Tag Archives: Bob Seger

Bob Seger’s Cameo appearance

When it was announced that Bob Seger would be playing our local arena in 2013, my friend Larry in New Jersey suggested I “buy a front row seat and spend the whole concert screaming ‘EAST SIDE STORY!!!!!'”

Which is a song Seger won’t play live. It’s one of his best songs, but it’s from early in his career, a time he seemingly refuses to acknowledge. If you’ve spent any time reading this blog, you know we love Bob Seger’s early stuff. He was huge in Detroit and we heard him on the radio in Wisconsin long before he hit it big with the Silver Bullet Band in 1976.

But because Bob Seger won’t play most of his great early stuff live, I didn’t go see that 2013 show, nor did I go see him when he returned to Green Bay last August.

Which brings us to yesterday’s intriguing news that ABKCO Records is releasing a bunch of Bob Seger’s earliest singles on LP, in glorious mono, on September 7.

“East Side Story,” the song championed by Larry, is the second cut on the forthcoming “Heavy Music: The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967.” It draws from singles released by the Cameo label out of Detroit in 1966 and 1967.

It’s intriguing because we’ve been down this road before and have been disappointed.

In 2009, Seger teased us with “Early Seger, Vol. 1,” a regional release comprised mostly of deep cuts from some of his earliest LPs. Ten of the 14 cuts were from “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” “Back In ’72” and “Seven,” all released from 1972 to 1974. I have those LPs, so I didn’t need the comp.

In 2011, Seger ignored his early days when he released “Ultimate Hits: Rock And Roll Never Forgets,” which was comprised entirely of songs from 1976 or later.

Those of us who dig Seger’s early work again felt a little left out. So we put together a blog post of Bob Seger’s other greatest hits.

Larry picked “East Side Story,” of course. “Heavy Music” was a consensus pick by our panel of experts. Appropriately, “Heavy Music” also is the first cut on the new release.

Still, I wonder. I find it hard to believe that Bob Seger, always so reluctant to let his early stuff see the light of day, signed off on this. Perhaps he got a sweet deal. Perhaps he doesn’t own the rights to these releases and has no say. ABKCO re-released two of the Last Heard singles in 1973, but billed them as Bob Seger only.

Whatever. I’ll be happy to get it when it lands in our local record stores come September, even if I’ve heard all but four of the 10 cuts.

I already had two of the cuts on “Michigan Brand Nuggets,” a compilation of early Detroit garage and psych rock “fortified with 7 very rare Bob Seger songs.” It was released in 1996 and re-released in 2016. The two cuts are both sides of a Cameo single released in February 1967 and re-released as an ABKCO single in 1973.

“Persecution Smith” was the A side. From the liner notes: “The follow-up to ‘East Side Story.’ Sounds more than a little like Bob Dylan circa ‘Bringing It All Back.'”

“Chain Smokin'” was the B side. From the liner notes: “A good spoof about the torments of tobacco addiction.”



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Filed under July 2018, Sounds

‘Seven’ for seven

AM, Then FM turns 7 this week. To celebrate, a story of a long-ago record hunt.

Those of you who are regulars know how much I dig Bob Seger’s early stuff. The first Seger song I came to know and love, I heard on the radio in 1974. That single was “Get Out Of Denver,” the breathless rocker from “Seven,” the seventh LP by a still-young Seger.

Just one problem. Because Seger was then still just a regional act, big only in the Midwest, the distribution of his records was hit or miss. Try as I might, I couldn’t find “Seven” in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin.

So I mentioned that to my friend Herb one day. Herb was two years older, and he promised to look for “Seven” when he went back to college in the fall.

There was one condition, though. Herb also couldn’t find a record he wanted in Wausau. If memory serves, he was looking for this one …

babe ruth first base lp

“First Base,” by the British prog rockers Babe Ruth. They covered Frank Zappa’s “King Kong” on it, and Herb was into Zappa.

So Herb said, “Tell you what. I’ll keep an eye out for your record and you keep an eye out for mine.”

