Vault 4

A Seger File Special Feature

The Seger File is an unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger. This section of the Seger File last updated October 18, 2005. For the most current updates, click here. Written and Edited by Scott Sparling
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10 more unreleased tracks
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16 more unreleased tracks
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26 more unreleased tracks
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The Vault --31 Unreleased Tracks
Recorded but Unreleased --Unreleased Seger from A-Z
Photos 1Photos 2
Photos 3Photos 4
Hall of Fame Photos
Settle Annex
A collection of great Seger photos
Dylan's "Denver"
The Albums
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Brand New Morning
Smokin' O.P.'s
Back in '72
Beautiful Loser
Live Bullet
Night Moves
Stranger in Town
Against the Wind
Nine Tonight
The Distance
Like A Rock
The Fire Inside
Bob Seger's Greatest Hits
It's A Mystery
Greatest Hits 2
Face the Promise
Other Albums
The Promised Live Album
The Promised Studio Album
Seger on the Edge
The Bob Seger Collection --(Australian Greatest Hits)
Seger Classics
A Very Special Christmas,1987
Other Album Appearances
The Seger Tribute Album
Sing Your Own Seger
Perfect Albums?
Selected Singles
Check the Label
Who Picks the Singles?
Early Singles
The Lonely One
TGIF/First Girl
Ballad of the Yellow Beret
East Side Story
Persecution Smith
Sock It To Me, Santa
Vagrant Winter/Very Few
Heavy Music
2+2=?/Death Row
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Looking Back
If I Were A Carpenter
Bombs Away
Chances Are
My Take on Chances Are
Reaching Number One
Other Seger Tracks
Released on Singles, But Not on Albums
Covered by Others
Written By Seger, Recorded by Others
Night Moves (SNL)
Making Thunderbirds
Old Time Rock and Roll
American Storm
Like a Rock
Real Love
Fire Inside
Night Moves (New)
Turn the Page
It's A Mystery
Chances Are
Ten for Two
The Cobo Hall Tapes
The Palace Tapes
Influences/Other Bands
TV Appearances
Like a Truck
Who Does the Song Belong To?
Ancient History Dept.
How Seger Sees Rock/Truck
Singer or Salesman?
Gatsby, Seger and Victory
The Mystery Man
How the Song Became An Ad
Good Song, Great Ad?
Bad Press, Bad Precedent
Through the Lean Years
Bob's View
Insults and Dead Horses
Fix Or Repair Daily
The Early Years
Early Days
Motor City's Burning
Places He Played
More Dues-Paying Years
Career, Misc.
Lead Singer Vs. Guitar Player
The Slow Road to Success
The Requisites of Greatness
Theories: Why It Took So Long
"You Are Now Leaving Seger Territory"
Breaking Out
What Is Success?
Early Bands
The Decibels
The Town Criers
The Omens
Democracy Rocks
Later Bands
Bob Seger and the Last Heard
The Bob Seger System
Julia/My Band/Borneo Band
Muscle Shoals band
The Silver Bullet Band
Back-up Systems
Shaun Murphy
Karen Newman
Related Bands
Detroit All-Stars
Alto Reed
Blue Highway (Drew Abbott)
Bio, Part 1
Detroit? Ann Arbor?
We Even Sang the Parts the Instruments Were Playing
A Father Leaves
Fire and the Memory of Love
All the Wild, Wild Good Times
Interests and Hobbies
Predicting the Future, Then and Now
Bio, Part 2
On Growing Older
The Seger Work Ethic
You Can't Miss That Driving Rain
Friends and Family
Let's Dig Up Something Really Nasty
I'm Gonna Tell My Tale, C'mon
Of Caves and Barbed Wire
Early Tours and Shows
The Oakland Mall
The Primo, R&R Farm, Suds Factory and Chances Are
The Agora
On the Road
Jackson County Fair
Pontiac, the Michigan Jam and Other Victories
Seger in the Arena
The 1983 Tour
The 1986-87 Tour
The Last Tour?
They'll Never Be in The Arena, But They Get to Write the Reviews
San Francisco
New York
Los Angeles
Vancouver (Canada)
The 1996 Tour
The Set List Discussed
The Set List Presented
The Set List Analyzed
Bringing the Family
Tour Notes
Thirsty for Seger
A Review of the Reviews
Palace of Auburn Hills
The 2006-07 Tour Pages
Readin' O.P.'s
A compilation of e-mail messages. Some favorite are:
-- Hope to see you tonight
-- Motor City Rock
-- The FargoDome
-- The 7-Eleven and the Winter Olympics
-- He gave me a strange look
-- Now that we're older
Brand New Email
More great letters.
-- Seger, Sinatra, Cobain
-- My Dad, Bob and Charlie Martin
-- I work for General Motors
-- Seger and Mohammad Ali
-- The last thing I hear from Bob Seger
-- Road trip to Ann Arbor
-- I never spoke to Bob, but he always spoke to me
Brand New Email Pt. II
-- Bob at the Roseland Inn
-- Seger interview
-- Backstage with a bad pass
-- Put the car in park
-- Starry August nights
-- Cool me down
-- The bridge from Motown
-- The Seger-starved masses plead for tour news
-- The Kiss File?
Seger Stories and Misc. Email
--The best thing you could say
--Blue and Julia  
--Rockin' with Fidel  
--Early days of baseball and Bob
--Follow your heart  
--Waving with the lighter
Email '05
--About Drew Abbott
--On 2+2
--On "The Lonely One"
--About Tom Neme
--About Charlie Martin
--The Toledo Jam
--About Pep Perrine
--About Jim Bruzzese
--Early days
--Early songs
Seger Inks SimTour Deal, Gets Ready to Rock
Capitol Releases "Dee-Pah!
The Seger Cam is back online
The Michigan Jam 2
The Seger versus. SpringsteenComplexo-Meter
The Medicated Top 20
Reese: Money for Music
Get Back to Work
A guide to surfing The Seger File at work.
The Primo Photo
The Rolling Stone Letter
The Imaginary Interview
Why the Seger File Is Here -- Getting Over Bob Seger

