The Guess Who

Canada's most important export since Joe Flaherty
*special introductory paragraph!
*Shakin' All Over (Canadian version)
*Hey Ho What You Do To Me!
*It's Time
*Wild One
*Born In Canada
*A Wild Pair (with The Staccatos)
*Wheatfield Soul
*Canned Wheat
*Let's Go
*American Woman
*The Way They Were
*Share The Land
*So Long, Bannatyne
*Rockin'
*Live At The Paramount
*Artificial Paradise
*#10
*Road Food
*Flavours
*Shaman's Reflections
*Power In The Music
*Guess Who's Back
*All This For A Song
*Now And Not Then
*Reunion
*The Spirit Lives On: Greatest Hits Live
*Lonely One
*Running Back Thru Canada

The Guess Who existed both before and after Burton Cummings (and you will find examples of pre- and post-Cummings releases reviewed on this page), but nobody cares. For all intensive porpoises, The Guess Who will always be associated in the minds of FM radio listeners with that singin', yellin', cocky, long-haired (and later mustachioed) little Winnipeggian who made classic rock hits like "American Woman," "No Time" and "No Sugar Tonight" sound so darn intense. He had a cool voice. Period. But don't count the group down and out. In a few different variations, the band provided Burton not just with basic instrumentation, but with awesome songwriting skills and ever-interesting playing. From hard rock to country to jazz, bluegrass, blues, psychedelia and anything else they wanted to tackle, The Guess Who made it happen. Not with guns, bitches and crack cocaine, but with good old hard work, creativity and regular powdered cocaine.


Shakin' All Over (Canadian version) - Quality 1965
Rating = 4

The band actually began its career as "Chad Allan And The Expressions," named for the four-eyed geek who led the band. But then a silly record producer man heard one of their early singles, correctly recognized it as a complete Beatles rip-off and sent it to radio stations with the phrase "Guess Who?" on the sleeve. The Expressions tried to keep their old name but nobody wanted to hear it, so "The Guess Who" they became!

This album includes 10 songs and is 23 minutes long. The title track is a killer sleaze-rock cover later made even scuzzier by The Who and The Cows, album-closer "Turn Around and Walk Away" is a sorrowful '60s ballad well worth your sandy dollar, and 1963 single "Shy Guy" is a cute little bouncy ball about a timid fellow. Unfortunately, every other song is a blatant Beatles ripoff with McCartney-stylized vocals, one-note-at-a-time piano and harmonica breaks, and thin George Harrisony guitar solos with shouts of "Waaooow!" before them. The songwriting is as substandard and generic as any Pickwick "Merseybeat" ripoff, and it's difficult to believe that a band this derivative would some day pen such masterworks as "Put On Your High-Heeled Sneakers," "Those Nashville Sneakers Always Get Me Down" and "Don't Give Me No Hand Me Down Shoes."

Which got me to thinking -- what if ALL our favorite Guess Who songs were about shoes? I think their greatest hits track listing would look something like this:

1. "Shoes Come Undun"
2. "No Time Left For Shoes"
3. "No Shoesers Tonight In My Coffee"
4. "Clap For The Shoeman"
5. "These Shoes"
6. "Shoesing"
7. "Shoemerican Shoeman"
8. "Shoe The Land"
13. "Heartbroken Shoe"
14. "Shoe Shoe Shoe Shoe Shoe Shoe Shoe Shoe (Shoe)"
15. "That's Not A Mustache (That's A Shoe)"
16. "Dancin' Shoe"
17. "While You Were Sleeping, I Rammed A Shoe As Hard As I Could Into Your Vagina"
44. "Follow Your Daughter Shoe"
29. "Guns, Guns, Shoe"
26. "I Wear A Shoe On Each Buttock, And One In The Middle To Crap Into"
28. "You Ain't Seen Nuthin' Shoe" (Bachman-Turner Overdrive)
30. "Shoe Tall" (Burton Cummings Solo Project)
32. "When You're Finished Blowing Me, Blow My Shoe"
33. "Proper Shoeger"
35. "Flying On The Ground Is Shoe"
36. "When Friends Fall Shoe"
45. "Randy Bachman's Bacon-Flavored Shoe"
46. "I'm Not Smelling My Shoe; I'm Snorting Cocaine Out Of It"

Yes, comedy's never too far away when you're an asshole!

Add your thoughts?


Hey Ho What You Do To Me! - Quality 1966.
Rating = 7

Do you know and enjoy the work of Mr. Randy Bachman? Perhaps you know his band Bachman-Turner Overdrive and their classic anthems "Takin' Care Of Business" and "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"? Well, Mr. Bachman was the original lead guitarist of The Guess Who and he was one hella killa wickedass playa. Not that you can tell in most of these songs because he's just playing pseudo-British rhythm guitar stuff that sounds like Herman's Hermits or Gerry And The Pacemakers, but then he wrote this friggin' surf song like The Ventures and wow! He's a guitarist of no mean feat! The organ and vocals are pretty loud though, so don't expect to be dazzled all to oblivion and back by the adequate meanderings of our Mister Bachman.

Historians tend to ream this particular era of The Guess Who, proclaiming that they were a third-rate early-60s rock band with no unique style. That may be true, but a lot of these songs are really, REALLY catchy, beating the daylights out of, oh, early Moody Blues let's say for the sake of argument. Granted, they're probably all cover tunes (including the creepy harmonized Beach Boys song "Don't Be Scared" - listen close to hear the mic feedback a bunch of times when they get too loud!), but that's not the point that I'm working to hone in on here. My point is that Chad Allan has an adequate voice, low enough to be croony and enjoyable, if a little crybabyish and cracky during the faster parts. And the songs themselves stick with you like a swarm of killer hornets after you thwak their nest with your arm over and over again. As The Rolling Stones once said, "I know it's only rock and roll, but I like tits."

Add your thoughts?


It's Time - Legend 1966.
Rating = 7

Burton Cummings is now in the band, but the music is pretty much the same as it was before. That's fine though! It just sounds like one of those Pebbles compilations with its exciting mixture of melodic British Invasion rock and roll, pop balladry and harder, heavier Burton Cummings-sung rock. There's dangerously only three covers this time around, but four of the five members contribute really good original tracks (including bassist Jim Kale, with a not half bad `50s-style rocker), and the Cummings-sung stuff sounds much more modern and ready-to-be-big than the pleasant but kind of wussyish Chad Allan-sung stuff. Cummings' voice is lower, see, and sexier like a MAN. Chad Allan was but a wee boy. But Burton Cummings? A MAN.

Or maybe he just gives off that aura by having the action verb "Cumming" in his name. At least NYC's John Cummings had the common sense to change his name to Ramone! The same goes for Jeff "Joey Ramone" Hyman, who was obviously much, much more intelligent than foolish jazz musician Dick Hyman, who must have felt like a real douchebag going through life with that name. Why in Hell would he have chosen to go by "Dick" when "Rich" was a possibility? I bet he took it up the ass during every concert. I know I would!

Add your thoughts?


Wild One - Pickwick 1972.
Rating = 8

A complication! This album has three songs from the first album, one from the second, one from the third and I have no clue where the other four came from, but one of them is "Wild One," later to be covered by Iggy Pop!!!!!!! Only two of these songs are originals (most notable is a Burton Cummings rarity called "If You Don't Want Me" that sounds like Steppenwolf, for crying out loud), but that's fine because the band does a fantastic job with almost all of these tunes. Just don't spend too much dough (bread) money cash on it, because it's really, really short. Side two is like ten minutes long. That's as short as George W. Bush's brain!

Was that biting at all? I don't know much about politics.

Add your thoughts?


Born In Canada - Wand 1969.
Rating = 7

A fompilsbation! This features two songs from the first album, zero from the second album, four from the third album and I have no clue where the other four came from. Super goodnesses include the sugary sweet concoction "We Can't Go On This Way" and the Byrdsy "Baby's Birthday," which really isn't that great a song but it sounds like the Byrds kinda! With a boringer singer.

Okay, enough of this early stuff. It's perfectly enjoyable material, of course, but let's get to the REAL Guess Who shenanigans! With more of a specific sound and all, instead of just copying more popular bands from elsewhere. Let's do it! No more fidgeting in the pissbucket!

If you could, try to make that a nationally recognized catchphrase. Say it all the time and write it on the side of your car: No More Fidgeting In The Pissbucket! You know it beats the hell out of "Whassuuup?" and that stupid Weakest Link crap. Please make me a bumper sticker and hire an aeroplane in every city in America to fly around making smoke letters with that popular catchphrase: No More Fidgeting In The Pissbucket! Use it in school textbooks and in popular hip-hop songs of the day. Also please buy the url http://www.nomorefidgetinginthepissbucket.com and fill it with naked pictures of 12-year-old boys. It will be a national phenom and we will base a video game and moving motion picture upon it, perhaps starring Tom Cruise and Sigourney Weaver as a pair of naked 12-year-old boys. Get me Spielberg on the horn!

Reader Comments

velcrounderground@gmail.com (Jimmy)
Is this the same thing as Sown and Grown in Canada? With the seed packet thing on the cover? If so, a lot of these tunes are pretty hokey, often dumb, but always catchy as hell! Especially Baby's Birthday! You can even tell that they guys themselves probably thought this song was pretty lame (the guitars are way too goofball to be serious), yet I listen to it about three times a day. Maybe it's time to get into Linkin Park.

Add your thoughts?


A Wild Pair (with the Staccatos) - Nimbus 1966 (i think?).
Rating = 5

This is actually a split-album created for Coca-Cola Ltd. in Canada for some reason. The Guess Who (now down to four members!) and some band called The Staccatos each have a side. But don't you be for a second blaming the low grade on Those Rotten Staccatos, loudly exclaiming that your beloved Guess Who's side deserves a 10 while Them Goddamned Staccatos put out a heaping side salad of shit with diarrhea dressing, because it's simply not true. Both sides are equally flawed. I'm not here to review The Staccatos, so I'll just briefly state that they do that basic harmonic mid- to late-60s pop rock sound like The Hollies or The Easybeats -- some of their songs are fast and some are slow -- some are great and some are not. So let's discuss The Guess Who's side. First of all, I hadnt noticed this on It's Time, but Burton REALLY doesn't sound like Burton yet. He sounds like a young guy without an interesting vocal technique. Secondly, the songs are full of horns and strings and delightful things, which also comes as a surprize since there weren't none on the previous records or the following records for the most part! And finally, only one of these five songs is up to the standards that the band would set for themselves with their next album. In fact, the others aren't even up to their old Chad Allan standards. They're just poorly-written hippy pop songs with the occasional acid fuzz guitar. So ignore them and concentrate on Randy Bachman's amazingly gorgeous short ballad "Somewhere Up High." Now THAT is a song. "I Need Your Company"? Come on. That's not a song. That's a canker sore on the audio art form of our beloved spinning orb. "Heygoode Hardy"? Don't call a song "Heygoode Hardy."

That's all I have to say. And I'm Patrick Ku!!!!!

I'm not really Patrick Ku. However, Nikki Sixx was in my office today, which is almost the exact same thing. That man has a lot of tattoos. What's up with that? How is he going to find a real job when he discovers that this "rock and roll" thing isn't going to work out?

Reader Comments

mmchadbourne@webtv.net (Mark Chadbourne)
No sense fidgetting in the pissbucket, but the Staccatos were The 5 Man Electrical Band before the name change. Great reviews.

richard_schneider@sympatico.ca
Just a short thought on The Staccatos. I was raided in Ottawa, Ontario were they came from. We were young and we liked these guys. They were fun on stage and they did make a few good songs. I would rate them as a fair garage band.

Add your thoughts?


Wheatfield Soul - RCA 1969.
Rating = 8

An important thing to point out here at this early stage in our relationship is that The Guess Who's reach often outgrasped their arm. No no no, let me start over and explain. Randy Bachman is a very talented, versatile guitarist and songwriter - I mean, between the jazzy piano/guitar extravaganzas of "A Wednesday In Your Garden" and the hit single "These Eyes," the rockin' shoot-em-up of "When You Touch Me," the burlesque clothes-removal of "We're Coming To Dinner," the British music hall Monkeesisms of "Maple Fudge," the hippyish tabla/sitar Eastern-tinged drones of "Love And A Yellow Rose," the awesome acoustic playing of "Lightfoot," the funk jive of "Friends Of Mine" and the just great, short pop rock guitar tune of "Pink Wine Sparkles In The Glass," I just named every song on the album except a ballad that Burton wrote.

But as I was eventually going to get around to, Randy's tastes and interests run as wide as the deepest river, but if you try too hard - if ANY band tries too hard to make "serious" "artistic" statements when they're better off playing solid rock music, then part of the appeal ends up being the ridiculous, laughable kitsch value of their various failures. By no means were The Guess Who on this or any other of their classic albums "failures," but some of their experiments turned out just awful. In particular, the 10-minute jamthon "Friends Of Mine" is the most atrocious, STUPID Doors ripoff that you're likely to run across this side of "The Celebration Of The Lizard" by The Doors. It begins just fine, with the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" bass line (take that to your grave and cash it, Kurt Cobain!) and a forboding, ascending guitar line, but then the band starts playing bland, weak soul music and Burton goes right into his Jim Morrison impression, making stupid comments about his friends ("Kurt is the walrus! Kurt is the walrus! And the walrus does funny things to the veins in his left arm....") before launching into this uproariously stupid anti-God statement about a condemned man being sent to the gallows ("AND WHERE WAS GOD?????"). It would be the most biting, witty Jim Morrison parody of all time, if only Burton wasn't being serious.

