet

When the Bob Seger System's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" came blasting out of the radio in 1969, we all knew that Detroit had given us another great rock'n'roller. Of course, Seger went on to do a lot of tacky schmaltz, but even by this point in his career - 1975 - he was still a quality rocker.

This live set takes off with his take on Tina Turner's chuggin' rocker, "Nutbush City Limits" - a song hot enough that even Nashville Pussy has covered it - and you can bet that they learned it from this record! Recorded at Cobo Hall, Bob gives his hometown Detroit crowd a bit of r'n'r kudos and goes into a couple of numbers from his then-new album, "Travelin' Man" (a dynamic infused tune with - to my ears anyway - hints of Mott The Hoople's version of "Sweet Jane" before a cool rave-up) segueing into "Beautiful Loser". Side one of the double LP closed with the lovely ballad "Jodie Girl".

Van Morrison's funky stomper "I've Been Working" introduces side two followed by one of his many "road" songs, "Turn the Page", a moody ballad telling of the boredom and the challenges of touring in the early 70's as a long-haired rock'n'roll band - but the release being worth it all. A mid-tempo groover, "U.M.C." ("upper middle class") tells a cautionary tale of social climbers while Bob shows his roots in his modern, more funky, medley of "Bo Diddley" and "Who Do You Love" - complete with bass solo!

Right up there with the best Detroit rock'n'roll songs is "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" and while I may prefer the Bob Seger System's studio take, this energetic reading does it justice. "Heavy Music" is another fine rocker that makes use of the band's tight dynamics and "Katmandu" is a powerful, guitar-driven burst.

The final side gives us the encores, starting with "Lookin' Back", another Bob Seger System stomper, followed by a frenetic, Chuck Berry-inspired "Get Out of Denver" (another "road" song about getting out of town before the cops - or the locals - get ya! Eddie and the Hot Rods did a rockin' version of this, as well) before the true finale of Chuck's ode to this music, "Let It Rock".

For those who only know him via TV commercial soundtracks, be sure to look up his early works for some down'n'dirty mid-west rock'n'roll!