Bob Seger and the Last Heard Special Edition: “East Side Story”, “Persecution Smith”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — November 2, 2021

233) Bob Seger and the Last Heard — “East Side Story”

234) Bob Seger and the Last Heard Persecution Smith”

Bob Seger was writing and performing garage rock classics in the mid-sixties? Who knew?! Well, if you lived in Detroit at the time, you knew. And offering a spot-on impersonation of Bruce Springsteen — decades before “Johnny 99” — and a hilarious parody of the other Bob (Dylan)? Who knew?!

Dave Marsh said in Rolling Stone in ‘78 that:

Bob Seger began it rougher than most. He grew up in Ann Arbor[, Michigan]. It was tough enough to be a townie in a college town, but it was far worse if your father went off when you were ten, leaving your mother, you and your brother to tiny apartments, cooking on hot plates.

Wow, I went to law school in Ann Arbor, and I didn’t know!

Then came the music. Cut to Mark Deming in All Music Guide:

[Seger’s mid-sixties singles are] as passionate and powerful a celebration of “the big bad beat” as you could hope for, and Seger’s first step into inarguable greatness. . . . proof that Seger was a major talent as a singer, songwriter, and frontman right from the start, and this is as good as Midwestern rock of the mid-’60s gets.

As to “East Side Story,” Dave Marsh elaborates:

The record cost $1200, cheap even in those days; it sold more than 50,000 copies, almost all of them in Detroit. Cameo-Parkway soon picked it up for national distribution, but couldn’t spread it. . . . . [The] lyric . . . antedated Bruce Springsteen’s fantasies of juvenile street violence by a decade : . . .

Deming says “Persecution Smith” “may be the greatest fake Bob Dylan song (Highway 61 Revisited era) ever committed to wax.” ( Well, yes, unless you consider some of Dylan’s own.

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