That's the main stinkitude of the album, but there are also plenty of unintentional laughs to be found elsewhere, in the asinine "poetic" lyrics of "Lightfoot" ("He is an artist - painting sixteen masterpieces"), that fucking asshole tabla beat during each chorus of "Love And A Yellow Rose" that sounds like some dick with a bubble machine popping it in your ear every few seconds, and of course the dipsy-doodle "Maple Fudge," which to this ear sounds like it's trying to cash in on the non-success of The Monkees' "Mister Webster" with its tale of pathos and bathos in the workaday world.

Laughs aside, the instrumentation is always topnotch (except during "Friends Of Mine," when they sound like they don't know what they're supposed to be doing), the melodicism is very smart and usually singalongable and, when he's not acting like an idiot, Burton's voice is a wonder of nature, going from low/mid crooning to really cool intense screaming in the blink of a blinkity fellow. New producer Jack Richardson has brought out the drums to make them ROCK harder, and the band itself has really found its style - I don't think I'd call it "Wheatfield Soul," but certainly "Wheatfield Pop/Rock." They sound like a bunch of normal guys from the heartland of America (I don't know much about Canada, but apparently they're from the heartland of Canada), but with a lot more intrinsic musical talent than people from this region normally have (see Bachman/Turner Overdrive).

Reader Comments

llb@lanset.com (Loren Breck)
Come on... they were doing a Beatles/Doors rip-off... that was the BIG thing at the time. I'm sure that some producer (or manager?) told them to get with the mainstream or fail... I think they did a good job...you are still writing about them !!!

ScallywagJazz@aol.com
What is the point of calling lyrics asinine when you obviously don't know what they are? It's 'Sistine masterpieces' as in the chapel in Rome, not 'sixteen'!

four2tn@charter.net (Greg Buckler)
I think you've really missed it when talking about "Friends Of Mine" on this release. While the GW were at this point a mellow pop rock band it was "FOM" that showed their true rocking potential. As for the BC Doors/Morrison rip off...your crazy...yes he was influenced at the time by Jim but he was only paying tribute to him and at the same time showing how talented he was. I saw the GW in concert quite a few times and the first time I saw them was at the Laurel Pop Festival in Maryland. They were there with other brand new unknown artists like Led Zep, Johnny Winters, Sly and The Family Stones, BS$T, Al Kooper, Frank Zappa and the Mothers etc. The GW by far blew everyone else away, and when they did Friends the crowd went wild and for a lot of us, that song drew us in to buy this album and become a true GW fan.

afurlan6056@rogers.com (Angelo Furlan)
>I don't know much about Canada, but apparently they're from the heartland of Canada), but with a lot more intrinsic musical >talent than people from this region normally have (see Bachman/Turner Overdrive).

Well, you're entitled to your opinion of BTO (I thought their earlier stuff was good guitar rock), but Neil Young comes from Winnipeg, too. There may have been other successful musical exports from Winnipeg, but hey, I'm from Toronto, so I'm not really keeping score. Nice site! Glad to see someone paying tribute to my favorite band!

mmonagan@lausd.k12.ca.us (Michael Monagan)
I was at the Laurel Pop Festival and the Guess Who were awful. The song about the 13 steps was pure puke material. Rock at it's self-indulgent worst.

evan@kslx.com
I just read your comments about Friends Of Mine and I "guess" that's where everybody has an opinion.

I first heard this 10-minute epic on a Halloween night years ago.

I do not hear the Jim Morrison connection at all. I agree it IS a tad lengthy, especially when played back-to-back with other great songs by the GW. When I first heard it, I couldn't believe it was the same band who recorded other classic rockers like These Eyes,Clap For The Wolfman, American Woman + Bus Rider. But they were into experimentation, weren't they? And you can't get any more experimental than with Friends Of Mine. Maybe it's because I love zombie movies and horror films and the idea of Burt narrating a scene of a man walking up the 13 steps to meet a giant cloaked figure was great theatre of the mind. Very atmospheric.

It never became a hit. Never got on the radio anywhere, except when I played it during one of my shows at a college radio station in Kentucky. It's one of those long songs that only GW purists who know about.

I get to play lots of Guess Who during my radio show here in Phoenix, AZ, but I've not been able to play FOM yet. Probably never will. Oh well. That's commercial radio for ya'. Any other radio DJ's out there who have similar stories? I'd love to hear from you!

t_trudeau@tru.ca
You were completely right, Mr. Prindle, "Friends of Mine" WOULD be the most cutting Jim Morrison parody of all time if it wasn't serious. It's actually BEYOND parody, it's so ridiculous. If you tried to parody it, you honestly couldn't make it any more laugh-out-loud absurd. And it just gets WORSE and WORSE. You keep thinking its reached its horrific nadir, and then it manages to become even stupider. Man oh man, how did no one point out to them how transcendantly dumb that was?

I like the rest of the album, though.

David.Boeckmann@childrensmn.org
I remember requesting FOM Holloween night by phoning into a roomate who was a student DJ (Ed Black) @ a small Minnesota State College. Ed was cool and played it. This was 1973. I think it's important to remember that a secular analysis of the lyrics merely reveals a theatrical splash in the question of the non-intervention of a supreme being. So, where was god?

smh1026@alltel.net
I had been looking for "Friends Of Mine" for ages..I only remembered the poem, "Flanders Fields", and have been trying to find out the name of this song, and the artists...and finally went though my old albums to get a hint, and even though I didn't remember, even when I saw the cover, I knew "Wheatfield Soul" was it, and I also knew it was the song, "Friends Of Mine." But then, I didn't have a turn table to play it on, so I looked up the lyrics, and remembered all of the reasons why I love this track...if you never lived in the 60's and 70's, you really don't get it, but if you did...like me...then it's totally understandable...

Add your thoughts?


Canned Wheat - RCA 1969.
Rating = 9

A long, low time ago, my Aunt Chris gave me a big ol' slap of old vinyl recordings to enjoy at my leisure. Most of it was miserable garbage like Cat Stevens, The Fifth Dimension and Don McLean (Say! Have I mentioned how much I hate the song "American Pie"? I do! I do!), but there were a couple of winners in there - I think More Of The Monkees was in there, featuring the smash multiplatinum hit single "Your Auntie Grizelda, and I know for a fact that The Doors' Waiting For The Sun was in there too. The final piece of goodness in the "Good Album Triad Amidst A Pile Of Audio Smegma" was this album -- Canned Wheat Packed By The Guess Who. Lord knows that I was already a fan of the band through my father's Share The Land LP, but (a) I certainly didn't know that Randy Bachman was ever in the band, and (b) this album cemented my reputation amongst the ruling class elite as a Guess Who fan and supporter. The overall mood of the record is somber, sad, dark - there are a couple of points of almost semi-light, but even those tunes (or rather, TUNE - "Of A Dropping Pin") sounds tired and achey, more Charley Horse than Charlie Chaplin - YES! Did you see that turn of phrase? Aw I've hit the big leagues now! Look at me, I'm Lester Bangs! I'm gonna go take some speed and listen to some shitty Velvet Underground album!!!!

I'm just kidding. I have nothing against Lester Bangs. Some of his stuff is pretty funny, and nobody should have to die that young. But as I was saying, this album had THREE hit singles, unheard of for a little old Winnepeg band from um Winnepeg. "No Time" was a fuzzy rocker with shouts at the end, "Laughing" was a sad, accessible ballad type thing and "Undun"? Oh sweet "Undun." Featuring the most evil jazz chords (and harmonics!) in rock and roll history, this song even convinced radio programmers to demonstrate what appears to be the very last act of intelligent thought in radio history - they played it even though it was a B-side!!!! Can you imagine? A B-side becoming a hit? Cherish the day!

So yeah, as for embarrassment, it's kept to a minimum here because they don't try to hit any real HIGHS - they just play solid, really strong melodic music of jazzy, rockin' and basic pop ballad types. Can I mention "6 A.M. Or Nearer" by name? I love the guitar playing in that song - especially those high harmonics he hits during the changes - gorgeously bitter sad! But there is one bad idea on the album - that would be the 6-minute drum solo in the middle of "Key." Mind you, "Key" is a nice little song until the drum solo comes in. But then hooee, boy oh boy. I'm not knocking Garry Peterson by any means - I just don't think that the whole idea of a "drum solo" has aged any better than, say, Paul McCartney.

Not that Standing Stone isn't the finest piece of musical ingenuity he's created since "Yesterday." No no, that would be the theme from Spies Like Us.

Reader Comments

steve.robey@mindspring.com
I was at a going-away party for one of my wife's co-workers last night, and it was at some redneck dive in Douglasville, Georgia that was having Karaoke night. Everyone else was doing David Allan Coe and Merle Haggard and crap like that, but I sang "Undun" by the Guess Who (looking at the list, I could have done a bunch of others - Glamour Boy, Bus Rider, No Time, Am.Woman, even Life in the Friggin Bloodstream, you name it... but I decided to keep it low key and somewhat mainstream). I'm still getting over a cold, so my voice wasn't (and isn't) the powerful juice machine it usually is, so Undun was a fairly conservative baritone-range number to do. I love that song too - everybody does once they hear it.

One thing I've never figured out is why "No Time" appears on this album and on the next album as well, and I still can't figure out any difference between the 2 versions except that the American Woman version is edited for airplay?

Trfesok@aol.com (Bob)
Hi, Mark,

You seem to be the only one in the WRC who gives the Guess Who their due (in other words, no one else reviews them). As for me, at one point I got rid of several of my GW LP's, for some stupid reason, but I retained this one. Good thing, because it's certainly still listenable almost 40 years later. Cummings was a great singer (except for his murky vocal on "Old Joe", otherwise a nice tune). Bachman was a solid, underrated songwriter and player. Kale and Peterson at least do their stuff adequately. "Laughing/Undun" is indeed a classic single. As for the rest of the album, it's not as diverse as the last one, to be sure, but it doesn't go as overboard with self-indulgence as a result. With a couple of exceptions, of course. "Key" was a tuneful enough number in its pre-RCA incarnation, although the screwed up Biblical allusions are really annoying. (Burt, if you're going to try and get all mystical on us, at least get your source material straight). But then, rather than try to imitate the Beatles or the Doors like on the last album, they try to do Cream instead with that overlong drum solo. Nice try, Garry, but it's filler all the way. And "Fair Warning" has Burt imitating an old Scotsman, telling his fans not to go into show business. Rather hypocritical, don't you think? At least this little annoyance is over in 2 minutes.

As for the rest, some more highly tuneful numbers from the B-C team. Some rather dated attempts at social commentary ("Old Joe" and "Minstrel Boy") and psychedelia ("Of a Dropping Pin" -- what exactly does he mean by a "diabetic eye"?), which sort of proves the band was more followers than leaders. Still, Cummings does provide some convincing vocals to this stuff, overcoming the lyrical weakness. The drifting vocals and guitars of "6AM or Nearer" also work. As for "No Time", this version is actually the first. The song was totally re-recorded for the next single and album. That version is certainly tighter, but I sort of like Randy's extended guitar solo in the middle of this version.

Overall, it's a pretty solid album. I'd probably pick this one as their best, despite its shortcomings.

P.S. I'd bet your dog has some retriever in him. As the owner of a rather goofy Golden Retriever, myself, this just has to be so!

Add your thoughts?


Let's Go - Maximum 2005
Rating = 7

This new take on the "BBC Sessions" concept puts a comedic spin on the act of performing live on a '60s CBC television series. Bernie Mac (THE BERNIE MAC SHOW) costars as Percy Jones, a wealthy black banker who has an overbearing love for his family. Percy is about to host a lavish party at his sprawling New Jersey home in celebration of his 25-year wedding anniversary to Marilyn (Judith Scott, FLIGHT PLAN). His daughter Theresa (Zoe Saldana, THE TERMINAL) is coming home for the occasion, and she's bringing her new boyfriend, Burton Cummings (vocalist, CANNED WHEAT, WHEATFIELD SOUL). Theresa has neglected to mention that her new beau is white, however, and the formidable Percy is in for a surprise. Though Burton does everything in his power to impress his future father-in-law, including terrific alternate versions of such hits as "No Time" and "These Eyes" as well as lesser-known but great originals like "The Key," "Minstrel Boy" and "When You Touch Me," nothing will make the imposing patriarch change his undermining disposition. Matters are further complicated because the host of the show is former Guess Who leader Chad Allan, and Burton struggles to keep the family from finding out. As unrest spreads, causing tension--and plenty of laughs--in the days leading up to the party, Burton and Theresa face uncertainty in their relationship while Percy and Marilyn suffer difficulties of their own. This CD is full of both hilarious and cringe-worthy moments, including an incredibly tense scene where Burton is goaded into entertaining the family at dinner with truly abominable covers of "Touch Me," "White Room," "Time Of The Season," "Blackbird" and "Hey Jude". The sermonizing tone of the original studio tracks are replaced with an endearing slapstick humor, and while the heartwarming family tale is present, the CD doesn't shy away from the deeper underlying issues, presenting a fresh perspective on prescient cultural foibles.

"This loose, pointless remake of Guess Who's classic early material at least suggests that American racial attitudes towards Canada have relaxed since 1967." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"It's not an unpleasant CD, just a confused, sometimes frustrating one. The Bob Seger cover rocks pretty good though." - Jeff Vice, Deseret News

"The timing of nearly every cover tune is just half a beat off, and that half-beat is a killer." - Stephanie Zacharek, SALON.COM

"Producer Larry Brown over-orchestrates each of the five tracks that would wind up on A Wild Pair, and such heavy-handed helming robs The Guess Who of any element of surprise." - Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News

"In some ways, The Guess Who shows how much we've changed in 35 years. But in the most important ways, it shows how music's barely changed at all. For example, so-called 'jam bands' are still covering hippy shit like 'Along Comes Mary,' the fuckers." - Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

"Mix in a pair of inspired performances by Bernie Mac and Burton Cummings, and you've got a certified crowd-tickler with a lot more substance than the last Partridge family gathering. Not sure why the hell they chose to cover the sluggish Vanilla Fudge remake of 'You Keep Me Hanging On,' but that's dick pepper on the cherry tree as far as I'm concerned." - Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter

CONSENSUS
Despite the chemistry of its stars, The Guess Who's Let's Go, a loose remake of The Guess Who's early material, lacks the political relevance of the original recordings. Plus Burton sings flatter than an 8-year-old girl's tits on most of the cover material. Interestingly, studio tapes reveal that he actually sang most of these tracks while standing on an 8-year-old girl's tits. This explains his nickname "Guy Who Plays Tapes of" Burton "Ernie In His Hotel Room So He Can Get Little Girls Up There To Catch His" Cummings "On Their 8-Year-Old Tits."

