On March 16, 17, and 18th, the Guess Who's Garry Peterson played drums on the solo album Axe by Randy Bachman. This is significant because the Guess Who with Randy Bachman recorded their final studio album that same month in the same facility, RCA Studios, Chicago. This album was also co-engineered by longtime Guess Who engineer Brian Christian. It is a brilliant instrumental work, highlighting the importance of Bachman to the band he was in the process of leaving. A Don Troiano is listed twice here, and it's unclear if this is actually the future replacement for Bachman in the Guess Who, Domenic Troiano. Don Troiano performs guitar solos on "Pookie's Skuffle," "Take the Long Way Home," "Tin Lizzie," and "Noah" with his guitar in the right speaker side. On "Tally's Tune," Troiano is the middle solo. If you want to hear a "writer's voice," this is about the purest example. This album really should be combined with Jack Richardson's production of The Way They Were, the lost Guess Who album released in 1976, six years after the recording. Richardson would produce the Reunion album recorded in June of 1983, featuring Bachman on most of the Guess Who hits, notably the ones he never played on before. Since the band closed the Fillmore East in May of 1970, it would be almost 13 years before they would find themselves in each other's presence. Axe is the remnants of the Guess Who from 1970 as Bachman was getting ready to reunite with Guess Who founding member Chad Allen for Brave Belt, which included Rob Bachman and eventually C.F. Turner, culminating in Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The brilliance of Axe is that it gives a very clear look into the mind of this creative force, Randy Bachman. Had he stayed with the Guess Who, Burton Cummings' voice would probably be singing over some of the melodies and riffs on this outing. "La Jolla" sounds like a precursor to the elegant "Looking Out for #1," a song from BTO's Head On album which should've been a number one hit, but failed to hit the Top 40. Pieces like "Tin Lizzie" have acoustic guitar up front over pretty leads and subtle backing by the rhythm section. It is Bachman honing his production skills which would benefit Bachman-Turner Overdrive on their reign of seven Top 40 hits -- ironically, matching the number of hits the Guess Who had without his driving force. "Tally's Tune" also contains elements of BTO's "Looking Out for #1," precision guitar playing and good background music which Tai Bachman should put some words and melodies to. A good way to bring some attention to this important work. "Take the Long Way Home" is majestic, a potential hit had Burton Cummings' voice and lyrics had the opportunity to add their flavors. Axe is a hit songwriter in a different setting; there is no "Love Is Blue" or "Frankenstein" monster instrumental hit here, just fine playing by an inventive musician. The jazzy "Suite Theam" on side two has the only hint of vocals, and it gives way to the nine-minute 43-second "Noah," which is a complete turnaround, baring the future sound that would become a big part of BTO.
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AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione