Kid Rock: Born Free (Atlantic)

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Kid Rock: Times Like These
Kid Rock: Born Free (Atlantic)

Having always been a fan of Bob Seger in that classic period in the mid Seventies (especially the Stranger in Town album) it was a real pleasure to shove this disc in the car player and crank it up . . . because by halfway through the first track I was thinking this was the great and largely forgotten Bob accidentally put in a Kid Rock cover.

Only to find . . .

Yep, from the raw vocals to the arrangement (that archetypal piano hammering) which identified Bob's Silver Bullet Band on classic blue-collar songs such as Feel Like A Number, this sounded for all the world like Seger at his best.

And dammit if Bob doesn't turn up playing piano on the reflective Collide (which also features Sheryl Crow). Well, they are both Detriot boys and the Kid is acknowledging that city's rock'n'roll lineage -- because here he cuts right back on the rap (although Mary J Blige and TI turn up on the Rod Stewart-like ballad Care) and heads into mainstream Seventies rock territory . . . and it ain't half bad if that is your thing.

Tracks like When It Rains ("we were 17, time was on our side") and Purple Sky ("I just wanna drive till I run out of highway") could have come from Seger or Bon Jovi back in the day, and they deal with the dreams of youth turning slightly sour and becoming more realistic about life.

He's got his working class stadium anthem in God Bless Saturday (again Rockin' Rod comes to mind), the slow tributes to his hometown where you get the lighter out to wave (Flyin' High, the blue-collar Times Like These), the obligatory bluesy track (Rock On) the Southern-styled barroom stomper (Rock Bottom Blues) . . .

Yes Kid Rock here -- produced by Rick Rubin, with assistance from Benmont Tench, David Hildago and others -- sounds like quite a lot of other people (good people though).

So if his rock-rap persona has never quite persuaded you, but you like the references here, then maybe this is the one you should tune in for.

I liked this -- but it just made me go drag out Stranger in Town and wonder why I don't have it on CD for the car.

Still, I've got this, so . . .

Like that? Then try this.

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