Source: RottenTomatoes.com

Add your thoughts?


American Woman - RCA 1970.
Rating = 8

Definitely an attempt to make a cheerier record than the last one. Even when the lyrics are protestical or saddical, the music is usually pretty upbeat, danceable and hoppin', as evidenced by the three hit singles, the fuzzed-out classic rocker "American Woman" (a classic protest song about making sweet love to a woman from America), the 2-part acoustic merger "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" and the fuzzy rocker with shouts at the end "No Time," a song which nobody could ever have imagined would have ever existed before this album came out.

Some of the tunes seem a little underwritten in an attempt to be goodtimey rocky (the instrumental "969," vocal-including "8:15" and ugly stupid blues reprise "Humpty's Blues" are so straightforward and rednecky, you can start to imagine how Randy Bachman could have ended up fronting his crappy next band), but when ol' Rander plays notes and such, he whips some ass like a belt beating a horse with Wesley Willis' insanity. Like "Talisman," which is a gorgeously evocative Renaissance Fair kind of song, aside from the cover-your-eyes-in-shame ULTRASERIOUS lyrics, vocal delivery and (hoo boy) POEM by ol' Burt the Skirt-Chasin' Lert.

Speaking of which, I saw that movie Memento today and it was awesome! So was the popcorn. My Sour Patch Kids were all gooey and stuck together though. As such, I give the film a thumbs up my ass.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
In the last few years a lot of young bands have covered older pop/rock songs and made them much heavier. See Limp Bizkit's cover of George Michael's "Faith", Coal Chamber's cover of Peter Gabriel's "Shock The Monkey", Orgy's cover of that New Order hit, Marilyn Manson's cover of the Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams", Goldfinger's cover of Nena's "99 Luftballons" and now Godhead's cover of the Beatles "Elanor Rigby", among countless others, for example.

In 1999 Lenny Kravitz had a huge hit when he covered the Guess Who's "American Woman", but that's the only cover in recent years that I've heard that was actually less heavy than the original! Lenny took a hard driving, borderline early metal song and slowed it down and funked it up...it's ok, but I think the Guess Who version is much more powerful.

By the way, despite the fact that I'm Canadian, "Runnin' Back Through Saskatoon", "These Eyes", and "American Woman" are the only Guess Who songs I've ever heard!

llb@lanset.com (Loren Breck)
This album was somewhat choppy because Randy Bachman had/was leaving the group... he was becoming a latter day saint (Mormon) and wanted out...

sherrie1@shaw.ca
The Guess Who was performing in the US when the Vietnam War was going on. They were asked to report to a warehouse. On the way they stopped at a gas station & told the attendant & was told hightail it back to Canada becuz if you show up for that meeting you will be drafted into the war. So they went back to Canada & wrote American Woman, not really about a woman but the Statue of Liberty

gemmah@indequip.co.uk
You obviously don't know what you are talking about. Please go offline you moronic fool. You have missed the whole point of the title song

ddickso2@uccs.edu
Actually, you've BOTH missed the point. The song's about dry-humping the Statue of Liberty (while stoned). Christ if you dont know what your talking about dont say anything about it you dick cock sukkerss

Actually, to tell the truth, I've never listened to this album. All I've heard from it are the three hit singles--which, oddly enough, are the only Guess Who songs I've heard on the radio. But I do enjoy that "No Sugar Tonight" ditty. I would actually buy one of the group's albums if AMG gave any of their albums higher than a three and a half star rating--basically in the rock bottom pits by classic rock band standards. Even BAD COMPANY got a four and a half star rating for Chrissakes.

Also, Burton Cummings has a wondrous mustache. He should sell it as real estate and make a mint.

bond_441@yahoo.com
Interesting sight !!

I have an actual recording of Burton Cummings talking to a music critic in the late '70's...the critic asked him how American Women came about (as I'm sure you know all the members share author/writer/composer of it-I believe it's the only one they share jointly writing of a song...anyway) he says on the recording..."we were on a last leg of our tour (1969) and exhausted...I was talking to someone back stage (Burton doesn't say where)..the band was warming up on stage-bass, drums messing around and Randy was messing around on his guitar(what eventually became the opening riff for American Women)...I thought to myself this sound really cool...I strolled on stage and thought of all the Women in America wearing to much make up and the Canadian women don't wear as much...the words just poured out as I was thinking/singing American Women stay away"....Burton goes on in the interview saying that the song has NOTHING to do with the statue of liberty...that was a rumor that started...

Add your thoughts?


The Way They Were - RCA 1976.
Rating = 8

In 1970, Randy Bachman left The Guess Who because they were a bunch of drunken drug addicts and he was a Mormon. But before he left, they recorded seven more songs with Mr. Jack Richardson - seven songs that never saw the light of day until this 1976 release. The stuff isn't bad at all! Not quite as progressive and well-thought-out as the official released material (though "Species Hawk" and "Miss Frizzy" are among the catchiest rockers they've ever done), this is still a nice little collection of blues, rock, pop, jazz, acoustic folk and no bagpipe. Which is really unfortunate, because the bagpipe is by far the most useful, interesting instrument ever created. There are just so many things you can do with it. No two bagpipe songs sound the same nor ever will. Let this be a lesson to you - the next time somebody tries to convince you that Radiohead aren't a mediocre Pink Floyd ripoff, ask them if Radiohead ever uses a bagpipe. If the answer is no, then you have won the argument and can thwak the other guy in the knuckles with your pencil.

Isn't it funny how I can bash Radiohead while recommending The Guess Who? It's almost like I have no musical taste whatsoever!

Add your thoughts?


* Share The Land - RCA 1970. *
Rating = 10

A man is more than the sum of his parts. His parts are important though, and should always be examined like a fish under a microscope. A big fish-appropriate microscope. Why am I the way I am? What was it about my youth that caused my OCD? Well, nothing apparently because my fucking dad has it too, and his fucking father had it too. I certainly appreciate that he didn't pass me a baldness gene, but I could do without worrying all the time and wearing my shirts in a certain order. Having said that, my father gave me many other important things in REAL LIFE that affected who I became. By making me feel like absolute shit when I did poorly at baseball (an expression of his chemical imbalance, though neither of us knew it at the time), he made me wimpier and less self-assured than I might have otherwise turned out being. And, on the positive side, he made music a huge part of my life from day one. Because it was important to him. He immediately gave me access to a huge collection of awesome old rock LPs and 45s, most of which I still own. Some of them took a while to grow on me (Led Zeppelin II and The Moody Blues' Seventh Sojourn, for example, which I never really "got" until like the 7th grade), but others took hold immediately. I can remember which ones too - I was instantly knocked out, even at age five, by The Who's Tommy, The Beach Boys' Concert, The Kinks' Greatest Hits, Paul Revere & The Raiders' The Spirit Of `67, The Rolling Stones' Hot Rocks, The Beatles' Revolver, The Beau Brummels' '66, the first two Byrds albums, The Moody Blues' To Our Children's Children's Children, The Turtles' Greatest Hits, a couple of early Grass Roots albums, the first Bloodrock album - and The Guess Who's Share The Land.

If you look throughout my site, you will see rave reviews of many of the albums and artists I just listed. This may be because they were among the first music I ever loved and thus I have a major nostalgia thing going on. HOWEVER, I'm not sure that this stands, simply because even having passed through phases of punk, hard rock, hardcore, grunge, thrash and weird noise, I never lost the taste for these records. They ALWAYS sound good to me. I have every other Paul Revere & The Raiders album now and none of them hold a candle to The Spirit Of `67 -- likewise, no other Guess Who album is as consistently exciting, catchy, interestingly composed and played, or diverse as this one. Laughable? Sure, if you compare them to today's modern recording techniques (the whole "screaming hippie jibberish during the fade of every song" thing hasn't aged all that well, I imagine). But if you compare it to other stuff of the period (Grand Funk, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple), this stuff is OODLES more layered, intriguing, smart and fun to listen to. Every song is fantastic. The high-speed anti-straight-life boogie rocker "Bus Rider," the haunting ballad "Do You Miss Me Darlin'" with its tearjerker chorus and pretty piano plinkles at the end, the classic bitch-and-moan hit "Hand Me Down World," the cool jazzy piano-driven "Moan For You Joe," the most melodic hippy song ever composed "Share The Land," hard rocking (and arguably stupid-as-shit, what with the disgusting Carcass-esque poem at the end) "Hang On To Your Life," the bluegrass/blues hybrid "Coming Down Off The Money Bag/Song Of The Dog," and finally the 9-minute epic "Three More Days," which features KILLER guitar work, an awesome bitter vocal delivery and no drum solo!

I would never knock Randy Bachman, aside from his fucking miserable shit band Bachman/Turner Overdrive, but Burton replaced him with two excellent player/composers here (they needed two guitarists to replace Randy because he was so fucking fat, the fat fuck); Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw contribute fantastic tunes to the band's oeuvre - apparently stolen from their previous bands! Yahoo! It's like Keith Morris's work ethic ten years early! But no seriously - the mood switches often between different styles of mellow and rockin', so be prepared for a wide variety of musical styles smacking you in the ear (and willie), all tied down to GuessWhoitude by Burton's dramatic, self-obsessed vocals (and knockers). Do buy it please. And listen to it with the ear of a five-year-old child. Rip one off of some little shit's head if you have to.

Reader Comments

llb@lanset.com (Loren Breck)
The BIG hit was "Hand me down world" and the lesser hit was "Share the land"....I believe Burton Cummings was attempting to lead the band at this time, and was trying to be commercial and underground at the same time... sometimes the record sounds sophomoric..

schwartf@wellsfargo.com
One of my all-time favorites, too!! The title track is one of the best and most underappreciated hippie anthems ever (as such sounds as dated as any of 'em here now in the George W. Bush Error--I mean, Era, no-I think I was right the first time). "Bus Rider" not only rocks, since three hours of every workday is spent commuting, it's one of my theme songs. Then there's "Coming Down Off The Money Bag/Song Of The Dog" which is part of my highly fictional rock bands repertoire. Country/bluegrass, rock, blues and heavy metal all in one four-minute package!! I'll never get tired of this album.

bri.hyndman@sympatico.ca
After Bachman left, the status of GW was essentially reduced to being a backup band for Cummings. So one could arguably (as I do) label this as Burton Cumming's first solo album.

If you liked this LP , there's a whole whack of (offically labelled) Burton Cummings solo product for you to explore - a definitively mixed portfolio but not without its pearls cast amongst the swine.

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Nice!! Just got this album last week on your suggestion (along with 2 other Guess Who albums, all on vinyl...mmmm....vinyl....), and I'm so damn pleased with how this band sounds that I could just shit myself all day long. That brings my total up to 4 Guess Who albums, and I'm not stopping. Burton Cummings is a much better role model for me than Jack Bruce. Sorry Jack, but I've got a new boss now. You've got that Rainbow Feel, but the rainbow has a beard.

THOMAS.GRAHAM@ey.com
I bought The Guess Who's Share the Land based on your recommendation. You can send me a money order for the cost of the album at your leisure. Just kidding; it's good. Who knew Canada had so much to offer. Speaking of The Guess Who, a friend told me Lenny Kravitz's is the superior version of American Woman. Then again, this is a guy who has a picture of himself standing with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson hanging on his fridge.

Anyway, to my point: Please review the many mumbles of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Ray Valentine I hear all the bald and mustachioed kids talking about these days. I need your golden [showered] ears and discerning typing abilities to tell me which album of his deserves my hard-earned piracy. Thanks.

aazon@txstate.edu
Almost entirely out of your recommendation, I gave the Guess Who another chance. I'd bought a 'greatest hits' about 7 or so years ago that wasn't bad, per se, but it had "Clap For the Wolfman" on it. Now, when you get a greatest hits that has a paltry 8 songs on it and one is a stupid (fun, but still not Roger Miller) novelty song, an idea tends to plant itself in the back of your head that said band is capable of only a few good songs. Since the other hits were so sixties-riffic I assumed that they were a decent but dated sixties band. Then I read your page.

It took awhile to let what you had to say about them sink in. But after a couple of years, your reviews and my fondness for their hits made me get Canned Wheat and Share the Land for Christmas. And I must say, both are ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. So many great hooks! Great melodies! Burton Cummings is a tremendous singer and charming (sometimes silly) lyricist! Randy Bachman (and the two guys who replaced them) is/are awesomely inventive songwriters!

Share the Land, I probably like, at this moment, just a little more. It's VERY hard to beat just the first 7 or 8 songs or so. Just Awesome! And really, the last 3 are great too; it's just that there's a break in the super-melodic momentum with that one medley song--which is still good!

In short, thank you so much for writing about the Guess Who! Who knew I'd love 'em so? To me, its the best thing I can say about a record reviewer to say that by writing about an artist or album, you made me want to listen to it and like it! And this isn't the first time. Let me just look for a second:

Okay. This is a partial list, and keep in mind, I've read MUCH more of your reviews and enjoy and ponder them, but these are bands that stick out as ones that I got into (Cows, Devo, Golding Institute, Mudhoney etc.) or checked out certain albums by (Lou Reed, Beach Boys, Black Flag, Damned etc.) based on your recommendation

Decline of Western Civilization, Part 1-watched it on Youtube. Hilarious and sad and triumphant all at the same time!

