Bob Seger circa 1969
Listen – Bob Seger System – Innervenus Eyes- MP3
I hope everyone is having a good week.
You’re getting this one a day early because I’m taking the rest of the week off from the blog-o-sphere, so I figured I get all my ducks in a row, as it were.
I’ve gone on about the early, much cooler days of Bob Seger in this space before. If the concept is an unfamiliar one, the brief recap is thus:
Back in the olden days of Dee-troit sounds, Seger, first with the Last Heard, and slightly further on with the System, laid down some very heavy sounds, ranging from pure, fuzzed out garage snot, proto-whiteboy soul (not too far removed from Grand Funk-osity) and all-around good stuff that will flip the wig of anyone who thinks he’s all about ‘Like A Rock’ and other such commercial soundtrackery.
The tune I bring you today might be considered mid-period Seger, coming as it does from the days of the Bob Seger System (right in the middle as it were), before he struck out as a solo.
As I’ve heard it told, by 1969 the world of the regional rock bigshot was starting to leave a heavy imprint on the weary mind of Mr Seger, so much so that he was apparently considering chucking it all and going back to school (bringing to mind the nightmare vision of Bob Seger CPA).
It was during this period that Seger allowed a fellow named Tom Neme to join the band, and – it appears – take a significant amount of control. The second Bob Seger System LP ‘Noah’ features no less than five Neme compositions (a full half of the album). I’ve seen a quote from a 1972 interview where Seger makes it clear that he was on the verge of dropping out of the business, thus ceding a hunk of that album to Neme.
I’ve never been able to score a copy of ‘Noah’, so I can’t speak on the comparative quality of Neme’s songwriting or performance. The record I bring you today makes that something of a moot point, since it features one of Seger’s songs from the album.
‘Innervenus Eyes’ is a pretty hairy ride. Whether this is a direct reflection of the man’s psychological travails, or merely a taste of 1969 freakout is up for debate. I’ve always been a big fan of Seger’s early period vocals. That end of the 60s was positively thick with screamy whiteboy wanna be soul revue frontmen. Seger had enough of an actual voice to stay just this side of extreme, and his singing on cuts like ‘East Side Story’, ‘Heavy Music’ and ‘Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man’ is very cool.
That said, I hope you dig the tune.
Hang tight and I’ll be back on Monday with something groovy.