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.https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/bob-seger-not-a-stranger-anymore-42962/
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.https://www.allmusic.com/album/heavy-music-the-complete-cameo-recordings-1966-1967-mw0003002528
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 : . . .https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/bob-seger-not-a-stranger-anymore-42962/
Deming says “Persecution Smith” “may be the greatest fake Bob Dylan song (Highway 61 Revisited era) ever committed to wax.” (https://www.allmusic.com/album/heavy-music-the-complete-cameo-recordings-1966-1967-mw0003002528) Well, yes, unless you consider some of Dylan’s own.