Bad Brains-I'd just heard about them from my cousin. I checked 'em out under your recommendation and really loved some of it!

Black Flag-Downloaded 'Damaged' from your review. Didn't like it as much as you, but quite a bit anyway

Blitzen Trapper-You recommended them on your Hip New Bands... page. I checked to see if you'd said anything about them after my friend gave me Furr. I recommend all of the rest of their stuff too! It'd be worth reviewing, in my opinion. I really like their last three albums.

Beach Boys-I'd already know about these guys and their hits for sure, but you recommended (along with Starostin) particular albums and help bring me in a bit further. You, in particular, got me into their odd, 'please listen to us!' late sixties-early seventies albums

The Birthday Party/Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-You and Starostin again. I'd heard about them first from both

The Cows-Could anybody else have really gotten me into this? I don't love 'em, but I'm appreciating them more after forming a band that happens to play some hilarious, angry noise

The Damned-From you and my cousin. Got Machine Gun Etiquette (AND LOVED THE SHIT OUT OF IT) from your recommendation

Devo-Acquired most of their albums from my friend, then later added their first three (the ones you thought were really good) onto my ipod recently. First loved 'Jocko Homo,' then decided to listen to Duty Now For the Future and really, really loved it. It has so many awesome and interesting hooks and riffs and hilarious melodies that I wouldn't EVER have thought of!

Fear-a combination of a love for 'SLC Punk' and its soundtrack (including Living in the City), your reviews and the Decline and Fall that led me to like them. Don't have anything yet, but I probably will

Flaming Lips-You and Starostin. You led me to downloading (and liking, but not loving) Clouds Taste Metallic and remembering them fondly to look into later

Goatlord-I downloaded their album solely because of your review (where else, really, would I have read a review for that anyway?) and how hilariously inept you thought they were. As a result, my friends and I had a blast listening (as people in bands who record music and have a taste for the inept and noisy and ridiculous).

Golding Institute-downloaded what I could find. 'Final Relaxation' has been a favorite around here ever since I played it in the care without telling anybody anything about it on the way to a music festival (800 miles away! So we had plenty of time!)

Husker Du-got Zen Arcade because of you. Need to listen to it more. Loved Never Talking to You Again on first listen, though.

Ace Frehley-I have no interest in Kiss, but this getting an 8 amidst the pointlessness of everybody else's solo albums makes me want to hear it

The Left Banke-heard them in my local college record store as well as reading your review

Stephen Malkmus/Pavement-I'm not sure if it was you or my friend that got me into them. I'm still not particularly into them, but I'm listening to a lot of other things right now. I'll get to them. Loved No More Shoes on that one Malkmus album.

Meat Puppets-In conjunction with Nirvana Unplugged makes me want to acquire more. Especially since I love their original version of Lake of Fire!

Minus the Bear-I think my friend already had Menos El Oso, and then I listened to it based on your review or something. I may have just connected the dots from 'me liking it' to 'you liking it as well' and remembering that

Mudhoney-Got Under a Billion Suns because of a Guitar Player magazine thing, thought I liked it, didn't really. Then got their discography from your recommendation, liked it, lost it. Reacquired recently Superfuzz, their self-titled and My Brother the Cow and LOVE it!

Pearl Jam-similar to Beach Boys situation. Already loved a few hits, but I'm planning on checking out their obscure mid-period albums that you recommend. You're definitely the first I've read that appreciates those more than the earlier ones (Rolling Stone doesn't count)

Iggy Pop-In conjunction with Starostin, you got me to get Soldier, Party and American Caesar just to name the ones I loved. I already had and loved The Idiot and Lust For Life

Bruce Springsteen-your kind words (and Starostins, though to a lesser degree since you surprised me much more) have led me to reexamine why I dislike most Bruce. I know why: he's backed up by Dave Letterman's Tonight show band! At least on a lot of E-Street material I've heard. There's a bunch of shit going on, but all you can hear are horns and drums and singing! It's such a lame, flaccid sound. And when I saw Bruce do a 'windmill' on Badlands live (I fucking hate that song), it was, pardon the hipster speak, the most un-cool, least rocking and disgraceful thing I've ever seen. I'm a big Who fan, and I'm not averse to people doing windmills, but that was just INADVISABLE. And he did it a number of times on his entirely unrocking songs. You can't even HEAR his guitar!

The Stooges-I downloaded a number of bootlegs and found/loved 'I Got a Right' from your reviews. Still a big Stooges fan, though that came earlier

Swans-I plan on checking them out

Wire-same deal as Swans

Lou Reed-downloaded his self-titled and really liked it. I plan on getting Magic and Loss and a few others.

Add your thoughts?


So Long, Bannatyne - RCA 1971.
Rating = 8

Welcome to Piano City, population this album! Burton Cummings plays the piano, by the way, in case I forgot to mention that because I was too busy talking about things that have nothing to do with the albums I'm reviewing. And on this album, he plays it like a dicknose - a talented dicknose! The kind of dicknose that blasts piano stylings out like somebody that Billy Joel only wishes he could be. The kind of dicknose that makes the piano melodies sound so fresh and catchy, you don't even notice that the two guitarists were pretty much in the bathroom snorting cocaine the whole time. The sort of dicknose that has helped create an entire album of EXCELLENT piano-driven tunes, ranging from the almost new wavey rock of "Rain Dance" to the McCartneyesque pop balladry of "She Might Have Been A Nice Girl" to the creepy post-psychedelicisms of "Goin' A Little Crazy" to the jazzy melancholy of "Sour Suite" to the driving dark window-smashings of "Grey Day" to the -

Are you getting my point yet? Even forgetting that the piano is the lead instrument on this record, please take note that The Guess Who were a band that did NOT perform the same type of song over and over and over. Their influences were so varied that their albums ended up sounding almost like a compilation of several different Burton Cummings backing bands, trying to impress you in various and sundry ways. Maybe I seem like I'm griping, but you just don't GET this sort of thing with today's popular radio music. You have to go way underground, to like the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, to find bands that combine a large number of influences. Even the ultra-celebrated Beck kind of does the same schtick over and over again, and in a REALLY tiresome, dumb manner as far as I'm concerned. ("Devil's Haircut" = a sample from the great `60s garage song "I Can Only Give You Everything" + an annoying, shitty vocal melody and delivery). Diversity is in the ear of the beholder, of course. I mean, a death metal fan will be able to tell you the differences between five different bands that all use the same completely unreadable logo, but I sure as hell can't. However, when it comes to "basic rock," there's a certain level of intelligence and creativity that I think anybody can tell is really, REALLY missing from popular bands like Blink 182 and Smashmouth. And it sucks that bands like The Guess Who are totally forgotten these days (and I admit that the recording style and attitude DOES totally sound like a different era and world entirely, but still....), because they had the ability, the smarts and the melodic sense to create a ton of awesome, diverse music in a really short period of time. Has Tool done this? Hell, has REM? Maybe REM. But maybe not. They change their style every once in a while, but it's always pretty much a surface change - they play chords instead of arpeggiated notes, they play their slow songs on keyboards instead of guitars, they use distortion, they add in violins, they pump the drums up a little louder - but the songwriting itself still pretty much sounds like a cross between The Byrds and The Velvet Underground, doesn't it?

Again, I don't mean to sound stuck in the past because I sure as hell love AC/DC and The Ramones and they didn't come within a buttmunch of stylistic diversity. I'm just trying to promote The Guess Who as a band that a classic rock fan may want to consider checking out. And not just a greatest hits compilation either. They were much better than that. At least, I think so. And remember - I'm the guy that gave the Pac-Man Fever album a ten out of ten. So I know what I'm talking about.

Reader Comments

steve.robey@mindspring.com
This album is really kinda twisted! Even the "hit" "Rain Dance" seems to have a weird vibe (the dorky chanting of the chorus is just not teenage enough for the kids to dig) to it. And "Goin a Little Crazy" is DEFINITELY a bit unhinged. The chromatic piano riff, the sinister string arrangement, the 7-minute length... and the desperately deranged lyrics -- this song is pretty spooky! "One Man Army"?? That song was written by drunks! In fact, this whole album is drunk. I know because I was drunk when I first heard it, and I read every lyric along with the record. Those boys weren't quite right in the head! Maybe that's why this is my favorite Guess Who album (so far).

This band is much stranger than most people give them credit for.

Add your thoughts?


Rockin' - RCA 1972.
Rating = 8

It took me years to finally get into this record - see, it's a "rockin'" album, as in `50s piano jive rockin' goodtime. To the point where they do a cover of "Running Bear" and it sounds like an original composition. However, after years of occasional listening, it finally reached my brain that only about HALF of the songs are in this vein and most of them are actually catchy beyond words. "Arrivederci Girl" and "Back To The City" are bland enough to be among my least favorite Guess Who tunes ever, but the rest do it to it, Smokey! Plus, there are at least couple of serious Guess Who-sounding songs to remind you that you're not listening to Jerry Lee Lewis - "Smoke Big Factory" and "Guns Guns Guns." And this hilarious bit where Burton and some guy drunkenly talk to each other about some nonsense like a couple of Muppets - funny! But crap, when the hit single off your latest album is called "Heartbroken Bopper," you know that your band may very well be composed of old people. It's a good thing these guys are such delightful mathematicians (scratch that word out with a pen on your screen; I meant "melodicians") or this album would totally suck a canoe right off the lake!

I'm pretty sure that there was nothing obscene about that last sentence.

Reader Comments

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Having read your fine reviews of the Guess Who, I decided to keep my eye out for some of their albums, since I'd never heard any and I never thought much of "American Woman" (especially the Lenny Kravitz shit version) - though I always kinda liked "Undun" and "No Time" (though the latter I never knew was by the Guess Who anyway until recently). Anyway, I just came across the album "Rockin'" this past weekend for $2 at a used LP store. I've listened to it twice, and I gotta say, I think I like this band!

Evidently, by the time of this album, The Guess Who were experienced music makers and songwriters (especially Burton Cummings, who really impressed me on this one), and knew how to make a good, consistently interesting album. It's not far-out psychedelia, it's not progressive rock, but it's certainly not fluff either. A great example of basic rock and roll, done in a variety of flavors, with honesty and a respect for its audience. In a strange way, they kind of remind me of Jo Jo Gunne (with Jay Ferguson - an offshoot of Spirit), in that they focus on good-time rock but strive to challenge the listener without resorting to obvious progressive rock methods.

On the second listen, the more "novelty" aspects of this album were made more clear (the 50s fixation particularly), but it hasn't bothered me a bit - just makes me want to hear other albums if they're supposed to be even better. Both "Smoke Big Factory" and "Guns Guns Guns" are extremely well written and performed songs, and "Hi Rockers!" at the end really impressed me too, despite the uninviting-sounding title. It's clear to me that the Guess Who are a band worth my time, so I'll be off to the stores again to seek out more!

Add your thoughts?


Live At The Paramount - RCA 1972.
Rating = 6

Oh Jesus Christ, what has Burton Cummings gone and done now? Greg Leskiw quit! Greg Leskiw of "One Divided" and "Comin' Down Off The Money Bag" fame! And they've replaced him with Donnie McDougall, whose very first contribution to the band sounds like James Taylor "singin' the blues"! And nobody wants to hear that, do they? James Taylor is a sissyish little pissant, isn't he? Am I thinking of the wrong James Taylor here? Aww christ. And NOW what? Well, for starters, there's a 17-minute version of "American Woman," which seems a bit excessive for a song whose verse and chorus feature the exact same three-chord riff. Then there's a new tune called "Truckin' Off Across The Sky" which, as far as I can tell, is the most pro-narcotics song ever written (aside from being a generic blues rocker) and an awful, AWFUL new Burton Cummings bouncy pop rocker called "Albert Flasher."

So what DO you like about this album, Mr. Mark Prindle? Well, regardless of the drum solo and ahh... FLUTE solo, I honestly do get a hoot out of "American Woman" just because I like the song so much and they bother to add in an extra note to give it that funky James Gang feel. Although I'm not sure I like where Burton takes those ad libbed vocals - "American bitch"? "American whore"? "American lesbian"? And the most offensive of all - "AMERICAN NURSE"?!?!?!?!? ALRIGHT YOU FUCKING HOCKEY-EATING BEER-JACKIN DOGFUCKING CANADIAN SELF-MUTILATING BURTON CUMMINGS COCKSUCKER, THE FISTICUFFS ARE OFF YOU PIECE A SHIT!!!! OUR AMERICAN NURSES PUT IN EXTRA-LONG HOURS TO HELP OUT THE SICK AND THE HURT, AND THE LAST THING THEY NEED IS FUCKIN WORTHLESS FOREIGNERS LIKE YOU TRYING TO BRING THEM DOWN, MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU GOT A SPLINTER IN YOUR EYEBALL OR IF I PUNCHED YOUR FUCKIN LIGHTS OUT YOU MUSTACHIOED CANADIAN FREAK AND YOU NEEDED AN AMERICAN NURSE TO TAKE YOUR TEMPERATURE WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN YOU FUCKIN PIECE OF SHIT SUBHUMAN FROM THE NORTH?????

And they do this low-key boogie-woogie bugle boy of company b piano version of "New Mother Nature" that swings like Burton Cummings from my tree, and they do "Pain Train," which is just a great song no matter where you slice me. And finally, there's an excellent new track on here called "Runnin' Back To Saskatoon" which will make you so happy about learning a bit about Canadian geography that you'll be tempted to re-enroll in a local kindergarten just so you can enjoy the American school system all the way through one more time for grits and shins.

