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Before there was Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band, there was a pre-fame band called The Last Heard. As Bob Seger ramped up to the release of his break-through first single, “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”, his focus was, even then, great music for everyone. With The Last Heard, Bob Seger has a recorded set of singles for the Cameo label. Abkco Records has opted to release a collected set of these singles as Heavy Music: The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967.
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 (Part2)” 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.
Bob Seger, lead vocal, organ, piano guitar
Dan Honaker, bass
Carl Lagassa, guitar
Pep Perrine, drums, percussion
Doug Brown, additional vocals
David Whitehouse, additional vocals
Personnel on tracks 2 and 10:
Bob Seger, vocal, guitar
Doug Brown, guitar, organ
Dan Honaker, bass
Pep Perrine, bongos
Bob Evans, drums