Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Bachman-Turner Overdrive II

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Released when Mercury Records was still located in Chicago, IL, back in 1973, the second album from Bachman-Turner Overdrive was the first to break through in a big way. First the hit single "Let It Ride" went Top 25 circa March of 1974, then the anthem "Taking Care of Business" went Top 15 the summer of that year. By October they would top the charts with "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" from the follow-up LP, 1974's Not Fragile, but their seven chart songs were all made possible by this album and these two songs, "Let It Ride" and "Takin' Care of Business," in particular. "Let It Ride" features one of C.F. Turner's best vocals; keeping that gargle-with-Draino diesel sound down to a minimum, the song has two major guitar riffs, one a strum, the other from Led Zeppelin's 1970 "Immigrant Song," an inverted mutation of Randy Bachman's own "American Woman" riff which also hit in 1970. That "Takin' Care of Business," which was written solely by Randy Bachman and contains his vocals, as well as the Turner/Bachman co-write "Let It Ride" are light years ahead of the other six songs on this album is an understatement. Putting their minds to it and crafting hooky, radio-friendly music was something Bachman and Turner were quite capable of, but Tim Bachman's voice and writing on "Blown" and "I Don't Have to Hide" leave much to be desired. Randy Bachman sings on "Tramp," co-written with drummer Robbie Bachman, and "Welcome Home," both songs having the merit that he always cleverly injects, while "Stonegates" and "Give It Time" are total C.F. Turner singing his heavy essays. By the time Randy Bachman departed for 1978's Street Action and 1979's Rock N' Roll Nights, Turner's music was really all that was left, and it never progressed from these sludgy workouts. What is most fascinating about Bachman-Turner Overdrive II and the Guess Who's #10 is that both Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings were showing their propensity for self-indulgence. Without the balance each provided the other, Bachman's "Tramp" and Cummings' "Glamour Boy" failed to climb the charts substantially. Bachman-Turner Overdrive and the Bachman-less Guess Who both got seven songs each onto the Top 40 (with the Guess Who actually accruing six additional songs which should have got onto mainstream radio), all found on The Best of the Guess Who, Vol. 2. Still, Randy Bachman's work and musical intuition cannot be denied, and when he chose to chart, he did so in a big way. The two hits on this album and their follow-up, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," are staples on classic rock radio. The Guess Who went further into a light, poppy direction while Randy Bachman and company descended into heavy depths, the schizophrenia so obvious when listening to a disc like Bachman-Turner Overdrive II.

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