In conclusion, if you're only putting seven songs on your live album, try not to make three of them "Glace Bay Blues," "Albert Flasher" and "Truckin' Off Across The Sky." That's my advice to you, you young performers of today who are getting ready to strike it big on Star Search with Ed McMahon as your lead guitarist.

Reader Comments

llb@lanset.com (Loren Breck)
Huh !? Albert Flasher was a hit !!!!... not real big though....

gardner@localline.com (James A. Gardner)
After hearing Burt exhaust his store of adjectives on two versions of "American Woman" (including tossing off the c-word, and it isn't "Canadian"), I can only conclude that some Amercian woman found his charms more resistable than he considered appropriate. Get over it, Burt. I'm sure she has.

drazy@gatecity.com
This album's famous for Burton's banter and is the only reason we're talking about it today: the contrast between the sweet memories of hearing "These Eyes" to Burton screaming about "American whores" is remarkable. True story: A friend of mine who works at a radio station says that recently a co-worker at the station played this album in its entirety. The station received more calls, all positive, than they ever had since they started their "cd spotlight" segment. What are they gonna do when all the roast beef's gone?

byronmoore@hotmail.com
I must tell you that it was the CD release of this album that got me back to where i oughta - namely, corralling Guess Who albums! yes, i recall borrowing the vinyl of this from the Edmonton public library years ago (don't ask) and being intrigued. But when i saw this re-release on CD (do you know about this, mr. mark?) for a measley 10 canadian buckaroos plus 99 cents... and christ on a bike if they didn't add another HALF-DOZEN MORE SONGS FROM THE CONCERT!. Now it happens to be my new fave live album off all time! It just smokes and the only dog on it is These Eyes which sticks out like prerequisite obligatory hits often do in the middle of a stoked show. Kinda reminds me where stuff like Pearl Jam came from; helluvasinger with 2 guitars and dedicated rhythm section, only the 'Jam could never write a song to save their self-important lives, not like our burton buddies. and forget about the yankee nurses, i'm sure burton has apologized with them selfless gals in person many times with mid-70s mustache rides a-plenty. But anyway, do check out the full meal deal on them small shiny modern compact whatsits they got now.

toro_92@yahoo.ca (Ron)
- Runnin' Back To Saskatoon was my absolute favourite song when originally released as a single in Canada (edited version)..it was a revelation, guitars, piano, melody, hard thumping riff, Canadian geography, it didn't get much better than that.

- The new CD version with extra tracks is preferable, since it does the songs in order (leading off with the scintillating Pain Train, man that works!) On some of the resurrected numbers you can hear why they may have gotten left out of the original album, Burton's voice cracks a bit during Share The Land. Right after these Seattle concerts bass player Jim Kale left/was fired by the band. The joke was on The Guess Who, since Kale won the rights to the band's name in a poker game. So every reunion concert sends him a nice set of royalty checks.

- Call it cheesy or whatever, but when I saw the band reunite in 2001, and they went into the "roast beef" extended version of American Woman from this record, the word "orgasmic" somehow didn't seem out of place. One last thing, the funky jazzy couple of minutes when Burton gets out the flute during "Truckin' Off Across The Sky" is indispensable.

- Plus the cover looked really cool to me when I was 12 years old.

spamking@mts.net
Ahh... Albert Flasher. Albert Street is pretty close to where I live, here in the Dirty Peg and the Royal Albert Arms is very near to the intersection of Albert and Bannatyne (for extra Guess Who trivia). DOA has played at the Royal Albert many a time, and every time Joey Shithead mentions the place in his book, it involves some sort of horrible violence. Usually the sort where a broken beer bottle intersects with an eye. What he terms the Winnipeg Handshake. Good book, not so much a band with the extra good songs. I still like "I'm Right, You're Wrong", though.

Anyway, Albert Street is in one of the Scummier Areas (tm) of the city, and is in fact now just down the street from an extra classy establishment called the Gentleman's Club. It is not at all unknown in that area to actually encounter an "Albert Flasher". And probably unknown wasn't way back when, either.

Oh, and Black Flag had their gear ripped off here once. Or so the local legend goes. I'm surprised that Rollins fellow still does the speaking shows here...

Add your thoughts?


Artificial Paradise - RCA 1973.
Rating = 8

Oh Jesus Christ, is Burton kicking everybody in the eye or something? Now Jim Kale is gone too! Replaced by some feller named Bill Wallace. But enough about them. Let's talk about Donnie McDougall. I've now forgiven him for his sketchy band introduction because his two contributions to this LP, "Samantha's Living Room" and "Lost And Found Town" feature more melancholy melody than six Pink Floyd albums, three Moody Blues LPs, a split-single featuring a rare track by Tom Waits backed with a live version of every good song Steely Dan ever recorded (it's just an etching) and a streetcorner where you'll find the remains of Shane McGowan. There are plenty of other songs that are just as strong too. Sure, you'll encounter a couple of dumb Rockin' outtakes along the way (the atrocious "Bye Bye Babe" and "Orly," which actually go a good deal of the way towards suggesting that Randy Bachman was the brains of the outfit), but the rest is as all-over and experimentally guitar/piano rock/pop as always, with the two oddest numbers being a droney (jokey?) Indian-type tune called "Hamba Gahle-Usalang Gahle" and a semi-dipshitty but also admittedly singalongable reggae ditty called "Follow Your Daughter Home." Elsewhere, you'll find lots of that good old Guess Who intrigue, drama and not only strong vocalizing by Mr. Cummings but also weak vocalizing by less vocally-talented members of the band! Not a worthwhile idea! Don't do it again! I'm Burton Cummings' agent and I insist!

In fact, make him the centerpiece of the next album cover too! He is the long-haired sexy member of the band! What, you think all those other fatasses in the band are gonna get the chicks? Chicks don't dig fat people! They dig long-haired sexy guys! You know, like Merle Allin!

prisoner@cgocable.net (Michael P Matheson)
The Guess Who officially "jumped the shark" in 1973.

Dajohud@aol.com
How can you not even mention "All Hashed Out"? This tune has the best and most inventive solos by Winter and Cummings anywhere on GW vinyl. "Bye Bye Babe" totally cooks. On this record, we have bigger, meatier guitars, mainly thanks to Kurt Winter, than anything Randy ever laid down on RCA vinyl. Wallace is NOT a weak vocalizer. He and McDougall were definitely light years better than Leskiw for pipes. What about that epic work, "Show Biz Shoes"? Burton's putting forth his whole reason for being with all those cool jazz chords and Handel-esque "destroy it/ignore it" harmonies, and you, uh, what, forgot about that one? The only thing that's really worth lampooning about this record might be the packaging. It's an outrage that ARTIFICIAL PARADISE has not been put to CD, while post-Cummings guess who (not worthy of capitalization in this 'case') are available.

toro_92@yahoo.ca
I disagree, "Orly" and "Bye Bye Love" are great Canadian rockers. "Bye Bye Love" introduced Bill Wallace to the band (from Kurt Winter's ex-Winnipeg band called Brother) and he's solid on vocals. McDougall's two songs are excellent, and for me Burton is in top form playing piano. "Showbiz Shoes" is a bit eccentric, with references to "tuna and the oil" and "King James I", but that's what makes it interesting. Unfortunately Cummings took full control again after this underrated album, no other lead vocalists show up on the last four studio albums.

"Rock and Roller Steam", that was another good one, resurrected from the Winter/Wallace band as well. The Guess Who was a strong and viable outfit long after Randy Bachman got fired from the band.

Add your thoughts?


#10 - RCA 1973.
Rating = 7

Could too much Burton Cummings be a bad thing? Maybe so, actually, at this point in his life. He may not have the short hair and the mustache yet, but he sounds like a guy with short hair and a mustache, dominating the sound of the album like never before with piano piano piano in overblown, under-interesting singer/songwriter fare like "Take It Off My Shoulders," "Self Pity" and "Just Let Me Sing." The songs that sound like The Guess Who are typically multi-textured and moving, though, and quite frankly, Cummings is no slouch in the songwriting department when he avoids cocktail jazz and blues cliches. For example, "Lie Down" is a really interesting piano piece, and likewise "Glamour Boy" works somehow with its strange combination of sad piano and oppressively bitter lyrics about the popularity of androgynous glamour rockers like David Bowie and the New York Dolls ("For $37,000, you can look like your sister tonight"??? Burton, calm down). Another interesting thing to note is that they redid the unreleased rocker "Miss Frizzy" - giving Bachman a songwriting credit. Running out of ideas, perwilliger?

So it is what it is. I read somewhere that Burton threatened to quit the band if this album wasn't high on the "Burton Cummings-led" scale, so maybe that explains his domineering nature throughout. But he's a talented enough guy, so what the hell. Just avoid it if you have no interest in hearing what a solo album by the guy might sound like - because they sound like this!

Which reminds me, I've been aching to review Burton Cummings' solo stuff for quite some time (I found most of his albums in dollar bins - shocking, isn't it?), but I can't seem to procure a copy of his 1990 Canadian release Plus Signs. If you by any chance own it, do you think you could make me a tape or CDR copy? I'll review Burton Cummings for you though!!!!

Don't request BTO though - it's simply not going to happen, no matter how much I enjoy that "nneeeeooww!" sound in "Blown."

What do you mean you don't know "Blown"? YOU AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH A FILLER TRACK FROM THE SECOND BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE ALBUM???? WHERE THE FUCK ROCK ARE YOU BEEN LIVING UNDER BEEN IN A BARN????

Reader Comments

gardner@localline.com (James A. Gardner)
While I have, in fact, been living under a barn, I know BTO's "Blown" ... altho it's probably been 20 years since I've heard it, that primo slab of 8-track fodder still rings in my ears, like an advanced case of tinnitus. I always liked the way you can't discern most of the lyrics, like where he sings: "I was blown--whoo-hoo--[unintelligable gibberish that sounds like "marijuana hell"] ... sure saves time at the old songwriting desk! And it's kinda sad how the guy can only get blown "right inside a dream"! Like not even "right inside my bitchin' Camero" or "right inside my parent's rec room" ... nope, only in a dream. Oh, and about #10 ... it's a sure sign a band's in trouble when they quit giving their album titles and start with the numbering (unless, maybe, they're Led Zep ... or Chicago, who made better records when they were numbering them, and got truly lame when they tried to come up with WORDS for the titles). It's like writers who call their short story, "Untitled." Fer cry eye, if you can't come up with a TITLE, how good can the story be?

byronmoore@hotmail.com
Well the Big Guy running our local second hand rekkid store wants 21.99 for #10 and I’m not sure why… shit, just yesterday i hauled their Share The Bland and Road Fool outa his trashed bin for 2.99 and .99 respectively, and they both play just fine, tanks. Got all the inserts too. Been enjoyin readin yer Guess Who reviews, and I agree with you, underrated albums band wit lots of fun ideas all through all their interesting – if not always up to their own high standards – catalogue. I like the kurt winter years the best. What a beautiful hoser he was.

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Yep, this is the third of the three new Guess Who LPs I bought last weekend. And the most recently released one, too. But you know? Several of these tunes are among their best. Example? Mm-kay. How about "Self Pity"? That song has more ideas packed into it than a lot of complete albums I can name (*cough*cough*coldplay*cough*cough). And everyone knows Glamour Boy, right? How about that middle break where there's that fake crowd noise and the announcer introduces the rockin' combo "Ricky and the Balloons"?? Who are the ad wizard who thought of that one? Could they have come up with a better joke band name? Probably, if they weren't on cocaine.

suzieq@guesswhofans.com
#10 is an excellent GW album...one of my absolute favo(u)rites. I have a LOT of GW music to listen to...boots, unreleased stuff...and still, #10 is up there in the CD's that are replayed time and time again. There is NO such thing as "too much Burton Cummings".

"Just Let Me Sing" is such a sexy, bluesy number, once again based on their life on the road, I believe, like "So Long Bannatyne" and "Attila's Blues".

"Cardboard Empire"? Who amongst us hasn't felt like we are the pieces on a game that upper management is playing?

"Lie Down": My favo(u)rite lines?
"Why is it not good enough for you, it is genuine"
"I¹m too damn surly to be forgiven,
Too damned unstable to be left all alone,
Too damn lucky to be livin¹ the life I am,
And livin¹ the life I¹m lookin¹ at..."

"Miss Frizzy"?: Another very sexy song with a little bit of a country twang. Another one of my faves, even though I prefer the slower, sexier version that appears on a recent re-release.

"Musicione" is my least favorite. Nice music, but the lyrics are way too depressing.

In any case, I highly recommend #10, as well too many other albums to list. They were a prolific bunch, TGW. And there is something for everyone to love, as they never had a definitive sound, and crossed genres as frequently as a New Yorker crosses the street.

Add your thoughts?


Road Food - RCA 1974.
Rating = 8

You know one thing I enjoy about The Guess Who? How I can't think of any other band that sounds like them. I guess it's just because they have so many influences. They don't sound like the Rolling Stones or the Beatles or Led Zeppelin or Eric Clapton or The Who or Lynyrd Skynyrd or any of that. They sound like a "heartland" band what with their twangy, loose guitar work (since Bachman left anyway), omnipresent piano and especially because of Burton's yellin'/singin' beer-drinkin' sounding husky but versatile voice. But they're too CREATIVE to be a heartland band. Aside from their irritating lapses into lazy blues-rock, their songs are just a really cool mixture of jazz chord sequences played in a rock band manner (not a Steely Dan manner) with poppy, catchy vocal hooks, acoustic folk influences, boogie woogie piano - it's all there in a magical Canadian Stew! With so many great melodies, most of which were NOT in their late-period hit singles - "Clap For The Wolfman" was the big hit off this one; semi-catchy I suppose, but did this simplistic novelty song really deserve to be one of the biggest hits that the band ever had? This is another reason why I just don't think a greatest hits compilation is the best place to start with these guys. Their early hits were excellent, but their later hits make them seem like they turned into a really lame bar band, which they DIDN'T! They just always picked the least innovative songs on the records to release as singles, probably because they thought that the American audiences were too dumb for the more - what's the word when you put forth effort and thought? I can't think of the word. But you know what I mean. Something like "innovative" but that's not the word. I suppose it's kind of fitting that I can't think of the word for "putting forth effort and thought," isn't it? Yeah, fuck you.

