Monday, September 26, 2022

What to leave in? What to leave out?

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I never really had a lot of cassettes but somehow I owned this one in that format because it came as a holiday gift. I was mostly an album man with a lot of 45s and many of the little yellow discs (because they always snapped). And I never had much more than my original batch of a dozen 8-Tracks. And then mix tapes hit the console and it altered everything along with FM radio and MTV.

But amidst the noise of the Kiss solo albums and Nick Gilder’s “Hot Child In The City,” there were a few Pat Benatar and Styx records early on to keep my rock and roll heart honest.

And I wasn’t really sure what to make of Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band with the pretty horses on the cover, because “Against The Wind” was a gift from a relative who wanted me to have a cassette tape to put in my new home deck with all of the blinking green and red lights.

A digital look in an analog world! Nothing in the world was more beautiful than the movement of those lights to the sounds of FM stereo music on Bank Street with the windows open on a nice night as a kid. This cassette was that companion.

Seger had toured with R.E.O. Speedwagon, so that got my attention and I already loved The Eagles.

I wore this one out – especially the title track. I would rewind it to hear it again and again. The same way I wore out those disco 45s of Andy Gibb and Heatwave a few years earlier.

I still think “Against The Wind” is as good of a song as has ever been written. And I’m a big fan of “You’ll Accomp’ny Me” and “Fire Lake.” I only saw Seger once in his prime, at the Capital Centre back in the #AlmostFamous era. The friend I took to that show died a few years ago, so it always rolls me away a bit.

But, finally, there I was on the road again on a wintry night in Milwaukee 15 months ago and he and his epic catalog was still pure magic. “Night Moves” is such an eternal song. Big kudos to Jason Wright for his accompaniment.

His music has aged so very well for me. This cassette was a gateway to singers and songwriters and words that I sang as I child – but later lived and far better recognized as a man.

Seger told me what was coming about the fire inside.

Deadlines and commitments. There were oh so many roads. Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends.

I’m not sure what I really understood about all that prophecy at 11 years old but as I turn the pages now at almost 52, I was about to learn something about life because of the words in rock and roll songs.

It seems like yesterday. But it was long ago…

And rock and roll never forgets.

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