The Seger File An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger Last updated February 2000 Edited by Scott Sparling firstname.lastname@example.org
Brand New Morning
- October 1971.
- Acoustic, recorded by Seger in his home.
Did not make the Top 200 Billboard album chart.
Seger on Brand New Morning: "...Nobody bought it and as a result it got me out of my initial Capitol deal in the early '70s." Timothy White, 1983, Musician. "The Roads Not Taken."
Zangrilli: "The recordings were intended as demos, but Capitol released it to satisfy Seger's contract. The album sold poorly. Seger has no desire to see it reissued. 'I've got that one buried in my backyard,' he once quipped." Joanne Zangrilli, Goldmine, November 1990.
Hey, it's a quip, okay? He doesn't really have it buried in his backyard. Beside's he's moved since then. Amazing how many times I hear about this "buried" thing.
Seger may not be fond of the material now, but at the time of its release, he played it with spirit, energy and affection. The first time I ever saw Seger, he played one set with the System, one set alone, doing much of the Brand New Morning material, and a third set with Teegarden and Van Winkle. Later, as the System fully disbanded, he would open a show with an acoustic set, and then bring out Teegarden and Van Winkle for the second set. Clearly, these Brand New Morning songs were more than cast-off demos slapped onto an album by Capitol.
Seger: "Everyone has dour periods. The acoustic album was the depths for me. I was alone. My marriage had broken up. I hadn't met my new lady. There was no direction. I felt kind of defeated. But I didn't really have any option. I knew I wanted to play music. I just needed time to figure out how to go about it again." Robert Hilburn, May 22, 1977, Los Angeles Times. "Bob Seger, Rock's Prodigal Son."
The title cut is a clear standout: almost 30 years later, it's energy and optimism are still strong. I never get tired of it.
All of Side Two, to my thinking, is standout material; had some of this been recorded with a band, it could have had commerical appeal, potentially.
And without a doubt, Brand New Morning contains one of Seger's best songs ever: "Railroad Days." In subject matter and form, it is a near-perfect precursor to "Night Moves." Both are a look back at a younger, more innocent time of life. (One looks back on "Days" the other on "Nights.")
"Railroad Days" goes back further into childhood, however. The lyrics touch on playing baseball and "singing songs to the darkness of the night. We even sang the parts the instruments were playing / We were young, and dreams were really quite all right."
Near the end of the song, we shift to present time. The music stops except for a few slow guitar chords. Seger sings: "Yesterday, I heard they shut the trains down." Slowly the song builds back up into its previous rhythm. The format is quite like "Night Moves" but "Railroad Days" is very much its own song. The vocals are chillingl, superb and pure Seger.
Other standout cuts are "Louise" (" she was an outlaw in the year of '71") and "Something Like" ("...something like loving / everything about a woman / all the bad things too / she can't change for you..."). Hopefully these will turn up on a boxed set someday...probably the same day the sea turns to lemonade and world hunger ends.
"Song for Him" is one of the only Seger song I'm aware of with a prominent religious theme. Seger, the self-described "lonely one" sings:I've been lonely
But not lonelier than Him
When I'm lonely, still I know
He'll forgive me, yes it's so.
What's most beautiful about this song is the way Seger absolutely yet sincerely wails these lyrics -- it's head-back, heartfelt, full-on emotion. The vocals tap straight and true into Seger's genius. Thinking about how many people haven't heard this song, I remember how lucky I am.
Editorial comment: There's legion's of people out there who play "You'll Accomp'ny Me" or "We've Got Tonight" at weddings, etc. That's swell, I guess...but it would take a hundred "We've Got Tonight's" to even come close to the emotional power of "Song for Him." What I'm trying to say here is that the material on Brand New Morning has real power...it's geniune and unpolished and there aren't too many hooks, and no drums, no backing vocals...and so of course it didn't ever get played on the radio and never reached much of an audience. But just this morning I turned the volume knob up to 8 and listened to the album again and was blown away...thirty years, practically, after its release. It's that good. Get it, if you can.
It's hard to tell from the jpg below, but Seger has an oar in his hand, and the double-exposure beneath his face shows a rocky shoreline...as if he were in a rowboat in a mountain lake. I have no clue where the photo was taken. The back photo seems to be Seger's home.
Brand New Morning was promoted with an ad reading:
"Bob Seger's last album was called Mongrel.
A lot of people thought it was a bitch.
You'd figure his next album would be a son of a bitch.
Instead, it's a Brand New Morning."
Now that's ad copy!
In the mid-1980s, a copy of Brand New Morning,in good condition on the original label was said to sell for $150 to $175, according to some collectors. Gary Graff, August 28, 1986, Detroit Free Press. "Early albums yield heavy moola now."
In the early 2000s -- given the influence of eBay, the Internet and CD-R's -- I would guess that price has come down quite a bit. More people are probably buying/trading CD-R copies than hunting down original vinyl, these days.
- MongrelMain MenuO.P.'s
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