Three Music Discs Rock October
Burbank, California—Fall's the perfect time for a brand new Bob Seger CD. His first album in years deserves a solid B grade for the beer and bratwurst bunch, who appreciate the gray-haired Motor City rocker, seen revving his hog on the cover. His latest Capitol Records release, Face the Promise, contains 12 road-ready tunes, including an irresistible title track, the pick of the litter.

Seger wrote every song except "Real Mean Bottle," which was penned by Vince Gill and Kid Rock, who sings with Seger on the cut. The best efforts, including "No More," and a duet with Patty Loveless, "The Answer's in the Question," are on a level with his previous albums "The Distance" and "The Fire Inside." No stinkers here.

Seger holds on to a story and puts it to straightforward musical arrangements, like he did for Beverly Hills Cop II with his synthesizer single "Shakedown" and the classic 1976 hit "Night Moves." He tapped into loneliness and wrote his haunting ballad "We've Got Tonight" after seeing Robert Redford pick up the coffee shop waitress in The Sting—and, while Face the Promise isn't up there with Against the Wind, it's good to hear him back at work.

Another rocker, the enormously talented Pat Benatar, put out a music video collection on single disc DVD a few years ago that packs 140 minutes of her insistent, smooth-voiced, guitar-edged idealism into the 29-track Pat Benatar: Choice Cuts: The Complete Video Collection. Skip to early Eighties MTV favorite "Love is a Battlefield" to catch the brown-haired Benatar as a teenage street prostitute shimmying and dancing past her greasy pimp in a video which she and her husband, blazing guitarist Neil Giraldo, cannot stand. They talk with derision and humor in a rare audio commentary, with an option to view the pair on a video inset, over certain tracks.

The DVD includes four previously unreleased live numbers, Benatar's favorite, "Somebody's Baby" (not Jackson Browne's Fast Times at Ridgemont High song), in which she's done up like Joni Mitchell, and a tender prayer to the nation following the 9/11 attack, "Christmas in America." Included is Benatar in a top production for her anthem "Invincible," from writers Lawrence Konner's and Mark Rosenthal's (Flicka, Eragon) Corpus Christi, Texas, twist on Joan of Arc, The Legend of Billie Jean.

Hits for which a video was made are here as well as Benatar's seriously underrated ballads and jazz tunes. A movie buff bonus is the bellowing "Shadows of the Night," more cinematic than most of today's movies, with the band depicted in an aerial dogfight against the Nazis featuring Judge Reinhold and Titanic's Bill Paxton as an enemy radio officer.

Mixing rock with movies recalls British vocalist Lulu, whose Best of Lulu: From Crayons to Perfume album features two collaborations with The Prestige's David Bowie, "Watch That Man" and "The Man Who Sold the World." The hits were followed by her theme from the 1974 James Bond picture, The Man with the Golden Gun, with John Barry conducting the orchestra. Lulu's title song from the 1967 classic To Sir, With Love remains one of her best.

In the movie, in which an engineer (Sidney Poitier) takes a job trying to civilize London's most foul-mouthed high school students, Lulu played Barbara, one of the hooligans, also known as Babs. Her song, "To Sir, With Love," which spent five weeks at number one in the U.S.A. during the fall season 40 years ago, marks the story's climax. Its lively flipside, "The Boat That I Row," written by Neil Diamond, and 20 of the Scotland native's most popular singles, is included on this disc.



• Index of Scott Holleran's Columns

• Bob Seger's Official Web Site

• Pat Benatar's Biographical Information from Capitol Records

• Lulu's Official Web Site