 Vault 4

Wreck This Heart
Wait For Me
Don't Ask
Are You
It All Goes On
Let the Rivers Run
Seems Like A Long Time
-- Lyrics Only --
Black Linen, White Lace
Show It
Back In '72
Jet Set Woman
Along the Way


"Time" is a strong blues shuffle. Da DAH da dum. If you've listened to any George Thorogood, you've heard a riff like this. Strong beat, lots of guitar. Seger's vocals are loud and take complete control. From 2004.

Wreck This Heart

You might think "Wreck This Heart" was a sorrowful kind of song. But the music and the vocals are as boisterous and upbeat as anything Seger's done in recent memory. Dark clouds or not, "Wreck This Heart," from 2004, is an arena shaker that Tim McGraw would love to get his hands on. Think "Lock and Load" but uptempo, with a lot more voltage and a lot more fun.

Wait For Me

Think you've heard enough Seger mediums? Think again. "Wait For Me," completed in 2004, is so dead-center perfect that Ears 2 and I instantly fell under its sway. This has got to be the next single. It's infectious, earnest, upbeat, real, full of yearning…all those things that make a great Seger song.

Don't Ask

Soul-searching, quiet and dark. One of those great "it's 3 a.m. and what's it all about" songs. Somber and emotional -- Seger's voice makes it work. Also from 2004

Are You

Clanging guitars, big drums and a sharp-edged beat in another song from 2004. Seger delivers strong, confident vocals in a song about materialism and values.

It All Goes On

This track is piano-driven, uptempo, with lots of forward motion. But there's a dark-edged feel to it, in keeping with the fatalistic theme -- i.e., the way life with all its joy and pain keeps coming at us, no matter what. I even thought there was a reference to Iraq, but I could be wrong. E2 thought you could drop this in the middle of a Broadway show, and he's probably right. The one thing you can't do is get it out of your head after a few listens. Also from 2004.


A slower song about needing someone to make things right. Something in the rhythm of the lyrics reminded me faintly of "Dear Prudence" -- but only faintly. From 2004.

Let the Rivers Run

The perfect last song on an album, or a quiet encore under a single spotlight. Take a look into the darkness from a spot in life slightly past the midpoint, and what you might see is mortality, acceptance and love. Seger's voice is perfect for this powerful ballad. From 2004.


"Adelaide" was recorded in the early 1990s. In this song, Seger once again show us the world of a woman whose life has not worked out as she planned. Imagine Jody Girl well into life, her kids now raised and gone. In the lyrics, Seger offers reassurance. The man left ("he was just a man without a clue") and you raised your kids alone...but look at how strong they are, look at how far you've come. As with "Restless Heart," I hear hints of John Lennon's solo work. Given Seger's history, it's easy to imagine that he might have been writing about his own mother -- although it's certainly a common story in our culture.