Eventually, I found Herb’s record, and Herb found mine. My copy of “Seven” came out of a cutout bin, probably from somewhere in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Scott Sparling, whose website The Seger File is a tremendous resource about all things Seger, calls this “indisputably the best album never to make the Top 200 Billboard album chart.” This was Seger’s first record with the Silver Bullet Band. They opened for Kiss while touring in support of “Seven.”

You probably know “Get Out Of Denver,” so here are a couple of other cuts from “Seven,” as we celebrate seven years.


“Need Ya” and “School Teacher,” Bob Seger, from “Seven,” 1974.

The LP, and these songs, are out of print. Three of the other cuts on “Seven” — “Get Out Of Denver,” “Long Song Comin'” and “U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class)” — are available on “Early Seger, Vol. 1,” a 2010 release, and digitally.

“Need Ya” was the first single off the album, but went nowhere. Sounds to me to be influenced by Rod Stewart, and Sparling hears that, too. “Get Out Of Denver” came next and peaked at No. 80.

Sparling says the live version of “School Teacher” is a bit of a holy grail for Seger fans. He explains:

“Seger had a ‘long version’ of ‘School Teacher,’ which contained a long story
— told during the instrumental break — about working as a janitor
and watching a very sexy teacher walk home from work.
If there is a God of Boxed Sets … please, please Lord,
let the long, live version appear. It’s a classic.”

As the summer of 1974 wound to a close, “School Teacher” was an album cut listed as “hitbound” on WTAC, The Big 6, out of Flint, Michigan. It never made it.

Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.


Filed under February 2014, Sounds

Bob Seger’s other greatest hits

Bob Seger released a new greatest-hits record earlier this week. Most of “Ultimate Hits: Rock And Roll Never Forgets” is songs from 1976 or later.

Those of us who dig Seger’s early work, recorded before he hit it big with Silver Bullet Band, are feeling a little left out. Yes, he did release some of those songs last year on “Early Seger, Vol. 1,” but that never made it into wide release. Many of the early songs we so dig weren’t among its 10 songs.

So with the help of some friends and fellow bloggers, here’s a greatest-hits compilation from the days when Bob Seger was a rock powerhouse largely known only to those of us in the Midwest.

“East Side Story,” Bob Seger and the Last Heard, from the Hideout 7-inch, 1966. Out of print.

Larry from Funky 16 Corners: The greatest moment from Seger’s garage punk years with the Last Heard, “East Side Story” was a fairly big regional hit. rising to the Top 10 in Detroit, Windsor, Ont., Cleveland and Columbus. Released locally on the Hideout label and picked up for national distribution by Cameo Parkway, the record is a hard-charging, fuzzed-out tale of street violence that rolls on a “Gloria”-esque riff, bongo drums and Seger’s impassioned vocals. Though it didn’t break nationally, the song was covered in the following year by bands in California (the Caretakers) and the UK (St Louis Union). Interestingly, Seger wrote the song for another local band, the Underdogs (who eventually recorded for Motown’s VIP subsidiary), and apparently dissatisfied with their version, recorded it himself.

“Heavy Music (Part 1),” Bob Seger and the Last Heard, from the Cameo Parkway 7-inch, 1967. Out of print.

By popular demand: Bruce from Some Velvet Blog thought this smoking, scorching single ought to be included. Larry digs it over at Funky 16 Corners, calling it “powerful soul-influenced garage.” Derek from Derek’s Daily 45 thought so much of it that he wrote: “(Seger’s) early Detroit singles are legendary and the stuff of wonder.” My only problem, then, is sorting through the three versions I have. There is “Heavy Music (Part 1),” the A side of the single; “Heavy Music (Part 2),” the B side (they’re slightly different versions); and the cut off the 1972 LP “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” which edits both sides of the single into something that’s not really as good as either side of the original. Part 1 it is.

“2 + 2 = ?” the Bob Seger System, from the Capitol 7-inch, 1968. Also on the “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” LP, 1969. Both out of print.

