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Fricke’s Picks: Bob Seger’s Detroit Rock City

Bob Seger’s first official crawl through his vaults, Early Seger Vol. 1 (Hideout), is both a blessing and frustration. The second bit first: The album has only 10 tracks, a seemingly random mix of out-of-print orphans and never-issued songs. And none of them are that early. Seger skips over his entire late-Sixties run, on 45 and LP, of Michigan-garage might and metallic psychedelia. Here’s the blessing: Several early-Seventies nuggets — including the Chuck Berry-style blazer “Get Out of Denver,” Seger’s burnt-road-dog growl in the Allman Brothers cover “Midnight Rider” and the brassed-up locomotion of “Long Song Comin'” (with new overdubs) — highlight Seger’s funky-church and Detroit-muscle charge on wilderness-era records such as Back in ’72 (1973) and Seven (1974). As for the previously unreleased numbers, what was Seger thinking when he left the seductive rolling melancholy of “Days When the Rain Would Come” on the shelf back in 1985? At 35 minutes, Early Seger is over way too quick. It is not short on gems.

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