Judging from its gross sloppy cover, you'd expect this to be a bit more "southern rock" than the others, but don't fear that you'll be hearing "Ooo That Smell" on here. In case you didn't read the manual, "Ooo That Smell" is a miserable excuse for a song, as are "Sweet Home Alabama," "Free Bird," "Mr. Saturday Night Special" and everything else those hideous pieces of tobacco-chewing garbage ever came up with. They did NOT deserve to die so young and that was an absolutely tragic event (as was the similar death of Stevie Ray Vaughan, another artist I'm not fond of at all), but you have no idea how much I despise the recorded output of Lynyrd Skynyrd. How in God's name did the redneckiest of redneck music become so HUGE on classic rock radio? Play it on country stations! Leave classic rock radio to slick, laughable legends like Boston, Foreigner and REO Speedwagon!

Damn, I totally keep forgetting to talk about The Guess Who. This is a good record, as usual. Burton has the short hair/mustache thing going (rolls eyes). The LP sounds more like a full-band creation than the last one, and has some very pretty, memorable songs (including another re-recording of an old song, this one of "Don't You Want Me" from Rockin') for your children to enjoy with you, even if they're really young. Which reminds me - I don't want kids, my fiancee doesn't want kids, I've never wanted kids, my fiance has never wanted kids, I don't like kids, my fiancee doesn't like kids - so could you please inform every fucking person I meet to stop saying, "Oh you're young! You'll change your mind!" Why does everybody assume that I'm going to turn out like them? I DON'T WANT FUCKING KIDS. I have a dog, I love dogs, if I have any paternal instinct at all, it is being used just fine on my adorable puppy - I don't need some crybaby bastard ingrate shithead prick stealing my non-existent car, sucking at school, hanging out with druggies and not appreciating any fucking thing I do for him, which would be close to nothing because I fucking hate kids.

And that is my opinion of the album Road Food by The Guess Who.

Reader Comments

pmitchison1@home.com (Paul Mitchison)
Road Food is a great discussion of life on the road. "Each night, smacks of new wonder". I love it, but have no idea what the line "Hurricane wonderboy scratching for the scunge now" means.

Mark.Evans@anheuser-busch.com
One of my favorites by far! Was it the penguin or the parrot that he made watch the 6 o'clock news and shine his shoes? I don't think this one's on CD, at least I can't find it. I would buy it immediately. I wore the vinyl out in the 70's and had a bad scratch on "Star Baby". I miss this as much as anything I had in my teenage years. "Better have a whiskey so I'll feel all right..."

JulDeschenes@aol.com (Julie Deschenes)
Greetings

Thanks for your "dissertation" Of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Tears rolled down my and my husband's eyes(he hates LS), we laughed so hard. And I hate kids too, except that from now on, I won't feel I am the only bad one.

Big thanks

Add your thoughts?


Flavours - RCA 1974.
Rating = 7

Augh! What the hell happened to the band? Don McDougall? Gone! Kurt Winter? Gone! So who's in? Why, the world-famous virtuoso Domenic Troiano of course, who co-wrote EVERY SINGLE SONG on here with Burton. But before we get to that, something really needs to be discussed - and discussed right now. I write in a certain way. Some people like that way, some hate that way. But I HAVE to write that way, with the jokes and profanity and exaggerated anger, because if I didn't, I couldn't write these reviews. They would be too boring for me to write. I would dread doing it and I would stop doing it. Having said that, please understand that when I trash a band that you happen to like, I mean it as entertainment, not as a means to piss you off. I realize that I anger people constantly and I guess that's how it goes, but I would much prefer that you understand that I don't really take music all that seriously. I LOVE music and it is a very important part of my life in particular, but it has nothing to do with whether a person lives or dies. It is simply entertainment. So if I appear to really despise your favorite band, chances are good that I'm just being a dick for the hell of it. Just to keep myself occupied and make a few people shake their heads at my stupidity and poor musical taste. I don't care enough about Lynyrd Skynyrd to hate them nearly as much as I appeared to in that last review. If I don't like a band, I don't listen to them. And please try to keep in mind that I'm honestly not at all an asshole in person. I just seem that way on my web site because I write down every single thing I think - and people think bad things sometimes! In particular, all this band-bashing stuff I do is just me writing the most ridiculous things I can in order to make me smile. And I invite you to bash my favorite bands! Because they probably all suck!

Now then, about the album. Because that's why you visited my page in the first place. You couldn't wait to see what I thought about Flavours by The Guess Who. Well, what I think is that this is another fantastic creative Canadian document marred by a few attempts at pathetic, worthless Billy Joel piano man schit. But man, the folk of "Hoe Down Time," the funtime boogie jive of "Dancin' Fool," the angry kick-you-in-the-nose attitude of "Long Gone," even the DISCO of "Diggin' Yourself" - they all work because of the excellent vocal melodies! Not enough bands pay attention to vocal melodies - but they can totally make or break a song. Look at "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath. I hate that song, but a good vocal melody could have saved it. Something like "Da dee dum dum la dee da!" You see what I mean? Of course you do. So yeah, this album should have had some hits. I'm not sure why it didn't. Aside from the swill ("Nobody Knows His Name," "Seems Like I Can't Live With You, But I Can't Live Without You" and "Loves Me Like A Brother" - all three every bit as cliched as their titles), there's some great stuff on here in, yet again, a bunch of different subgenres of the rockishness thang.

Reader Comments

Harry.Anchan@CalgaryHealthRegion.ca
Hi,

I totally agree with the review here that Flavours by the Guess Who is one of the best albums of all time. I really don't need to say much more because it has been already said at: http://www.geocities.com/markprindle/guesswho.htm

The talented Troiano and Cummings did a FABULOUS job on this LP. So what if Winter left the band? It was a fitting way for this fantastic band to end their illustrious career together. However, as much as I have given kudos here, I would like to kick those record execs who have, in their own, immeasurably finite wisdom, have decided not to release Flavours on CD:((((((((

pattonre@yahoo.com
I don't know. I kind of like "Loves Me Like a Brother". It's catchy, and it's not like they didn't do other songs like this before.

Susan@guesswhofans.com
If you have not heard the live radio broadcast boot from Electric Lady Recording Studios in New York, broadcast live from Greenwich Village on January 6, 1975, which included many of the songs on Flavours, then you have never heard that album. Once I heard that boot of the live radio show, I could never listen to the studio version of Flavours again. (Except for "Dirty", which is much better/raunchier on the studio version.)

If I had to pick from every album/CD/bootleg that I own, I would say that Burton Cummings is in perfect voice and performance on this Electric Lady Recording Studios boot.

And for anyone who didn't appreciate Domenic Troiano's (RIP) contribution to this band, well, you weren't listening earlier. TGW always crossed genres and explored new sounds. There was never a definitive GW sound...they did jazz and rock and pop and country and blues and just about everything but opera. So the songs from Flavours and PITM are not off base from what they had done in the past. Unless you are just being critical and looking for a reason for the band breakup.

Add your thoughts?


Shaman's Reflections - Tendolar.
Rating = 7

Kind of a pointless, confused bootleg, but has some decent songs. Let's see here - starts with a couple of Road Food songs, supposedly "alternate mixes," though they don't sound terribly "alternate" to me. Maybe "ternate mixes" would have been a more appropriate title. Then there's four songs pulled straight from Artificial Paradise because supposedly it's not available on CD. Then there's a couple of "rare outtakes" that are easily found on the not-rare The Way They Were collection, as well as an easily findable old b-side about sugar being sweet but you being much sweeter. Finally to round off the collection, there's a bunch of abysmally recorded live stuff showing Burton Cummings to be an even bigger clueless dork than you could ever have possibly imagined. Unless you imagined Elton John, I suppose. Again, not the most important bootleg ever, but there are lots of good songs so how low a grade do you expect me to give it? Hey, don't blame the band for the messenger!

Add your thoughts?


Power In The Music - RCA 1975.
Rating = 7

This Domenic Triano character is using a guitar tone that just dernt fit in with the Guess Who sound. Now I'm no historian, but he's sounding like Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits. His tone is dry, slightly wah-esque, a little crinkly, trebly and sharp, as if the strings might hop off the guitar and give you a nasty smack. But also very mid-to-late `70s and a little commercial and dated. The songs sound a little discofied and not quite as smart as before. Not ALL of them, mind you - "Coors For Sunday" is probably the best blues song they've ever done, "Dreams" is pretty and "Rich World - Poor World" is a really interesting (and weird) political rocker. But elsewhere, the songs really do seem totally designed to appeal to mid-70s radio listeners, rather than the band members themselves. Please - "When The Band Was Singin' (Shakin' All Over)"? Nostalgia isn't pretty. Especially when it's nostalgia for Chad Allan.

If you ask me if I like the record, I say certainly. It has a number of really catchy songs and 2 or 3 sound very well thought out and cleverly arranged. But is it classic Guess Who? No, not really. Aside from Burton's never-changing voice, you can't even imagine this particular incarnation of the band doing "American Woman." They're just not rednecky enough! Too jazz noodly and tight - no loosey goosey drunkenness. And for crying, "Rosanne" features that stupid Peter Frampton guitar effect where you talk into the guitar and it sounds like you have an intestinal problem! This doesn't jibe with my philosophy!

Do I even have a philosophy? Oh! That's right. "Naked People Are Better If They're Not Men." It's gotten me through many an important summit meeting.

Reader Comments

suzieq@guesswhofans.com
"Coors For Sunday" is probably the best blues song they've ever done."

I totally agree! This absolutely politically-incorrect-today song is simply the epitome of Delta Blues songs. And possibly one of the sexiest songs I have ever heard. On my personal top 10 list of Guess Who songs!

The only song I skip when I play this CD is "Dreams", which is funny because most of the posters on my GW boards think that Dreams is the best song TGW ever did. Cummings really likes this song as well. Oh well...no accounting for personal tastes. *LOL*

Add your thoughts?


Guess Who's Back - Aquarius 1978
Rating = 2

Burton Cummings left The Guess Who for a solo career after Power In The Music, unfortunately inspiring former Guess Who bassist Jim Kale to create a NEW Guess Who by rounding up former Guess Who guitarist Kurt Winter on guitar, former Guess Who guitarist Donnie McDougall on vocals, and just two nobodies at all on drums and additional guitar.

First things first: Don McDougall sounds a lot like a less cocky Burton Cummings. But there's no piano. NO PIANO! The guiding light of the past several Guess Who albums is GONE (!), leaving nothing but Southern-fried boogie rock guitars in its place.

And therein lies the secret to this album's extreme terribleness. Get out the chewing tobacco, horse, barn, hay, cow patties, piece of straw in your mouth, light bulb hanging from the ceiling that you pull on a string to turn off and on, grease gun, oldtimey bathtub, hat that says "CAT" on it, overalls, alcoholic stepfather, and car with a big band-aid on the side, because this is one Southern Shitkicker of a lousy album!

Where The Guess Who once presented a strong, surging force field of rock, folk, blues, psychedelia, pop, jazz and country, they now play generic poorly-written redneck fatso music. Country bumpkin titles include "C'mon Little Mama," "Sweet Young Thing" and "Raisin' Hell on the Prairie," the last of which reminds me of a little joke: where do evil grapes go when t

Only one song lives up to the good name of Winnipeg's Guess Who, and luckily it's the longest: the 6:25 "Laid It On Me Anymore" is dark, ominous and serious as a carcinogen. Everything else is either retarded Molly Hatchet boogie or low-IQ cornball balladry. Imagine the stupidest pants-crapping sister-fucking country rocker you've ever heard by Bachman-Turner Overdrive: Guess Who's Back is FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES WORSE.

What on Earth compelled this group of men to usurp the name "The Guess Who" in order to record a bunch of songs that could never in a million years appeal to fans of The Guess Who? When David Gilmour stole the Pink Floyd name, he at least TRIED to sound like Pink Floyd. Kale & Friends didn't give their fan base the slightest thought, and consequently earned a much more brutal commercial and critical backlash than they'd have received had they simply come up with a new name [e.g. "Alabama (Canada)"; "The Rednecks Who Stink"].

On a more positive note, I bought an AC/DC "Thunderstruck" ringtone today. Up to this point, my life had been a shambling messball, but now it is complete and I will soon be earning a $1,000,000 salary per annum, I feel.

Add your thoughts?


All This For A Song - Hilltak 1979.
Rating = 4

I live right by Rudy Giuliani. Do you want me to take pictures of him and his slut whore girlfriend "doing the squishy"? But yes, if it's the album you want to discuss, let's set the record straight by explaining that Jim Kale has led several non-Cummings incarnations of the band since Guess Who's Back and they all stank to Holy Hell. Kurt Winter left after Guess Who's Back, but All This For A Song remains very southern rocky with none of the wide variety of influenzas that made "The Guess Who" what they were, when they were it. A lot of the songs have a really catchy part or two, but these parts are surrounded by predictable bar band riffs and stupid lyrics (including a song about how the band will go on "playing the songs we know you want to hear" - followed by a shout-out of old Guess Who songs, none of which were written by any members of the band that released this particular album). Strangely, it also includes re-recordings of four terrible Guess Who's Back songs. And the mix is awful - a totally unenergetic production that sounds more like a bunch of half-written demos than an actual legal release.