Terry A., friend of the blog: In the late ’60s, I was part of the anti-war movement in Indiana, but I wasn’t a peacenik. My relatives and my friends were being dragged into a war that didn’t make any sense. I remember Wayne Taylor, a senior who sat next to me in geometry. In spring, he was joking and cheating off of my homework. By late summer, his picture was in the Michigan City News-Dispatch, a Vietnam casualty. I think that’s why the Bob Seger System’s “2 + 2 = ?” appealed to me from the first listen. It was about Wayne and all those guys who were being whisked away to combat for no good reason (and if my draft number had been lower it would have been about me). It was a muscular, blue-collar song that appealed to confused kids from The Region.

“Noah,” the Bob Seger System, from “Noah,” 1969. Out of print.

JB from The Hits Just Keep On Comin’: “Noah,” Seger’s second album, might be the strangest item in his catalog, because it featured a second lead singer, Tom Neme. Stories vary on what happened. Either Seger’s longtime producer, Punch Andrews, brought Neme into the band, or Seger hired Neme. Reasons vary, too. Either Seger believed he couldn’t sing and play guitar at the same time, or he’d had some sort of breakdown and wanted the help. Some sources claim Neme tried to take over as bandleader after that. Others, including Neme himself, say he was merely filling a void that Seger was unwilling, or unable, to fill. In any event, Seger briefly quit his own band shortly after “Noah” was released, but quickly returned to fire Neme and restore the natural order. The title song is one of four Seger wrote or co-wrote for the album. It briefly bubbled under the Hot 100 in September 1969, but deserved a better fate. In some alternate universe, it’s a concert encore with the audience singing along.

“Looking Back,” Bob Seger, from the Capitol 7-inch, 1971. Out of print.

Mark E., friend of the blog: Seger has been one of my favorites since I was in high school. One of my best friends first introduced me to his music in 1975 when “Live Bullet” was released. His parents lived in an A-frame house outside of town and on summer nights, we would hang out on the deck with other friends listening to “Live Bullet.” When I began my college radio career in 1977, I discovered other great music from Bob Seger. One of my faves was “Looking Back,” which never made it on a Seger album, except for the live version on “Live Bullet.” The single was a huge hit in Detroit. I just love that spooky organ intro … and those lyrics! They still hold true today!

“Love The One You’re With,” Bob Seger, from “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” 1972.

My selection: I was going to write about “Get Out Of Denver” off 1974’s “Seven” LP, but I’ve done that already. Besides, that’s one of the cuts on “Early Seger, Vol. 1.” Then I realized we had no selections from what has been my favorite Seger record ever since I found it at a record show in Minneapolis. So here’s a cover of the familiar Stephen Stills tune that has some nice Bo Diddley guitar and Hammond organ. After getting things revved up, Seger steps aside and leaves the lead vocals to Pam Todd and Crystal Jenkins. This is so good, you wonder why he didn’t do so more often. According to Scott Sparling’s fine Seger File website, Seger and his band mates (two of whom, drummer David Teegarden and keyboard player Skip Knape, were the one-hit wonders Teegarden and Van Winkle in 1970) had been together for about a year, but spent only about six weeks with backup singers Todd and Jenkins. I can’t think of too many other Seger tunes with female singers so prominently featured.

“Midnight Rider,” Bob Seger, from “Back in ’72,” 1973. The LP is out of print, but the song is available on “Early Seger, Vol. 1,” a 2010 release.

Whiteray from Echoes in the Wind: The track I’d insist on being included in this mythical anthology of Seger’s early work would be his take on Gregg Allman’s “Midnight Rider,” which was the opening track on “Back in ’72.” From the start of the thumping piano-and-drum introduction that leads into the nearly-spoken first verse, the listener knows that although the tale may have originated from somewhere near Macon, Georgia, this track is not some slice of languid Southern mythology. Right at that thumping start, Seger’s version of “Midnight Rider” rolls with the sound of a Rust Belt bar band, which is exactly where one would place the early Bob Seger. But then, as the second verse sounds, there’s a cluster of female background voices that sounds like it was pulled in from a 1967 Aretha session. Then follows a guitar solo that from its first shadings is coming unmistakably from the fretboard of J.J. Cale, and you begin to realize what Seger has done. He’s taken the power of Great Lakes rock and combined it with the soul and sass of Southern rock into a synthesis that’s lifted that mythical rider from the back roads and swamps of the South and placed him in a slowly decaying working-class neighborhood of the industrial Midwest. What matters most about Bob Seger’s version of “Midnight Rider” is that it kicks ass.

