I always have time for a little bit of Bob Seger. “Old Time Rock N Roll” was the song that got his name into my consciousness. “Turn The Page” was another, but I heard the Metallica version first. Actually, that whole “Garage Inc.” album from Metallica, got me excited to check out bands that I wasn’t sure I should check out.
So “Night Moves” is album number 9. For a person who lived on the road, the cover is perfect, with his image and the spotlight in the background.
At the age of 30, Seger did good live business in middle America, but couldn’t break through nationally.
Then he dropped the “Night Moves” album, a road trip of nostalgia and a soundtrack for many growing up in the 70’s. I didn’t hear this album until the 90’s. Such a long time after its release but if I heard this in the 80’s I wouldn’t have liked it, as I was head over heels in love with hard rock and heavy metal.
“Rock and Roll Never Forgets”
It’s a 12 bar blues romp.
The catchcry of “come back baby, rock and roll never forgets” is truth. As fans of the music and its lifestyle, we can dabble our tastes in other styles but we always come back to our rock and roll roots like we never left.
“Oh the bands still playing it loud and lean / Listen to the guitar player making it scream”
When I was doing some reading on Bob Seger, a lot of reviews when the album came out, kept mentioning how his songs sound like other songs that came before. And I’m thinking, perfect, that’s just the way I like it.
“I used her, she used me / But neither one cared / We were gettin’ our share / Workin’ on our night moves”
The strummed acoustic guitar kicks it off, but it’s Seger’s phrasing and vocal delivery, almost “American Pie” like.
The narrative of the secret getaways of teenage lovers takes its cues from Van Morrison and his “Brown Eyed Girl” and the movie “American Graffiti”. Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland” from “Born To Run” can also be heard, a coincidence or a fact that both artists have the same influences.
“The Fire Down Below”
It feels like a song from The Eagles “Hotel California” album which came a few years after. Reading comments on the YouTube video of the song, led me to a 60’s R&B singer called Johnny Taylor, and his songs “Who’s Makin’ Love” and “Take Care of Your Homework”. And one comment even mentioned that the Silver Bullet Band is tight in the “Brown Sugar” style of the Rolling Stones.
All I can say is, take what has come before and make it better.
“Sunburst” has inspirations from the Beatles “Dear Prudence” and Rod Stewart’s “Handbags And Gladrags”.
Stick around for the change at the 2.10 minute mark when it gets a bit metal like.
“Gaze on the sunburst / His weapon at his side / He flashes it with pride / Before his legions”
What’s this. Lyrics about the wood finish on a guitar. Before the term “Guitar Hero” even existed.
Another 12 bar blues romp, that he would really nail with “Old Time Rock’N’Roll”.
“She packed up her bags and she took off down the road / Left me here stranded with the bills she owed / She gave me a false address / Took off with my American Express”
Story telling at its best about a lover who did a number on him as she charged up a fortune on his credit card.
It could be about any town in any part of the world, as we all have the same main streets and a story or two of someone who tried to make it out.
The guitar melodies and leads on this one are excellent.
“And sometimes even now, when I’m feeling lonely and beat / I drift back in time and I find my feet / Down on Mainstreet”
That’s right, you can never escape your hometown. You know every corner, every crack on the road, every curb and every smell. It’s in your DNA.
“Come to Poppa”
It smoulders along with its “Cocaine” groove.
“If you need a pacifier / Call me anytime”
This is more crude than any lyric that the PMRC found offensive in a decades time for their “Filthy 15” list.
“Suck on that”, I say.
“Ship of Fools”
The Eagles influence is present again with “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It Easy” combining to become “Ship Of Fools”.
It’s a cover and it sounds like Seals and Crofts “Your Mama Don’t Dance” or “Jailhouse Rock” or “Smokin In The Boys Room”.
You know the riff I’m talking about.
In the U.S, six million copies were shipped, for a 6× Platinum certification. And “Night Moves” is the anchor to Seger’s most successful period which includes “Stranger In Town” in 1978 and “Against the Wind” in 1980.
How many artists can say that their ninth album broke em him to the masses?