Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Street Action

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"For Love," which opens side two of the first post-Randy Bachman album by B.T.O., is that familiar strum that made two of their 1974 hits, "Let It Ride" and "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," so delightful. This is "Let It Ride" lite. "Madison Avenue" opens up with beautiful instrumentation, but C.F. Turner's growl has become overbearing by the time this record came around. While "Madison Avenue" has some pretty passages, what was really needed here was a singer/lyricist to bring these concepts home. The title track, "Street Action," isn't a bad idea, but the band drags to the point where it becomes painfully clear Randy Bachman added more than just his songwriting skills and musicianship: he added spirit and life. While Big Brother & the Holding Co. and the Doors had fun with their two sets each of post-superstar recordings -- Big Brother dipping into country-rock, the Doors adding some jazz -- B.T.O. chooses to beat their formula into the ground rather than have some fun, and it shows. Though better than the post-Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies band, or a post-Bowie Spiders From Mars ensemble, the plodding "You're Gonna Miss Me" is not the Roky Erickson classic. Indeed, had B.T.O. gone a bit more punk and less hard rock, the latter-day Randy and Tim Bachman albums might've had a shot. "The World Is Waiting for a Love Song" is just watered-down "Stormy Monday Blues," quite restrained when fans would've appreciated an all-out Led Zeppelin assault. "I'm in Love," which opens this album, is a tasty rocking blues number, much like early J.Geils Band or Boston's Duke & the Drivers. Not a bad direction for B.T.O., but they don't pull it off as cleverly as the two aforementioned maestros of that genre. "Down the Road" is an effects-laden attempt at re-writing "Roll on Down the Highway." That's preferable to "Takes a Lot of People," which sounds like an adequate bar band, and not much more. The post-Mark Farner version of G.F.R. called Flint did this a bit better. Isn't it interesting that two decades later Rob Bachman's nephew, Tai Bachman, could show his uncle a thing or two about creativity?

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