In summation, All This For A Song is great! I give it a 4 out of 10!

Reader Comments

prisoner@cgocable.net (Michael P Matheson)
"All This For A Song" contains one of the best Guess Who songs of ANY era in "Taxman." The title track, as one might expect, sucks the long wet one - but I guess that's just the way the mott flops. You missed the previous album "Guess Who's Back" which was actually pretty good (especially "Laid It On Me, Anyway"). Of course, we were just mere moments, in Stephen Hawking's time, away from the Brent DeJarlais era. The album called "Now And Not Then" was released and, as soon as I saw it, I held it up next to "Time Of The Zombies" to try and determine who came first. Then I played it once ... ONCE!

gardner@localline.com (James A. Gardner)
Hilltak?!? What kind of name is THAT for a record company?! What, was Dolton already taken?!

Add your thoughts?


Now And Not Then - El Mocambo 1981
Rating = 1

Okay, I'll go with "Then."

This is a godawful record. However, they got a guy who sounds EXACTLY like Burton Cummings to sing on it!!! His name is Brent DeJarlais, he apparently contributed nothing to the songwriting process, and he sounds EXACTLY like Burton Cummings!!! Was Jim Kale trying to pull a Judas Priest on us? Or a Journey? Or a Juess Who? This guy sounds EXACTLY like Burton Cummings!!! Furthermore, guitarist Dale Russell (who wrote or co-wrote 90% of the album) sounds EXACTLY like a terrible songwriter!!!

I'll give 'em this -- Dale Russell and his rockin' co-hort Mike McKenna play some nice harmony guitar breaks here and there that remind one of the trailblazing works of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. But these moments are fleeting -- the album proper is a collection of uncompelling, middle-of-the-road goodtime pop/rock guitar music based on the least unique chord changes present in the world today. You'll hear a hint of a '50s influence, maybe a dash of country twang, but mostly you'll hear generic three-chord guitar phrases set to a midtempo beat. And you'll be aching, longing, ripping your very soul out for the slightest CREATIVE IDEA -- for the slightest HINT that there are more than 5 available chords in the musical spectrum, and that indeed notes are often used to create melody as well. And is Sonnie Bernardi in fact a live drummer or just a metronome playing a single tempo for 40 minutes? THIS ALBUM SUCKS SO MUCH DICK THAT NOW NOBODY HAS A DICK AND MANKIND IS GOING TO DIE OUT THANKS FOR NOTHING YOU ASSHOLES

Again no pianos or keyboards - just (bad) guitars, bass, drums and a guy who sounds EXACTLY like Burton Cummings!!! Song titles include "Magic" (pre-dating the Cars!), "Beyond Beautiful" (pre-dating Aerosmith!), "What A Feeling" (pre-dating Irene Cara!), "All Over Now" (post-dating the Rolling Stones!), "Straight Shootin' Man" (slightly recalling Bad Company!), "Dancing In The Night" (subverting Martha and the Vandellas!), "Look Around" (reminding of that one part in "Dear Prudence"!), "Lovelite" (misspelling "Lovelight"!), "Country Disco" (sucking!), and "Homefires Burnin'" (REALLY sucking!).

The first song's okay I guess, and there are some pretty arpeggios in "Straight Shootin' Man," but mandarin orange -- if you're going to play the most flaccid, predictable chord sequences in the world, could you at least try to make them catchy? I seriously can't imagine most of these songs appealing to ANYBODY! And Jim Kale, having spent a few years in the actual Guess Who, should really be able to tell the difference between smart original songwriting and sub-amateur bar band crap. Shame on you, Jim Kale for Cabbage Ent. Ltd.! Shame on you, Kale & Associates! And shame on me for spending two of my finest dollars on an album I knew would stink -- just because I wanted to review it for you! So I guess El Mocambo's motto applies just as much to me as it does to Guess Who '81: "Too Stupid To Stop!!"

Those exclamation marks were theirs, by the way. I would have used three.

That reminds me of a little joke:

Q; What does the Guess Who's most well-known vocalist wear to important social gatherings?

A: A "Buttoned Cummerbund"!!!

You know, it wasn't until I typed in that thought process that I realized how far it is from making any sense at all.

Add your thoughts?


Reunion - Guess Who 1984.
Rating = 7

A self-released live reunion double-album featuring the American Woman line-up of the band! The liner notes are by Randy Bachman, who dedicates the album to all the other great performers who became part of the Guess Who legacy, including Don McDougall, Kurt Winter, Dominic Troiano - but interestingly neither David Inglis nor Vance Masters from All This For A Song made the cut. Hmm.... Could it be that all of the Guess Who albums recorded after Power To The Music are considered to be, oh I don't know, miserable garbage recorded by sub-par songwriters?

But enough about the Misfits. Let's talk about Reunion! Also known, in some circles, as Greatest Hits Live!

But enough about The Ramones. Let's talk about Reunion! First of all, there are five all-new songs! And four of them are truly horrid! I don't want to push my opinions on anybody, though, so I'll let you decide for yourself which four are horrid. The rest of the collection just sounds like old dudes playing Guess Who's classic singles. None of them improve on the originals of course (with the possible exception of "No Sugar Tonight," which has a gorgeous little piano melody tossed in), but it's neat to hear Randy Bachman's take on the hits that the band had after he left. Especially when he has to play two guitars at the same time to try to imitate the Leskiw/Winter dual guitar juggernaut! Burton can't hit the high notes anymore though, and he sounds pretty awful trying.

Add your thoughts?


The Spirit Lives On: Greatest Hits Live - J-Bird 1998.
Rating = 6

Then for Christ's sake, somebody kill the spirit. Send it to Spirit Heaven to mingle with The Division Bell. This is another Kale bland extraordinaire. The lack of Burton could be dealt with, I imagine, what with these being great songs and all, if not for the fact that the guy who is singing (and no, I'm not going to look at the CD case to get his name for you - he doesn't deserve that kind of effort or recognition) is a douchebag who demonstrates about as much respect for these classic songs as I demonstrate for Billy Joel on an everyday basis. He makes an annoying farce out of them, constantly doing some jokey out-of-tune yodelling crap to mask the fact that he's about a millionth of the talent that Burton Cummings once was. However, the band plays the songs fine, so once you get past the prick on the microphone, you're in Denny's Restaurant!

Refusing to serve black people!

Add your thoughts?


Lonely One - Intersound 1995
Rating = 2

Okay, the singer I mentioned in the last review is named "Terry Hatty" and, although this CD actually came out three years earlier than The Spirit Lives On, I'm going to review it here because I personally heard it about four years after that one. Normally, this wouldn't matter but I need to say something that demands that this review come second: I now understand completely why Terry Hatty showed such disrespect for the classic Guess Who material in his jokey dumbassed live renditions. It's because he's a motherfucking genius!

Seriously, this man has somehow found a way to make it completely impossible to tell the difference between his 'ballads' and his 'rockers' -- because they're the exact same speed! Oh the number of times I've sat down with this CD (two) thinking to myself, "Jeez, how many ballads in a row is this guy going to do?" before suddenly coming to the realization that the track I'm 'enjoying' features a distorted guitar and is thus, in Terry's mind, a 'rocker.'

Let's see if you can guess which of the tunes are 'rockers' without even hearing the CD. Okay, here we go: "Love's All That Matters Tonight." Ballad or rocker?

If you guessed 'ballad,' congratulations! But of course it's a ballad - look at the title! Now let's try another one. "Anything For Love"

Did you guess 'ballad' again? If so, WRONG! Look at the title - isn't it obvious that this song is a kickass 4MPH rock and roll classic? Okay, one more: "Still Feels Like Love"

That's right! Another ballad! But I'll give you one more chance: "I Feel Your Pain"

Yep! A ballad! Okay, one more: "The Razor's Edge"

Sounds pretty ass-kicking, right? Like that AC/DC song? Tough darts pal - it's a ballad! Okay, I'll give you one more chance: "Haunted Heart"

BALLAD!

Title track?

BALLAD! BALLAD, BALLAD, BALLAD!!!!!!!! And I'm not even talking about "These Eyes"-style catchy ballads - I'm talking adult contemporary nu-country horse shirt. Terry sounds like a mustachioed hick trying to sound soulful, but I think he also might be trying to do an Elton John thing, especially in the smooth jazz piano-driven "Amy," wherein his voice even takes on a fey Elton John tone. But he doesn't even come up with any melodies really, just relying on age-old chord combinations that shitheel boring balladeers have been recycling since the Dawn of Tony Orlando. (HA!!! HA HA AH !!!! HGA HAAH A YOU CAN'T STOP LAUGHING AT MY HILARIOUS JOKE!!!!!)

Why didn't somebody stop me from paying nearly $4.00 for a Guess Who CD featuring only the original bassist and drummer? And at what point did these ignoramuses become so ignorament that they truly thought "Terry Hatty" would make an adequate replacement for Burton Cummings and/or Randy Bachman? It's fucking ludicrous! The guy CANNOT write a song! He's NOT a songwriter, any more than I am an architect! And believe me - unless you want a house that looks like a toilet, you don't want me designing your home! Nevertheless, Messrs Kale and Peterson turned over all songwriting duties to - oh hang on.

Jesus - I just belatedly noticed something that I think is even more horrific. Terry Hatty only wrote three of these songs. The other seven were written by outside composers.

Outside composers. People who write songs for a living, for bands that are incapable of developing their own material. And THIS is the best they could come up with!?!?!?!?!? This gigantic hat filled with maggots!? This bottomless pit of sloshy diarrhea!? This replacement nose filled with built-in B.O.!? In the words of George Washington, "FUCK YOU, YOU CANADIAN ASSHOLES!"

It gets a 2 though because "The Razor's Edge" has this adorable subdominant-tonic guitar line. It's so cute, it's like a little puppy! Who's that good boy? Who's that good boy? It's YOU, "The Razor's Edge!" It's YOU!

It's also like a puppy because if you listen really close during the guitar solo, Terry Hatty takes a dump and eats it.

Reader Comments

strong@speakeasy.org (Ken)
Then again, here's an insightful opposing viewpoint from a review on amazon.com (written by some guy from Uruguay):

"After 20 years of their first number one hit, THE GUESS WHO, the most famous Canadian rock band of all times, delivered one of their best albums. LONELY ONE updates the sound of the group to the 90s with an excellent collection of contemporary ballads (the album title, Love's All The Matters Tonight), hard rock (Sweet Liberty), classic rock (Rock 'n' Roll Classic) and rhythm and blues (I Feel Your Pain). Extremely well produced by John Sheard, this GUESS WHO reincarnation includes veteran founding members Jim Kale and Garry Peterson, plus Dale Russell (great guitar work), Leonard Shaw and the highly expressive voice of the great Terry Hatty. When superstars Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman left the band, the GUESS WHO were determined to go on and, "against unimaginable obstacles", they still manage to deliver top rate music. Get it!!!"

Sounds like it was written incognito by the band's PR person.

brampratt@gmail.com
Imagine yourself in 1995, at a movie theater, sitting in your seat as the end credits to whatever movie you're watching begin to roll. Of course, along with the credits come a song. A bland, generic, shitty song.

And that song is any of the songs on this album. I'll be honest, I don't know how else to say it: this album is bad credits music. Every single song on it.

Well, except for "Rock N' Roll Classic", but it still manages to suck.

Add your thoughts?

Running Back Thru Canada - BMG 2000.
Rating = 8

Let's just talk about obsession for a minute. I'm going to throw out a numeral and I want you to ruminate on it for a bit --

The number is 103.

103. That is the number of LPs and CDs in my collection right now that I haven't had time to listen to yet. Because I just keep buying and trading and dubbing and buying and trading and dubbing and here I am with 103 CDs and LPs that I still haven't heard yet. All sitting in piles waiting for me to stop buying CDs and LPs (at discount prices, you understand -- that's why I can't resist the allure!) long enough to listen to the glutted mass I've already accumulated. My progress is slowed, of course, by the fact that I refuse to give a CD its "inaugural" listen on my work computer -- it's just too hard to pay attention there and the CD's qualities get missed by me (though enjoyed by those around me, believe you me! Especially when it's Anal Cunt!). Then my few hours a day at home are shortened yet again by the fact that I have to listen to a "CD for review" each day. And I refuse to review anything that I haven't heard at least TWICE. Which means that in the time I spent listening twice to this live double-CD by the Guess Who, I could have gotten my list of unheard music (copyright X 1980) down to single-digits!

Which brings us down to the single digits of Mr. Burton Cummings, piano player and increasingly smarmy lead singer for the Guess Who. For some reason, the smarminess had never occurred to me before, which makes me think that it has only come into being since he left The Guess Who in the '70s. It's natural for a young screamer to grow up into an adult singer (Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers, Greg Graffin), but it's not just that. He honestly now SOUNDS like a guy with a mustache. When he was young and wild and free (pre-mustache), his voice raged like fire and warmed like the sun. Now -- and I admit it hasn't even changed that much -- but now, with a bit less edge, a bit more nasalness and a LOT more evident self-appreciation, he sounds like a guy with a mustache trying to sell you a used car. Luckily (watch this segue -- which I'm told is actually pronounced "seg-way," which I find marvelous because I love that word but always thought it was spelled "segueway," which looks too much like a transportation department term for my comfort), this used car is in MINT CONDITION!!!!! (Thank you. Thank you for your applause and flowers.)

I love the Guess Who. Perhaps you took note of this while reading the other album reviews on this page. Or maybe you came to this page solely because you wanted to know whether or not to purchase an overpriced double-CD of a bunch of old men reuniting 25 years after they broke up, to play songs that you've never heard of. Either way -- I'm here to tell you The Heat Is ON! Every hit and its brother-in-law are to be found here, including "These Eyes," "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature," "Undun," "American Woman," "Albert Flasher," "Hand Me Down World," "Laughing," "Clap For The Wolfman," "No Time" and "Share The Land."