On first hearing, I thought the piano in the beginning sounded a bit like "Let It Be." Later I decided it was "Still the Same" at half tempo, whereas E2 went with "We've Got Tonight."

Seems Like A Long Time

Another track from the early 1990s. E2 called this one "a walking song." Indeed, there is an easygoing, taking-a-stroll feel to it. In that sense, it bears some relation to "Satisfied." But lyrically, it's quite different. Seger throws a lot of syllables in every line and at places simply talks instead of sings.

The lyrics wander around a little bit too, in a good way. There are references to searching for truth, and going on your fateful way, but they're delivered with the calm perspective of someone looking back.

One of the lines I admire asks "Who are these wily sycophants, who clap on one and cannot dance?" He pronounces "sycophants" correctly, which few people do, but more than that I love the reference to clapping on one. He means, of course, that they're not clapping on the beat, which in rock and roll is on two and four. But he doesn't explain it, or dumb the lyric down for us, which is a mark of a confidant and great writer.

"Seems Like A Long Time" is easygoing and infectious and sounds completely finished. It definitely should have been released.

The Box of Lyrics

This trip to The Vault revealed a new treat -- a box of handwritten lyrics and sheet music from some very early songs. Not being able to read music, I can't tell you much about the tunes. And there wasn't time to go through them all. But here's a sample of some undiscovered Seger songs.

Black Linen, White Lace

This song is a look back at a long ago wedding. Seger is looking at a wedding photo, perhaps found in an attic. "The picture is faded," but still shows the moment of truth. The title refers to how the husband and wife are dressed: "The glow of love is in her face / he in black linen, she in white lace." You have a sense that problems eventually haunted the marriage -- Seger sings of trouble and ghosts that you can't see in the photo. But at least when the photo was taken, times were good, the love was real. The lyrics were written in 1972.


I was especially interested in "Patient," because Seger has said that he and Punch and the band all thought it was the best melody of all the songs recorded for "Stranger in Town." In the end, he decided that the lyrics to "Still the Same" were better, so "Patience" went to the Vault, while "Still the Same" went to Number 4 on the charts.

I have no idea about the melody, (except that it's in C major in 2/4 time.) As for the lyrics, they didn't strike me as particularly good or bad. At least as reflected on the lyric sheet, they hint at a story without telling us a whole lot. The main thrust seems to be that "I've been trying too hard / researching all the wrong information," when really what he (the singer) needs to do is be patient.

What I'd really love to know about "Patient" is whether Seger re-used the melody in some subsequent song -- or whether it's just sitting in the Vault, waiting to be heard. Recorded in 1976.

Show It

"Show It," from 1971, is another song that's hard to get a handle on from lyrics alone. It looks like it might be about a break-up: "Is there something you need / I do declare, I know it / What is the reason you want to be free? / Why don't you come right out and show it?"


The title suggests a happy-go-lucky song, but the lyrics paint a gloomier picture. The lyrics speak of the waste of empty years. He's on his own, there's a bitter taste and no one cares. I took it for a post-breakup song -- someone who is free but doesn't want to be. Written in 1976.

Back In 72

You know the song. But unless you've seen the lyric sheet, you don't know the lyrics.

As soon as I saw the first line, I kicked myself for hearing it wrong all these years. The line is: "Been out of Northport / hung on her short shorts." I've been in and out of Northport, Michigan myself many times, yet somehow I always heard "Norfolk" and "short show." Maybe that's just me.

Also, on the lyric sheet, it's "crime between the sheets," not "cries between the sheets," though on the record, it's clearly "cries."

As for the killer third verse, here you go:

"Pessimistic, pseudo-intellectual

Avant gardish pearls"

They're taking notes on the Holocaust, not the Holy Court, but surely you knew that. They're copying it down on their sleeves, not "endlessly," which you probably also knew. But "avant gardish pearls" ends a three-decade mystery for me.


This 1971 cut from Brand New Morning also has some hard-to-hear lyrics. On the lyric sheet, Louise has straight hair and bell bottoms and a "delta hypo gun." There's been discussion off an on at as to what a delta hypo gun might be. In the next verse, her boyfriend digs "free on ballons" which surely is just a phonetic way of stretching "freon" over several notes. Unless my words are way off beam, as they are in the final verse.

The big question now is why oh why didn't I scoop down through the pile and see who was climbing that foul screen in "Railroad Days." Next time, for sure.

Jet Set Woman

This song, from the early 1970s, is another favorite of mine, though I've never heard it. But my friend Jesse has. Once Jesse shouted it out between songs at an early show in some Michigan bar. The song was so rarely played that Seger seemed kind of stunned to think that anyone had heard it.