“So I Wrote You A Song,” Bob Seger, from “Back in ’72,” 1973. Out of print.

Rob from Popdose: When Seger sings a ballad — I mean really sings it, pushing that upper register a few dozen miles into the mesosphere — it can wobble buildings, give brave men chills, and make statues cry. Think “Somewhere Tonight,” the heartbreaking coda of “Like a Rock,” if you dare (batten down the hatches first).  That kind of balladry pretty much starts here, with a simple piano figure and a straightforward lyric about finding love. “I’m no longer alone,” he sings, “Think I’ve found me a home / And I think it’s real.” Were you or I to say something like that, we’d sound silly.  When Seger sings it, it sounds like a profound truth we are fortunate to hear, and lucky to understand.


Filed under November 2011, Sounds

Bob Seger goes back in time

On an otherwise dull day at work, this sweet little item came across the wire: Bob Seger is coming out with a new CD chock full of some of his earliest songs.

That’s great news for those of us who have long preferred the young, spirited, in-your-face Seger of the late ’60s and early ’70s to the more familiar, more mainstream latter-day Seger.

Brian McCollum, writing in the Detroit Free Press, says it’s “a lineup of hard-to-find album cuts.” For most folks, probably. But not for those of us who are crate diggers, nor for those of us who grew up in the upper Midwest and heard Seger on the radio in those early days. He was well known regionally but hadn’t made it big nationally.

I have two of the three “long unavailable” LPs from which the new “Early Seger, Vol. 1” is drawn. I’ve seen both at Amazing Records, my local vinyl record shop, in the last month.

The 10 cuts on the CD are a mix of tunes from “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” “Back In ’72” and “Seven,” all fine Detroit rockers released from 1972 to 1974. “Smokin’ O.P.’s” is mostly covers, the others mostly original material. There also are four unreleased tunes, one from 1977 and the others from 1985.

Seger also is apparently reviving a vintage Detroit label. “Early Seger, Vol. 1” is being released on Hideout Records, once the home of crunchy Detroit rock, some it put out by Seger.

Seger remains loyal to his roots. At first, “Early Seger, Vol. 1” was sold only at Meijer’s stores. (That’s a big grocer and retailer in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.) Now it’s available at Seger’s Web site. There might be a wider release early next year.

So here’s a sampler of early Seger … but not from the new CD. Perhaps from future volumes of “Early Seger,” which certainly seem possible.

“Vol. 1” has a re-recorded version of this tune: “Long Song Comin’,” Bob Seger, from “Seven,” 1974. It’s out of print.

“Vol. 1” also has Seger’s ever-so-slightly superior original version of this tune: “Get Out of Denver,” Dave Edmunds, from “Get It,” 1977.

But “Vol. 1” doesn’t have this tune: “Love The One You’re With,” Bob Seger, from “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” 1972. On which Seger steps aside and leaves the lead vocals to Pam Todd and Crystal Jenkins.


Filed under November 2009, Sounds

Three under the tree, Vol. 15

Once again, a little misdirection with our three tunes. You figured it out back in Vol. 6. It’s still not all that complicated.

The first one sounds like Chuck Berry, but really is …


“Run Rudolph Run,” Dave Edmunds, 1982, from “A Different Kind of Christmas,” 1994. It’s out of print … which is a little surprising considering some of the other acts on it: NRBQ, Bruce Cockburn, T-Bone Burnett and Shawn Colvin.

Edmunds has long been one of my favorite performers, and that he would channel Chuck Berry is no surprise. Berry did this one first, as the B side to “Merry Christmas Baby” in 1958, but he didn’t write it. Rather, it was Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie. You may know some other Christmas songs written by Marks: “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”

The second one sounds like James Brown, but really is …


“Sock It To Me, Santa,” Bob Seger and the Last Heard, 1966, from “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas,” 1995.

