Review

Returning to independent status, Bob Seger recorded Back in '72, not only the finest of his early-'70s albums but one of the great lost hard rock albums of its era. Seger didn't limit himself to self-penned songs on this excursion; borrowing an idea from Smokin' O.P.'s, he covers quite a few tunes, providing a balance to his own tunes. He makes "Midnight Rider" sound as if it were a Motor City raver instead of a sultry, late-afternoon Southern rocker, while casually tossing off "Rosalie," an irresistible ode to a local DJ that turned into a hard rock anthem when Thin Lizzy decided to record it later in the decade. That's the brilliance of Back in '72 -- there's no separation between the original and cover, it's all united in a celebration of rock & roll. That's why "Turn the Page," perhaps the weariest travelogue ever written, never feels self-pitying -- that's just the facts, according to a first-rate Midwestern band that never got a break. All the same, Back in '72 is a testament to great rock & roll, thanks to Seger's phenomenal songwriting and impassioned playing. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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