Bob Seger System

Capitol, 1969

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If Bob Seger had his way, I wouldn’t be saying anything about Noah, the second release from the Bob Seger System. Not only has he disavowed this particular album, it’s one of the few that has never been released on CD or any streaming service.

Maybe it’s because Capitol Records allegedly tried foisting Tom Neme as the new “de facto” leader of the band. Maybe it’s because of the overall content. Seeing that Bob’s not returning my phone calls these days, we’ll probably never know, and unless you’re willing to pick this up on a bootleg CD or shell out around $100 for a used copy on vinyl or cassette, you’ll probably never see this officially re-released until Seger no longer inhabits the planet.

In certain ways, that’s a shame. Noah is no masterpiece by any means, but it also isn’t completely wretched.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I’m not going to lie… I didn’t want to like the title track that opens the disc. It’s definitely not the best work that Seger ever did in his career. But… it’s so damned catchy that you can’t help but find yourself with the basic rhythm locked into your head for a few hours after you listen to it. (Obviously, someone felt the same way, as this was released as a single when the album came out.)

In fact, the first four tracks on Noah suggest significant improvement over their previous release Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man, even if it’s not quite as catchy. The double decker of “Lonely Man” and “Loneliness Is A Feeling” shows the growth that the band went through over the course of a few short months. Perhaps, Seger was mistaken about his hatred of this disc?

Ah… but then, there’s “Cat”—a track where one has to wonder just how much dope was smoked before recording it and deciding that it was a great idea to include it on the album. Six minutes of this atonal bullshit is six minutes too long. If you do decide to search it out, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The second half of Noah tries to regain the equilibrium that the bulk of the first half established, with limited success. Tracks like “Follow The Children” and “Paint Them A Picture” aren’t terrible efforts, but they’re also not quite as strong. In fact, I can’t say that any of the five tracks that close the album are bad… but they also don’t make me excited about the album as a whole.

So, where does that leave Noah? At best, it’s an uneven but slight improvement on their first album, though the production work (at least on the files I was able to gleam) is extremely varied (which is not a good thing). At worst, it’s a failed experiment that tried to push Seger out of the spotlight and into a sideman role. (Apparently, it nearly worked, as Seger considered quitting the music business after this album.)

Is it worth searching out? If you can locate a copy just to listen to it, with the major exception of “Cat,” it’s worth spending 30 minutes. But, in terms of making this a permanent part of your collection, this one has to be for the diehard fans only (notwithstanding the sky-high prices this one commands).

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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