Of course, I still haven't heard it. But from the lyrics I get sort of a "Her Strut" feel. The Jet Set Woman has all the right, moves -- she's the kind of woman you'd walk 100 miles to see. She's got a limousine. And she's flying so high. In other, this is probably the kind of song you have to hear to appreciate.

Along the Way

 A song about why Seger does what he does...not for the roses or the other rewards, sweet as they may be. "I do it for the passion and the thrill along the way." This song was written in 1976, but it reminded me of a lyric from "The Long Way Home," which was released 15 years later: "The best of them lead with their heart."

And that closes up the Vault for 2005. Thanks for coming along.

June 27, 2005 -- Revised 10/18/05

Best of the Vault

This marks the fourth year that Ears 2 and I have ventured into the Vault. For those of you new to the Segerfile, Ears 2 is a longtime Seger fan and a great friend, who has shared his love of music with me for more than 30 years. My iPod is full of tracks from his collection. So whenever I go to the Vault, I invite him along. It's true that Ears 2 is a retired Capital vice president, but more than that I cannot say. On this particular trip, we heard some of Seger's most recent unreleased material.

The trip also inspired us to make a couple lists. First, E2 put together his list of Vault Tracks That Ought to Be Released. That led me to make a suggested track list for Seger's upcoming CD.

E2's list is drawn from all 71 unreleased tracks we've heard over the four years. For my "Face the Promise" list, I drew from the 28 tracks we've heard that were recorded since 1996.

E2's All Time Best of the Vault List
Wait For Me
Wreck This Heart
Love Changes All the Time
It All Goes On
I Knew You When
Kentucky Moonlight
Days When the Rain Would Come
Your Best Friend
Northern Lights
Can't Hit the Corners
My Suggested Track List for "Face the Promise"
(in no particular order)
Wait for Me
Wreck This Heart
It All Goes On
Blue Ridge *
I Knew You When *
Outland *
All Brand New *
The Hard One
Answers In the Question
Face the Promise
Little Jane
Are You

Trying to pick songs for the new CD made me realize what a hard task it is. There are several songs I hate leaving out, including At Sea, Let the Rivers Run, Forward Into the Past and Don't Ask. I wouldn't want to be the one who had to pick.

The four asterisks on my list indicate songs I think might not be released, but should be. They're great songs, but they're from the late '90s, and it wouldn't surprise me if Seger has moved on. We'll find out how close I came on November 8, when the new CD is due to be released.

E2 would probably make a few changes to my list. And I might make a few to his. Generally, E2 knows a great melody when he hears it, whereas I tend to go for the screaming guitar. So you'd see tracks like Hit the Road and Melting Pot and Crossfire and Wildfire on my version of the "All-Vault" list. But that's the fun of having two sets of ears

June 7, 2005

 A guide to previous Vault trips.
Vault 1
Face the Promise
Days When the Rain Would Come
Little Jane
Hit the Road
The Future's Now
Media Whipped
Like A Rock -- (unreleased version, extra verse)
Kentucky Moonlight
Hustled in Nashville
Comin' Home -- (unreleased version, extra lyrics)
Carfax Abbey
You'll Accomp'ny Me -- (unreleased version)
Shinin' Brightly -- (unreleased version)
Long Twin Silver Line -- (unreleased version)
Horizontal Bop -- (unreleased version)
Fire Lake -- (unreleased version)
Wounded Angel
Red Eye to Memphis
Hard Night for Sarah
Elevator Button
White Monkey
Can't Hit the Corners
Snow Today
Star Tonight
Nine Tonight -- (unreleased version)
The Ring -- (unreleased version)
Answer's in the Question
Vault 2
Northern Lights
Love Will Find A Way
Melting Pot
Runaway Train
Cold Dark Night
Let Me Try
Got No Shadow
Hollow Man
Something More
Finding Out
Numbers Game
Lioness Girl
Vault 3
Blue Ridge
The Hard One
The Reckoning
Mr. Bottom
Forward Into the Past
I Knew You When
It's Over
At Sea
You're My Girl
Good Neighbor
Love Changes All The Time
Your Best Friend
Hard to Make It Home
More of You
It Passes For Love
Full Circle
Hard Enough
Maybe In A Minute
Fly Away
All Brand New

A note on copyrights: The reports in this series quote lyrics under the provisions of the Fair Use statutes. To my knowledge, all the songs are copyrighted by Gear Publishing.


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