Friday, July 21, 2017

Teenbeat XXVI -Four wheel drive

Now for one after the twenty-fifth numbered edition of teenbeat, the series that looks at music that in someway is connected to my past we go back to the Great White North home of decent winters and unfailing  politeness.
The establishment internationally of Canadian artists until the late nineteen-sixties was very much a hit and miss affair not least for being a smaller country it was seen as market for American and British talent with the recording industry geared more around the manufacture and marketing of those acts for their bigger UK and US owners until beatle money from the likes of Capitol Canada filtered down and labels had artists and repertoire looking inward at promoting homegrown talent.
Amongst the first were Edward Bear and the Guess Who both of which achieved great sales and respect not just back in North America but around the world. The Guess Who having a huge hit with  American Woman disbanded in early seventies featured Randy Bachman from which after the abortive attempt at making a fresh start as Brave Belt lead on to the formation of Bachman Turner Overdrive who specialized in blues based hard rock.
The outfit comprising at launch of Randy Bachman on lead guitar, Fred Turner on bass, both sharing lead vocal duties coupled with Robbie Bachman on drums with Tim Bachman on guitar and drums all hailed from Winnipeg, Manitoba issuing two albums before Tim Bachman was replaced by Blair Thornton for guitars between nineteen seventy-four through seventy-seven.
It was that line up rather than the later ones that made there impression on me glued as ever as a sickly disabled kid with such  hit 45's as Blue Collar,Let It Ride, Takin' Care of Business, the breakout You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet in seventy-four, Hey You and Take It Like  Man blasting out of the radio when bed bound.
The impression you might get today from oldies radio is they were just about hit hard rock 45's  but actually as someone who does own many of their albums on original vinyl, they did produce coherent musically interesting albums of which probably the best is Not Fragile which sold by the cartload back then too.
Last year the North American specialist re-issue company Caroline issued a box set of eight original albums including the less popular Street Action and Rock and Roll Nights albums of the late nineteen-seventies of which the latter saw British Columbian songwriter Jim Vallance contribute songs of which one Rock And Roll Hell was covered by American metal stars Kiss on their Creatures OF The Night Album in nineteen eighty-two.
So there's a reason to have those two albums.
When you open out the box, what you get is the booklet which gives a short history of the band and those eight original albums in cd form freshly remastered by Andy Pierce in the UK.
There's no truth in the rumour here Catgirl Enterprises LLC photography dept was going for the ISO 1600 retro effect on that shot (lol)!
The booklet includes full colour photography including live shots of the band many of which were used originally for those albums that were issued in gatefold sleeves. Note too how the bands logo features the Maple Leaf.

Unlike some UK reissues in recent years, each album is issued as a separate compact disc reproducing its original front and rear lp album art shown going left to right from seventy-nine's Rock and Roll Nights to the album that started it all, Bachman Turner Overdrive from seventy-three.
Unfortunately as with a number of these sets they have dispensed with an inner sleeve so you need to carefully prise open the edge to get the disc out to avoid marking it which is a pity given the print quality is respectable.
The last two albums are otherwise unable new and very expensive used in cd form and the others were until several years ago where between England's BGO and Lemon/Rock Candy  records the first six were too.
Personally I prefer the feel of this set which plays a big part in the whole tactile memories of handling the albums and forty-fives I had while the material is amongst some of the fines blues hard rock ever recorded with fine musicianship.
For around GBP £30 I feel this is a great introduction to a very interesting band and probably serves people better than 1993's out of print Anthology two cd set on Mercury/Universal Music.

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