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Ramblin' Gamblin' Man [Blue Vinyl]
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Bob Seger's first studio album with his band The Bob Seger System, 'Ramblin Gamblin' Man' originally titled 'Tales of Lucy Blue,' released in 1969 and includes the title track with Glenn Frey singing backing vocals and performing acoustic guitar.
Top Customer Reviews
First of all, I like the what Bob Seger named his collective. Throughout rock history, there have been bands, groups, combos, projects, and experiences. He was the first to have a "system". As original as it seems, however, as the music contained here, it is not the far off from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, who I think in many ways was the model for the Bob Seger System. A stripped-down power trio from the previous groups Bob was affiliated with. With strong bass playing by Dan Honaker, and rapid-fire drumming from Pep Perrine. the music is a bit like listening to one of the three albums from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Ironically, the only weak-link was the "okay" lead guitar playing of Bob Seger himself, which came as a surprise to me as I've never known him as a guitar player with the skills he showed on this album--but clearly, no Jimi Hendrix. I think he realized that in later years, and with future bands, he simply took a back seat to the better guitarists that he hired to play lead, while he stuck to playing rhythm.
The LP cover is deceiving in itself, with the figure of a blonde female dressed in blue on the edge of a sheet of ice. It doesn't make sense when the LP is titled "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man", until you read the liner notes from Bob Seger himself, where he explains that the LP was going to be titled "Tales of Lucy Blue" until just prior to release, which would make more sense given the cover. He went on to explain that he changed it to "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" because he decided that "Lucy Blue" is "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man". But methinks the real reason was the Capitol Records, known for doing things the traditional way and wanting to promote the single, made Bob change the title to the "hit" from the album.
The album itself seems to be a patchwork of songs that the System had been working on for the two years prior, "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" and "2 + 2=" being previously released singles that sound slightly more faded than the rest of the songs on the album, like they were recorded in a different studio with far more ancient equipment than than the others.
The album kicks off with aforementioned "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man", a song with lyrics that in a later generation might have been performed in the form of a rap by the likes of Kid Rock or Eminem. But back in the late-60s, was just a slice of textbook-perfect, raw Memphis soul straight out of Stax records, but was instead, performed by a skinny, Jackson Browne looking-white kid from Michigan. Next is "Lucy Blue"--however, not as strong a song befitting a title cut that it was originally going to be, making the switch to "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" a better move, if only the cover made more sense.
The album gets bogged down for the next few songs in some folk and blues mediocrity--which I never thought were Seger's suits (but, hey--we're modeling this album after an album by the Jimi Hendrix experience, and he dabbled in folksiness occasionally), one of which was written and (I think sung, in a distorted voice) by the bass player, Dan Honaker titled "Gone". I thjnk he could have had a career as a singer-songwriter in his own right after the demise of the System, I don't know that he ever did.
Starting with "Track 7", the album really picks up the pace. "White Wall", I think, was Seger's answer to "Purple Haze". With this and the following song, "Black-Eyed Girl", Bob Seger ventures into uncharted Psychedelic territory, almost verging on Heavy Metal--a place Seger would never return to again in his career, but he might have done very well at, with his soulful shouting matching the level of intensity in the music, sounding almost downright scary!
What impressed me the most about this album is that it was self-produced by the band with a little help from their manager, Punch Andrews. Almost unheard of in those days, but even more impressive that they were hip to all the new studio tricks and knew how to do stereo panning and tape loops in all the appropriate places. Dan Honaker's bass comes out a lot sharper than Noel Redding's did on the albums by theJimi Hendrix Experience, but then Dan also had a unique bass guitar sound, anyway--Like Chas Chandler from the Animals, only harder.
I never understood why this CD costs so much to purchase. Perhaps the obscurity of it? But I've seen much more obscure albums priced far less. I still would have paid any price to have it in my collection, being that it is Bob Seger in rare form, hearing him foray into musical styles he would never return to. Like all good bands, the System broke up due to internal strife. Still, they were a very formidable band and it would have been nice to see them continue, as I think this was his best band (or should I say, "system"). I will gladly rate this as my favorite Bob Seger album, and put this in my list of favorite albums of 1969.
songs like tales of lucy blue and black eyed girl have that adventurous shadie bar scene feel and for the lighter side there is train man a pefect ballad.
2+2=? is definetly an anti war song which you clearly hear in his voice as if he is yelling directly to a sgt himself. and finally the last song love needs to be loved is the driving home force for seger you do hear a sudden cut in the track between tempos but it's seger in rare form in his first album.
Heck if this is not enough to get this cd plus the fact bob seger collectors are putting old songs on youtube from albums no longer avalible nothing will.
GRAB IT ALL WHILE YOU CAN HEY IT'S EARLY SEGER YOU CAN'T GO WRONG