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Seger, Bob (And The Silver Bullet Band) - 1978 Stranger In Town

ARTIST: Seger, Bob (And The Silver Bullet Band)
ALBUM: Stranger In Town
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: SW-11698
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2001, Capitol, 72435-35232-2


LINEUP: Bob Seger - lead vocals, guitars * Drew Abbott - guitars * Robyn Robbins - keyboards * Alto Reed - horns * Chris Campbell - bass * David Teegarden - drums, percussion

Additional Musicians: Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Pete Carr, Jimmy Johnson - guitar * Bill Payne - organ, synthesizer, piano, keyboards * Doug Riley - piano, keyboards * Barry Beckett - keyboards * David Hood - bass * Roger Hawkins - percussion, drums * Venetta Fields, Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Julia Waters, Luther Waters, Maxine Waters, Oren Waters, Brandye, James Lavell Easley, Stanley Carter, George Jackson - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hollywood Nights * 02 Still The Same * 03 Old Time Rock & Roll * 04 Till It Shines * 05 Feel Like A Number * 06 Ain't Got No Money * 07 We've Got Tonight * 08 Brave Strangers * 09 The Famous Final Scene


Hard to believe this is our first Bob Seger review, especially considering the important and influential role the man has played in American rock music, particularly in the dawning days of the AOR movement. Time to make amends in our lack of coverage beginning with a little background and a review of what is arguably his best album - 1978's 'Stranger In Town'. Born in suburban Detroit and first appearing on acetate with his band The Decibels in 1961; Seger released his first LP eight years later under the moniker The Bob Seger System - 'Ramblin' Gamblin' Man' which provided his first minor hit with the title track. The band was short lived and Bob went solo with a woozy acoustic album 'Brand New Day' but it failed to draw much attention. Despite his previous setbacks, Seger like most artists of the era developed a taste for extensive roadwork, often appearing on the same bills in ballrooms and high school gyms across the hinterlands of Middle America with like-minded born on the prairie upstarts The Amboy Dukes, James Gang, Styx and REO Speedwagon. Fast forward to 1974 and the first Silver Bullet Band album 'Seven' was released, but it was 'Beautiful Loser' appearing a year later that gave Seger a nationwide hit with 'Katmandu'. Following up with 'Live Bullet' which is widely considered one of the greatest live albums of all time and the platinum several times over 'Night Moves', Bob Seger had become a household name in just two short years.

The Songs
'Stranger In Town' like The Eagles 'Hotel California' and the Fleetwood Mac blockbuster 'Rumours' was a right album at the right time and helped define rock music in the '70s. 'Hollywood Nights' touches on the decadence that was el-Lay and what could happen if you weren't careful. A major hit and rightfully so, but it was the albums first single, the piano driven 'Still the same' that hooked me in. You don't find too many top ten singles that feature a piano solo, but here it was in all its pop glory and a song I can still listen to over and over and never tire of. Of course all these years later it's hard not to associate 'Old Time Rock & Roll' with the Tom Cruise scene in 'Risky Business' or better yet Heidi Klum in the more recent, controversial and pleasing to the eye 'Guitar Hero' commercial. Yet, when it comes right down to it despite the song's mass appeal, it's really rather average and typical of so much early Seger if anyone does their homework. Much better is 'Till It Shines' which would have been my choice for a single although the tune did receive extensive airplay on FM play lists no doubt pushed by Don Felder's guest appearance and his beautifully executed guitar solo. 'Feel Like A Number' is a solid rock number as any in the Seger catalog while 'We've Got Tonight' offers up one of the earliest power ballads I can think of, ready made for Bic lighters and swaying shoulder to shoulder at stadium-sized Summer jams and hockey arenas throughout 1978.

In Summary
Seger's 1980 follow-up 'Against the Wind' would shoot straight to number one and win two Grammy's, but sameness began creeping into the Bullet band's music and by 1986's 'Like A Rock' the horns and the basic rock 'n roll sound were dropped in favor of a more '80s synthesized pop style while the title track would become synonymous with Chevy pick-up trucks via a long running ad campaign for the company. Three more studio albums have appeared in the years since although none have come close to the success of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band's golden era of 1975 to 1980.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 02 2010 14:35:44
This was a pretty big album back in the day. Hard to believe I overlooked it. I think Ebay and my credit card might get a bit of a workout this month! shop

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