Before burning up the charts with the likes of “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.” “Night Moves,” and “Still the same,” Bob Seger honed his craft in a number of Detroit’s finest rock-and-roll bands. That early period of his life culminated in the formation of Bob Seger & The Last Heard. On September 7, all of the group’s long-unavailable recordings for the Cameo label will be reissued in one CD, vinyl, or digital package from ABKCO. Heavy Music: The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967 reissues all of the records by the Detroit band for the first time since their original release as 45 RPM singles. “Persecution Smith,” the first single from the rare recordings is available to stream and as an Instant Grat download with pre-order.
ABKCO’s press release tells the vivid story of Seger’s early days:
“While serving as keyboard player and occasional singer in Doug Brown & The Omens, Seger met his future manager Edward ‘Punch’ Andrews who co-owned the Hideout Records label. After The Omens split up, Seger formed his own group and while writing for The Underdogs, another band on Hideout, he co-authored their single ‘Get Down On Your Knees.’ After a failed attempt by The Underdogs to record the Seger-penned ‘East Side Story,’ Seger was encouraged to record it himself and it was released by Hideout in June of 1966 under the name Bob Seger. The fantastic single was quickly reissued by Cameo Records just 6 months later, with Bob Seger & The Last Heard on the label, cementing the band’s name.
With the help of former bandmate Doug Brown, the group recorded four more singles for the Cameo label over the course of the next year culminating with ‘Heavy Music’ in July 1967. Launched with a simple but catchy bassline with snaps and claps to get the groove going, ‘Heavy Music’ became a hit locally in Detroit, and the band appeared on the local Detroit TV show Swingin’ Time. The 45 of ‘Heavy Music (Part 1)’ backed with ‘Heavy Music (Part 2)’ charting at #103 in Billboard and #70 in Cashbox.
Stylistically, Bob Seger & The Last Heard went beyond the simple garage rock stomp and stammer formula and spread their wings lyrically and sonically in a few short years. ‘Persecution Smith’ pokes fun at half-hearted revolutionaries in a style reminiscent of “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,’ ‘Sock It To Me Santa’ (released for Christmas, 1966) references James Brown’s ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,’ and ‘Heavy Music (Part 1)’ carries a Spencer Davis Group swagger before ‘heavy’music was even a term in the popular vernacular. ‘East Side Story’ is an urban saga that tells the story of a woman in a tenement apartment begging her man not to head uptown with his knife; placed akin to a tune reminiscent of ‘Gloria’ by Them.”
Heavy Music: The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967 has been produced by ABKCO’s Teri Landi. The set boasts new artwork and new liner notes by Jim Allen, plus original photographs and label art from the Cameo vaults. Robert Vosgien at Capitol Mastering has remastered all tracks in their original mono, and the vinyl edition was pressed in Detroit at Third Man Pressing. You’ll find pre-order links and the track listing for Heavy Music: The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967 just below!
Bob Seger & The Last Heard, Heavy Music: The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967 (ABKCO, 2018) (
- Heavy Music (Part 1) (Cameo C-494-A, 1967)
- East Side Story (Vocal) (Cameo C-438-A, 1966)
- Chain Smokin’* (Cameo C-465-B, 1967)
- Persecution Smith* (Cameo C-465-A, 1967)
- Vagrant Winter# (Cameo C-473-A, 1967)
- Very Few# (Cameo C-473-B, 1967)
- Florida Time (Cameo C-444-B, 1966)
- Sock It To Me Santa (Cameo C-444-A, 1966)
- Heavy Music (Part 2) (Cameo C-494-B, 1967)
- East Side Sound (Instrumental) (Cameo C-438-B, 1966)
Produced & arranged by Bob Seger and Doug Brown except:
*Produced & arranged by Bob Seger
# “A Hideout Production”
Bob Seger – lead vocal, organ, piano guitar
Dan Honaker – bass
Carl Lagassa – guitar
Pep Perrine – drums, percussion
Additional vocals – Doug Brown, David Whitehouse
Personnel on tracks 2 and 10:
Bob Seger – vocal, guitar
Doug Brown – guitar, organ
Dan Honaker – bass
Pep Perrine – bongos
Bob Evans – drums