But that's not all! They've also rejuvenated a ton of AWESOME album tracks that need to be heard NOW so that everybody else understands why I like these Canadian inbred mongoloids so much -- "Runnin' Back To Saskatoon," "Guns Guns Guns" (Godspeed Mother Nature!), "Rain Dance" (Where'd you get the gun, John?), "Glamour Boy" (poking bitter jealous fun at David Bowie, who deserves to be made fun of), "Sour Suite" (Just like 54631!) and "Orly" (bing-bing-bing! Planes are goin' up! bing-bing-bing! Planes are comin' down!).

But that's not all! They're also Giving The People What They Want by performing no NOT Burton Cummings' solo hit "Stand Tall," but TWO, I say TWO (and possibly three) Bachman-Turner Overweight songs!!!! Now would you cry if I told you that I lied? Or would you say goodbye? WOULD YOU LET IT RIDE???? And one other one that somehow I imagine you can probably name for yourself (hint: it's not "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"). Then there's this Randy Bachman song that I'm honestly ashamed to admit I can't place at this moment. It's a Hawaii tiki-style song called "Lookin' Out For #1" -- if it's a Guess Who song, it's one I've forgotten. Otherwise, it's a Bachman solo tune that I've just never heard. Good song though!

But that's not all! They also offer up such half-assed, mediocre, only-slightly-enjoyable songs as "Talisman" (if you thought it was embarrassing in the hippie days, wait til you hear it in the nu-metal days! Complete with ugly "Celebration Of The Lizard"-style tamborine shakes!) and "Follow Your Daughter Home" (Whee. '50s style goodtime rockin').

But that's not Paul! "American Woman" drags on for over 13 minutes and "Clap For The Wolfman" is still one of the worst songs I've ever heard.

But that's not me! Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds LP does not appear on this double-CD.

But that's not all! Burton keeps doing this marijuana-influenced "chicka-chicka-chicka" mouth noise before each song -- I thnk it might be his way of timing in the rest of the group, but it sounds like he's choking on a piece of gum. No matter its faults though, the playing is GREAT, the production sounds GREAT, the energy level is GREAT, Burton for the most part sings GREAT (when not oversleazing it) and most of these songs will live on in the hearts of hip-hop fans forever.

But that's not all! Disc 2 has special interactive features, wherein if you play the disc on your PC, you can watch 1001 Erotic Nights Part II on your TV at the same time, if you own it on videotape.

Well, I thought it was interesting. But then again, "I enjoyeee li-eeefe!" Heh heh! "Oh darn - the boys that help just went to lunch." HAAAAA! HAAAA! "What rhymes with pickle? TICKLE!" HEEEEEEEEEEEEE! "You want me to PLAY with it, don't you?" HARDY-HOOOOOO! "This is Tina. She's ALWAYS wet." INSTANT POP-A-RIGID!

Ahh yeah. The kids who frequent my site always go crazy over my references to adult movies that disappeared into obscurity several years before their birth.

Reader Comments

knowstev@med.umich.edu (Steven Knowlton)
"Looking Out for #1" is indeed another BTO song.

SGEllis@aol.com
Mark , you must be my brother ...

and Randy Bachman has lost a butt load of weight I am happy to report. Have you seen their tour for the last two summers? Unfreakingbelievably incredible beyond anything you could ever wish to see and hear live.

That Raiders album Spirit of 67....I used to take that cover to bed with me when I was like, 5 because Mark Lindsay was such a babe.

This has nothing to do with the Guess Who... but you are the one who brought them all up in here so I guess it's ok.

The Guess Who concerts... every single song they sing is so completely recognizable, and singable and danceable, and they have THE BEST FAN BASE... no seat dancers at those shows. every single person is hootin and hollerin and so freaking happy and dancing their ASSES off.

Every year I say to everyone I know, even the bank ladies, "Hey did ya get tickets to the Guess Who?" . Everyone makes the same stupid comment, "Those geezers are still around?" (((so what does that make YOU I wanna say))). Then the reviews of the show come out and even the most snotty assed newspaper man will right this totally SMOKIN rave review of the show and everyone is all, "Oh man I meant to go to that show" NO YA DIDN'T.

Anyway, I get really mad when people don't listen to me about awesome concerts, since I go to about one concert a week for most of the year.

In summation, there is nothing quite like the thrill of singing and dancing at the top of your lungs to songs like NO TIME and HAND ME DOWN WORLD and AMERICAN WOMAN (barf lenny kravitz) and every other song they sing. and while you are all at it, go get yourself a copy of RANDY BACHMANS cd , ANY ROAD... every single song is total rockin out randy and NEIL YOUNG THE MAIN DUDE plays on it as well. AMEN

prisoner@cogeco.ca (Michael P. Matheson)
Gee, 70's porn movies and Burton's moustache are both mentioned in the same review. Coincidence? Or is it? If you did not know what Mr. Cummings did for a living, a picture of him ca. 1975 - 1980 would lead one to believe that porn actor might indeed be his way of making a living (oh cum on now!)

There is tragedy to behold within this set of disks. We hear a once great band who can still play music, but are lacking in the one thing they could always hold over everyone else's head : stunning vocals. I loved The Guess Who partly because of the fact that Cummings' voice was an instrument of perfection. In this album, he fakes notes he can no longer hit by substituting the aforementioned "nasal" sound and what on earth the "chicka chicka" junk is supposed to be is beyond me. I know one thing it isn't - it isn't entertaining.

This recording made me vow to never catch The Guess Who or Burt as a live act ever again. There is no shame in the fact that talent sometimes withers with age. It is commendable that they're still trying. But I spent too much time in 1972 bragging to my friends that Burton Cummings had the most perfect voice in Rock to accept him at 80% thirty years later. They have nothing left to prove so why keep going when they've got nothing left? Well, they have thousands of fans who - despite the chinos and golf shirts - are willing to go crazy at their shows ... so what do I know?

radford_77@hotmail.com
This album stinks. Burton's vocals are horrible. I tried explaining the crapitude of this album to my parents (they are the ones that own this disc and are the Guess Who neophytes), but I think they are too caught up in the nostalgia of it to realize that the man lost it about 25 years ago.

Around the same time they bought this horrid CD, I picked up the new 2-lp release "Shakin All Over" on Sundazed, which contains most of the Guess Who's 63-67 output. This stuff really blew me away, not in the sense of it being the best music from that era, but that it is so much better than the latter day Guess Who, Burt, BTO and Randy material that I heard growing up in Saskatchewan during the late 70s/ early 80s. Anyhoo, I showed this great album to my parents, who gave it a passing glance and then promptly gave Running Back Through Canada another spin! Good gravy...

During the Running Back Through Canada tour (I believe it was in 2000), Burton stopped in at my father-in-law's restaurant here in Regina. My father-in-law is Greek, was born in Egypt and also lived in Cuba before coming to Canada. Anyways, all of his waitresses and cooks stopped working to come out and see Burton, get his autograph, etc. After the commotion died down, Burton was left to enjoy his meal. My father-in-law didn't understand what the deal was, so he approached Burton (who still looks like a creepy used car salesman) and asked "Who the fuck are you?" Burton choked on his food, and told my father-in-law who he was. My father-in-law merely shrugged and walked away! Hilarity!!!

And I still get a chuckle out of that one Burton solo album where he's all sweaty and he's in full mustache mode. My one friend has several copies of it hanging in his living room!

I too snagged several Guess Who records from my parents' record collection, inlcuding the original Canadian 45rpm of Shakin' All Over.

Thats about all I have to say about the Guess Who. A great band that has done nothing but tarnish their own name for the last 25 years.

whitehec@alpenacc.edu (Carol Whitehead)
What year did The Guess Who change their name to The Who? Thank you.....

:o)

auler@sympatico.ca (Paul A. Smith)
I see a lot of negative attitude here.

It was great to finally see the Guess Who back again. I for one have missed Burton's concerts. He is a fantastic piano player and a fine singer.

I only wish they had included some of Burton's solo career music on this cd package. Songs such as "I Will Play A Rhapsody", "My Own Way To Rock", "I'm Scared" and "Break It To Them Gently" should have been included. Afterall, they did include a few songs from Randy's BTO days.

drjohnrock@aol.com
Uh, Mark, "Rain Dance", "Glamour Boy" and "Sour Suite" were all released as singles--the only one that made much of a dent in the US was "Rain Dance", which went up to #19 or thereabouts--higher than "Albert Flasher", in fact. Good luck trying to hear it on stupid "classic rock" radio stations with their constricted playlists.

robylw@telus.net (Les Robertson)
I have read all these comments pro and con. When you ask other real musicains there thoughts on on The Guess Who -Burton Cummings-RandyBachman etc .you will get in most cases a thumbs up. plus signs.

I love almost all types of music....... listen to the Guess Who they throw various styles your way..... totally different arraingments in one album. then listen to CCR which I like too.... every song just about the same. Even Three Dog Night had to have The Guess Who with them in Australia to make there tour a success ...there songs were covered in Au. by someone else. I,m not here to run down other bands but the The Guess Who still have not recieved the recognition they deserve like being in the Rock n Roll hall of fame. Other bands less deserving many I might add are there.I hope someday they will be given the recognition they truly deserve.

Susan@guesswhofans.com
Due to an unforgiving work schedule and family visits and a lengthy Canadian/Alaskan trip planned, I was unable to see TGW on their initial reunion tour until 12/4/2000, at a very small and private charity gig in Toronto, Ontario at the El Mocambo. Until this point, I had only heard a bootleg from the Kitchener, Ontario concert back in June, I believe.

The unmitigated professionalism and talent provided at this Elmo concert drove me to tears. More than once. I was only in Toronto for 23 hours, with no sleep, and when I returned to Arizona, I received my RBTC CD. I tried listening to it, but couldn't, because the songs on that CD were not indicative of the well oiled machine of TGW, the tightness, the superb performances that I experienced at Elmo in Toronto on 12/04/00. IMHO, the songs on RBTC were recorded too soon...before BC and the boyz got their groove together. The RBTC CD is still something you need to own/hear, but just take it up about fifty notches in quality if you didn't see this band perform in the late months of 2000 or in 2001. I saw them nine times during this period, and enjoyed every single performance.

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Although I just became a Guess Who fan about a year ago (I knew zip about them apart from "American Woman" before reading Mark's reviews here, now I listen to em all the time, esp the Burton years post-Bachman), I actually do have a live Guess Who experience (of sorts) under my belt, and I honestly don't recall if it was any good because it was an outdoor concert (where the music was only one of the focal points), these redneck asswipes were trying to talk shit to me (my, that's distracting, innit?), and at the time I didn't distinguish The Guess Who from any other second-string underperforming classic rock one-hit wonder anyway.

It was at the annual "Chili Cook-off" at Stone Mountain Park, outside of Atlanta, back around, oh, 1996 or so. The headliner? Blue Oyster Cult! I remember thinking Buck Dharma looked like one of my business professors. The opening act was "The Randy Bachman Band" - I of course knew of Randy Bachman thru his questionable work with the Bachman-Turner Underdrive (BTU). I'm not sure who was in his band, but they seemed to cover all the BTU songs I knew (2 or 3), and I wasn't familiar with anything else he'd done. Then towards the end of the set, Randy introduced an "old friend" on stage - turned out to be none other than Burton Cummings. He was wearing gym shorts, a wife-beater T-shirt, and yes, a mustache. Boy, did he ever have a mustache.... Who is this clown, I thought. Anyhoo, they then start playing some classic Guess Who songs - which is when it hit me that Randy used to actually be in that band. Well whaddaya know... I remember hearing "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature", "These Eyes", and maybe a couple others. I've heard the mustache-era Cummings referred to as "smarmy" on this page, and I can see where that comes from. My first impression of him was he had a self-satisfied "I'm a consummate showman, the piano man!" kind of air about him (not unlike Elton John). The question is, did he become smarmy because of the mustache, or did he grow a mustache to better fit his increasingly smarmy manner? I prefer the latter theory, but a strong case could be made the other way as well.

Now, of course, I listen to those old Guess Who albums (Share the Land, Rockin, #10, Artificial Paradise, Flavours, etc etc) and love em like I've known em all my life, and Burton Cummings is 90% of the reason they're all so great (though special kudos to Donnie MacDougall's great songwriting too on Artificial Paradise). Long live Burton, mustache or no!

kj69@vaxxine.com
One CD you missed was the live one recorded with Carl Dixon on vocals in 1999 called 'Down The Road'. not bad, better than the reunion and Terry Hatter live disc IMO.

DMckennitt@waterloobedding.com (David McKennitt)
I am now age 57. I remember seeing the Guess Who live at Rock Hill Park near Shelburne Ontario. This was back while I was still in high school, perhaps age 16. I have been one of their greatest fans. Even today I love their music. I sincerely believe that they are one of the best and most diversified bands that ever played the planet earth. They are extremely unappreciated, even in their home country of Canada.

Randy Bachman is so great. I remember the first time I heard “Taking Care of Business”. I did not know who the band was. I did know that this song surpassed anything that the Rolling Stones had ever done. Later I found out that this was in effect Randy Bachman previously of the Guess Who.

Guess Who songs are so varied that their diversified sound is second only to the Beatles. If you don’t believe me do your own review. Listen to numerous tunes. You’ll see my point.

Add your thoughts?


"GUESS WHO" wants you to click here and buy some Guess Who CDs? That's right -- ME!!!! (Linda Lavin of TV's "Alice")


Back to Mark Prindle's Wonderful Tale Of The Marshmallow