There’s an interesting little history of this tune at The Seger File, a fan site. There, Scott Sparling discusses the mysterious songwriting credit — first “Punchy,” then “T. Keels” — and suggests they might be pseudonyms created to resolve a copyright challenge “since the riffs were pretty much straight out of Mitch Ryder/James Brown territory.”

This compilation CD, by the way, is a good one if you are into ’80s Christmas music. This by far is the oldest cut. Among the other performers: Elton John, the Moody Blues, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, the Waitresses, Billy Squier, the Kinks and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

The third one sounds like the Chantays, but really is …


“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Los Straitjackets, from “‘Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets!” 2002.

They sound like they’re out of California, and they wear wrestling masks from Mexico, but this surf-rock instrumental quartet hails from Nashville. They’ve played in my town several times, but I must confess I’ve never seen them. They’ll be here again on New Year’s Eve. I may have to go see them … unless I’m setting off fireworks at midnight for our 12-year-old.

Enjoy. More to come. What, no requests?


Filed under Christmas music, December 2007, Sounds

What was that song?

In 1974, I badly wanted, and could not find in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin, a somewhat obscure album from a Detroit band getting some regional airplay.

Likewise, my pal who went to college in another town could not find a Babe Ruth album he wanted. So we looked for, and eventually found, each other’s albums.

The album I wanted? “Seven,” the seventh album from a still-young Bob Seger.

The song I had to have? “Get Out of Denver.”

The next year, in 1975, I had one of those “What was that?” moments while listening to the FM radio of the day.

The song I had to have? Seger, again. It’s from this week’s side over at The Midnight Tracker.


“Katmandu,” Bob Seger, from “Beautiful Loser,” 1975.


Filed under December 2007, Sounds

Adventures with albums

So I met this girl while I was in college. It was a different time, the late ’70s.

We were over at her house one night, and she pulled out an album. Rod Stewart, maybe. We’d been listening to tunes and, ahem, resting, so I really didn’t think anything of it.

Then she handed me the bag of pot.

Then she handed me the double album.

She asked me if I’d clean out the stems and seeds.

(If you aren’t from the ’70s, here’s how that worked. You’d open the double album and dump the pot into the centerfold, then fold the double album closed, then open it back up. Do that a couple of times, then tap out or pick out the stems and seeds from the good pot. Not perfect, but good enough.)

Try doing that with a jewel case.

Yes, we’re here today in praise of the vinyl record album.

Look elsewhere on this Vinyl Record Day blogswarm weekend, and you’ll find my colleagues writing knowledgeable, passionate essays about the music contained within those jackets and sleeves. For a complete guide, head over to JB’s place at The Hits Just Keep On Comin.’

Here, though, we’re going to go on a few adventures with a few albums.


I was over at my dad’s apartment not too long ago, going through his albums. They’ve long been put away on a shelf because he no longer has a turntable. At 82, he doesn’t get around so well anymore, so he really doesn’t want the hassle of getting up and down to put albums on a turntable. He likes the convenience of his CDs and cassettes.


As I went through the stacks, I came across all the albums I saw so often while growing up. It was quite a trip to come across “Remember How Great?” That was a 1940s- and 1950s-era greatest-hits record put out as a promo for Lucky Strike cigarettes. Dad loved the tunes and I loved its colorful design.


Then I came across “Tony Orlando & Dawn/Greatest Hits.” Hmmm. I don’t think this is Dad’s. I ask him about it. “Oh, that probably was Grandma’s. I have her albums.”


Then I came across Cheech and Chong’s “Los Cochinos.” No, I don’t think so. Not Dad’s. I doubt he’d play it so often that the car was starting to tear.

(The car? Starting to tear? What? OK, if I have to explain it … follow along. You see Cheech and Chong looking out the window? That was on the inner sleeve. It pulled out. You took the album out of the car. You really had to be there. And, no, there was no parental advisory sticker on the album.)


