Capitol Records is responding to requests from the Detroit rocker's online fan community for reissues of Seger's more obscure works by releasing a newly remastered version of his 1972 release, Smokin' O.P.'s. 2005.
A much requested official CD reissue for an album that was difficult to locate even when it was out on vinyl in 1972, Smokin' O.P.'s
finds Bob Seger covering "other people's" favorites, including a few of his own. Accompanied by a tough three piece band with Skip Van Winkle's churning organ often more prominent than guitar, Seger sizzles through a short but intense 35 minute set of nine tunes. Even when reinterpreting warhorses such as "Bo Diddley," "Turn on Your Lovelight" and "Let it Rock," the band charges through with such a crisp, no-nonsense attack. These versions sound fresh, if not quite new, upon this album's remastered reissue in 2005, 33 years after it was recorded. The feeling is that these tunes were already crowd favorites, so the recording has a live electricity to it, only enhanced by subsequent years of slicker music from Seger. The slow burn rearrangement of the once folksy "If I Were a Carpenter" captures the singer at his most vibrant, mixing sensitivity with leathery, roiling rock that explodes into a throbbing crescendo, all in about 3 ½ minutes. The mood only eases up for Leon Russell's "Hummin' Bird" and Seger's one new composition "Someday," a "Turn the Page" styled piano ballad with strings. It is "Heavy Music" in the best sense. The album remains a potent example of Bob Seger at his most raw, when he was young and hungry and sounded it. --Hal Horowitz