Bob Seger – Stranger In Town

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  • An outstanding copy of Seger’s 1978 release with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • One of the few Bob Seger recordings capable of audiophile quality sound – this pressing is big, full and Tubey Magical (for 1978) with plenty of rock and roll energy
  • If you own a radio you know Stranger In Town – more than half of it still gets played on the radio to this day
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…it’s as lively as Night Moves, rocking even harder in some places and being equally as introspective in the acoustic numbers. If it doesn’t feel as revelatory as that record, in many ways it does feel like a stronger set of songs.”

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can be sure we have a nice cover for you.


Stranger In Town and Night Moves are clearly the two Must Own albums for Bob Seger fans, and with sound this good we would count ourselves among those who find his music interesting and compelling. (“Main Street” on Night Moves is one of the best radio-friendly pop songs ever recorded.)

Both these sides had the energy and rock solid weight we were looking for on this Classic Rock Album from 1978. If you own a radio you know Stranger In Town, because more than half the tracks got plenty of airplay, including:

Hollywood Nights
Still The Same
Old Time Rock & Roll
Feel Like A Number

and that monster power ballad, complete with strings (!):

We’ve Got Tonight

All sounding pretty darn good!

What the best sides of Seger’s Classic 1978 Album have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1978
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on Bob Seger’s Albums

Less grit – smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on any Bob Seger album.

A bigger presentation – more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.

More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a pure rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way the engineers wanted it to.

Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.

Good top-end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.

Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.

Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.

Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain’t easy to play ’em either. You’re going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area — VTA, tracking weight, azimuth, and anti-skate — in order to play this album properly. If you’ve got the goods you’re gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart/table/arm and you’re likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.

Classic Rock

Rock, specifically of the Classic variety, is at the heart of our business. Finding quiet, good sounding pressings of these albums is what we devote most of our resources to, and if we can be indulged a self-compliment, it’s what we do better than anyone else in the business.

But is that really saying much? No one else in the record business does it at all. No record sellers that we are aware of make any effort whatsoever to critically evaluate their records. If they do I sure haven’t seen any evidence of it.

And who can blame them? It’s hard to put together the resources necessary to pull it off. There are a substantial number of steps a record must go through before it finds itself for sale, and that means there are ten copies sitting in the backroom for every one that makes it to the site.

If the goal is to move product, this is a very bad way to go about it.

Then again, we don’t care about moving product. We care about offering our customers good sounding records. Those two things have turned out to be very much at odds in our experience. For more on that subject click on the Moving Product tab above.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Hollywood Nights
Still The Same
Old Time Rock & Roll
Till It Shines
Feel Like A Number

Side Two

Ain’t Got No Money
We’ve Got Tonight
Brave Strangers
The Famous Final Scene

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

Night Moves was in the pipeline when Live Bullet hit, and wound up eclipsing the double live set anyway, so Stranger in Town is really the record where Bob Seger started grasping the changes that happened when he became a star. It happened when he was old enough to have already formed his character.

Even as celebrity creeps in, as on “Hollywood Nights,” Seger remains a middle-class, Midwestern rocker, celebrating “Old Time Rock & Roll,” realizing old flames are still the same, and still feeling like a number. Musically, it’s as lively as Night Moves, rocking even harder in some places and being equally as introspective in the acoustic numbers. If it doesn’t feel as revelatory as that record, in many ways it does feel like a stronger set of songs.

Yes, musically, it doesn’t offer any revelations, but it still feels impassioned, both in its performances and songs, and it’s still one of the great rock records of its era.

Moving Product

Why Own a Turntable if You’re Going to Play Mediocrities Like These?

This commentary was posted in 2007 and amended later with the statement that we would no longer be ordering new heavy vinyl titles starting in 2010. By 2011 we had eliminated them completely from our site. If you bought any Heavy Vinyl pressing from us, ever, now is the time to get rid of it and hear what a Hot Stamper can do for your musical enjoyment.

Three of the Top Five sellers this week (8/22/07) at Acoustic Sounds are records we found hard to like: AjaAqualung and Blue. Can you really defend the expense and hassle of analog LP playback with records that sound as mediocre as this Rhino pressing of Blue?

Why own a turntable if you’re going to play records like these? I have boxes of CDs that sound more musically involving and I don’t even bother to play those. Why would I take the time to throw on some 180 gram record that sounds worse than a good CD?

If I ever found myself in the position of having to sell mediocrities like the above in order to make a living, I’d be looking for another line of work. The vast majority of these newly-remastered pressings are just not very good.

We Aren’t Walmart and We Really Don’t Want to Be Walmart

We leave that distinction to our colleagues at Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc and Music Direct (Walmart, Target and Sears perhaps?). They sell anything and everything that some hapless audiophile might wander onto their site and find momentarily attractive, like shiny bits of glass dangling from a tree, glittering as brightly as fool’s gold.

They know their market and they know where the real money is. (Hint: it ain’t records, dear reader, it’s equipment. If you haven’t seen one of their thick full-color catalogs lately, count how many pages of equipment you have to wade through at the front before you get to the “recommended recordings.”)

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