CD Review: Bob Seger

Early Seger Vol. 1 (Hideout)

Ten tunes from the vaults of Michigan rock icon Bob Seger reaffirm the strength of classic rock 'n' roll and testify to its key appeal: nostalgia. Such meat-and-potatoes music may have more staying power than Detroit, the city that made Seger, the Stooges and the Motown stable music icons. "Long Song Comin'," a sharply political track from 1974, speaks especially poignantly to the Rust Belt rue Seger articulates so well. Backed by session musicians from Muscle Shoals and Detroit, the raspy-voiced Seger has buffed chestnuts like the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider," Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter" and his own "Get Out of Denver," a testament to his affection for the Chuck Berry/Little Richard schools of rock. He's also polished four unreleased tracks — the best is "Wildfire," a love song that's also a great bar singalong — to fill Early Seger. Class disdain colors the sly, jazzy "U.M.C.," domesticity stars in the ballad "Someday" and mobility — a topic that animates Seger as deeply as Bruce Springsteen, his more celebrated Northeastern soulmate — fires "Get Out of Denver" and "Gets Ya Pumpin'." This is not a major Seger record, but it's satisfying. And even when the lyrics are lightweight, the music is muscular and swinging. — Carlo Wolff