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"Eagles-itis"? I don't care--Against The Wind is still grea
Ken | Olathe, KS, U.S.A. | 12/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My brother-in-law likes Bob Seger, and after Against The Wind came out in '80, I bought the LP as a gift for him. Later on, I started listening to the record myself and liking it. One reviewer I read said that Bob, after releasing his funky, upbeat hits "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man", "Night Moves", "Hollywood Nights", and "Old Time Rock And Roll", caught a case of "Eagles-itis" when he made this record. That comment is not surprising. Seger and Eagle Glenn Frey are good buddies who both grew up in the Detroit area; Bob co-wrote the Eagles' #1 pop hit "Heartache Tonight", on which Glenn sang lead; Glenn played lead guitar on Seger's song "Till It Shines"; and Glenn, along with fellow Eagles Don Henley and Timothy Schmit, sings backup vocals on "Fire Lake", this album's initial hit single. Indeed, Seger aimed for a more mellow, early-'70s Eagles-style sound on Against The Wind. Still, this album is a winner.
This record's title track was a Top Five pop hit. Seger laments his loss of youthful innocence--he's a workaholic with "deadlines and commitments" who's "running against the wind". The aforementioned "Fire Lake" is about trying to recapture that youthful, carefree feeling("Bronze beauties lyin' in the sun/With their long soft hair falling/Flying as they run"). "Good For Me" and "Shinin' Brightly" are great romantic ballads, and "You'll Accomp'ny Me" is the guy's determined plea for a lasting relationship with his prospective new lover. He'll "risk it all" to get what he wants. The mournful "No Man's Land" has some of the most powerful lyrics on the record: "[We'll] shiver in the darkest night/Afraid to take a stand/And then go back and do our time/Out there in no man's land." Bob plays some solid lead guitar at the end of this tune.
On his rockers, Seger gets three out of four right. "Horizontal Bop" and "Her Strut" are high-energy tunes that, like "No Man's Land", feature Bob playing a great lead guitar, and Alto Reed plays an awesome saxophone on "Horizontal Bop". "Long Twin Silver Line" features the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and has some solid musicianship by Barry Beckett on piano and Pete Carr on lead guitar. On the other hand, "Betty Lou's Gettin' Out Tonight", although it's an infectious and well-done party tune, is almost a carbon copy of one of Bob's earlier songs, "Get Out Of Denver". The chord progressions and lead guitar parts on the two songs sound nearly identical. The only thing missing from "Get Out Of Denver" is Alto Reed's sax. Still, I really like Against The Wind. In his late '70s and early '80s heyday, Bob Seger put out great music. "Eagles-itis" on Against The Wind? No. Just solid, well-done music from a classic rocker.