Then I came across Alice Cooper’s “Billion Dollar Babies.” Not Dad’s. Not mine, either. But whose?

As I neared the bottom of the last stack, having decided to take home albums by Dean Martin, Myron Floren, Frankie Yankovic and his Yanks, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, the Baja Marimba Band, the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Paul Mauriat and his Orchestra, I found the greatest mystery of all.


How did my 82-year-old father come to have AC/DC’s “Back in Black” in the collection in his closet?

I got my answer a couple of weeks later. My youngest brother, the park director in his community, mentioned that Dad had asked him to take the stack of albums and give them to the senior center he oversees.

“Hey,” I said, “do you know what Dad had in his collection? AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black.’”

“Jim!” my sister-in-law shouted at my brother. “I gave that to you when we were 16!”

Busted, my brother smiled weakly and confessed that he never had a turntable in college, so it stayed at home.

So now I have his almost pristine vinyl copy of “Back in Black” and the rest of his modest collection, with his blessing.

(Oh, but then I flip it over, and I see this at the bottom of the back of the jacket: “Manufactured by Columbia House under license.” Can I in good conscience keep this? I’ve long had a rule that I won’t buy any used album that came from a record club. Remember 10 albums for $1? Then buy eight more and you can get out? People used to do that all the time, flipping them to used record stores and making a modest profit. My small protest.)

But I digress. Enjoy anyway.

“Shake A Leg,” AC/DC, from the original vinyl of “Back In Black,” 1980.


Back in the day, buying albums was a sign you’d grown up. My dad didn’t buy 45s. He bought albums. 45s were for kids. I know. I bought 45s until I could afford albums. Then there was no turning back.

In 1970, I was 13, a teenager, just barely. Yet old enough that I should be buying albums.


So I bought my first, probably with birthday money. “The Best of Bill Cosby,” a comedy album released in 1969. Here’s a cut on which Cos almost gets edgy. Listen to this, and you can tell just how Cosby influenced Richard Pryor. All it needs is one “motherfucker,” and it’s Pryor, not Cos.

“The Lone Ranger,” Bill Cosby, from the original vinyl of “The Best of Bill Cosby,” 1969.

Then, in 1971, using the meager profits from my Milwaukee Journal paper route, I started buying music.


First, it was Isaac Hayes’ soundtrack to “Shaft,” from 1971. Then I bought “Tap Root Manuscript” by Neil Diamond, from 1970. That was followed by “Green River” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, from 1969, then “Wild Life” by Wings, from 1971. I think those were my first five. In any case, it’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

At the time, I was in junior high, and I had this odd notion in my head that whatever I brought home had to be acceptable to my parents. “Shaft” raised a few eyebrows until I explained it was mostly a jazz album, which is true. So, from that original vinyl, “Theme From Shaft” and “Walk From Regio’s,” Isaac Hayes, “Shaft” original soundtrack, 1971.

(Always having had the album, I didn’t know until earlier this year that these are the A and B sides of the same 45.)


But that odd notion also is why I never brought home Janis Joplin’s “Pearl.” I liked the music and I thought her pose on the cover was kind of hot, and I really didn’t want to explain that to my parents. It wasn’t long thereafter that we got to a more comfortable place. They didn’t ask much anymore, and I didn’t explain much anymore. Especially not the girl’s panties that came wrapped around Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” album. (Check them out over at Good Rockin’ Tonight.)

Yet to this day, I’ve never owned “Pearl.”


“Hey, man, can I borrow your Mothers album?”

Oh, I should have known better. But I badly wanted to be Star’s pal.

We were sophomores in high school, hanging and partying with the seniors and digging “Fillmore East – June 1971,” the hilarious (but rather sophomoric) live album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

Star was so named because he was the best athlete in our class. He remained the best athlete even after he discovered beer and pot and was more or less forced to give up sports. He always knew where the best parties were. The guys wanted to hang with him and the girls wanted to sleep with him.

So when Star asked whether he could borrow my Mothers album, I said sure. Then I didn’t see it for at least a year, maybe more.

Star was genial enough about it all. “Sure, I’ll get it back to you soon,” he’d say.

When we got down to the last couple of months of our senior year, I gradually but gently turned up the heat on Star, pressing him more often.

“Hey, man, when you gonna return my album?” “You got my album with you today?” “Want me to come over and pick it up?”

One day during our last month of high school, out of the blue, Star stopped me, dropped his backpack from his shoulder and pulled out my Mothers album.


“Here you go, man.”

“Great. Thanks.”


It was my album, but he’d had it so long that it had his initials on it. The jacket also was coming apart, so when I taped it back together, I left those initials – “B.W.” and a simple drawing of a star – as a reminder of its long, strange journey.

The original vinyl contains one cut never released on CD, supposedly because the master tapes were too far gone. For all you Zappa completists, here it is, a guitar freakout.

“Willie the Pimp, Part Two,” Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, from the original vinyl of “Fillmore East — June 1971,” 1971.


Where I live, the hippies are almost gone now. They used to run the best record store. Likewise, the dog, the couch, the incense, the candles and the underground magazines and comics are almost gone. They used to be at that record store, too.

When I was younger, I bought my albums at fairly conventional places.


Prange’s was one of the big department stores in Wisconsin, and they had a pretty good record department, even if they shoved them into out-of-the-way places. When I lived in Sheboygan, the record department was in the basement. When I lived in Wausau, the record department was in an odd corner of the store that either was a half-flight up or a half-flight down from the main floor, depending on where they’d moved the records.

The other place to buy records in Wausau in the early ’70s was Bob’s Musical Isle. There was kind of an odd vibe to BMI. It was an old-line record store, probably the kind that had listening booths back in the day. I didn’t go in there all that often. I didn’t get the feeling Bob was on the same page as any of us.

Case in point: In 1974, I badly wanted, and could not find in Wausau, a somewhat obscure album from a Detroit band getting some regional airplay. Likewise, my pal who went to college in another town could not find a Babe Ruth album he wanted. So we looked for, and eventually found, each other’s albums.


The album I wanted? “Seven,” the seventh album from a still-young Bob Seger.

The song I had to have? “Get Out of Denver,” Bob Seger, from the original vinyl of “Seven,” 1974. It appears to be out of print.

In 1975, the summer I graduated from high school, my pal Jerome told me about a new record store in an old storefront across from the cemetery. Mike, a hippie then and now, had opened Inner Sleeve Records. He had everything, and what he didn’t have, you didn’t need.


When you bought an album, Mike gave you a nice plastic sleeve for your album, to replace the paper sleeve inside. I have hundreds of these inner sleeves. If you were like my pal Meat, you hung out on the couch at the Sleeve and shot the breeze with Mike and listened to tunes for hours.

After that, I sought out only record stores with the same vibe as the Sleeve. When I went away to college in Eau Claire, that store was Truckers Union. When I moved to Green Bay, that store was Freedom Records and Earthly Goods. When I moved to Madison, I hit the mother lode, getting new records from B Side Records and used records from Madcity Music Exchange and Sugar Shack Records.

Of all those cool record stores in all those places I lived, all but two are still in business. One that’s gone is Freedom Records and Earthly Goods. That figures. Gone from Green Bay, where I have lived for the last 17 years.

Gone is the soft whump of the albums falling together as you looked through them.

Gone is the subtle whiff of incense kicked up by the soft whump of those albums.

Give me that soft whump over the harsh clack of a jewel case any day.


Handed the pot and the double album, a million thoughts rushed through my head. None of them had anything to do with Rod Stewart or whoever was on the album.

“I’ve seen pot cleaned like this before, but I’ve never done it. Is she going to see that?”

“Is this some sort of test? Is it a good thing if I know how to do this? Or is she gonna think I’m a lowlife if I know how to do this?”

“Is this really pot? Are you sure it’s not oregano?”

“If it is pot, do we get to smoke any of it?”

I recall there were a lot of stems and seeds in that pot.

I must have done OK with that double album, though.

That girl and I have been together ever since, married for the last 20 years.


Filed under August 2007, Sounds