What with that undisputed Grandpappy of All Things Canuckrock turning 79 (!) on September 27, I thought it more than high time indeed to take a good hard look back at
Ten Reasons to Immediately Watch
BACHMAN & TURNER LIVE AT THE ROSELAND BALLROOM, NYC
1. Randy Bachman remains the greatest-living Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist …who still remains in Canada.
2. C.F. “Fred” Turner’s voice remains sounding, and I quote (many esteemed reviewers over the years), like a cross between a gravel truck and a cement mixer.
3. Although due to legal and/or sibling issues far, far too quibbling and lengthy to even begin to outline here that prevent its use in any way, shape, manner or form associated with this product or project as a whole, the “O” (as in Overdrive) happily remains more than present within Bachman & Turner’s guitar circuitry …if not on their logo, swag, kick drum head or even Live At The Roseland Ballroom packaging.
4. Nevertheless, it is true that you win The Bachman-Turner Award playing Rock Band 2 if for ninety seconds or longer you manage to maintain deployed, um, overdrive.
5. Although when composing “Let It Ride” he channeled no less than an Antonin Dvorak piano concerto, Randy forever after heeded John Fogerty’s backstage advice to “never play it on record,” and above all to keep it SIMPLE. So much so that in his autobiography called – perfectly – Takin’ Care of Business, the Bachman revealed “My secret BTO weapon, and no one knows this other than the band, was a gallon milk jug turned over and played in a galloping style. It simulated that Beatles (!) bongo sound. We had two tones: One with the cap off, and the other with the cap on.” And, I’m pleased to report that all these years and caps later said jug may be soundly digitized, but it gallops as heartily as ever all the way ‘round the Roseland.
6. WARNING! If you settle for the mere 57-minute PBS-televised Front Row Center cut of Bachman & Turner Live, you will be denied the chance to experience, among others, the full gravel ‘n’ cement glory of the band’s one and only true love ballad “Sledgehammer,” available only on the complete DVD and Blu-ray manifestation. And the rendition of the Hammer therein is every bit as emotionally savage as the version I was so lucky to have experienced first-hand at the Relentless Garage in London on June 7, 2010 I’ll have you all know.
7. Remarkably, even the encore presence of fellow Canucklehead Paul “Here For The Rest Of Our Lives” Shaffer as, um, Special Guest cannot dim the over-a-half-century-and-counting quiver behind Randy’s primordially powerful “Shakin’ All Over.” Really!
8. And speaking of the almighty Guess Who, their landmark “American Woman” magically appears four minutes and four seconds into the Roseland “Stayed Awake All Night” – right after Randy finishes beating off his sunburst Les Paul with one of Marc LaFrance’s stray drumsticks, that is – and in the ultra-patriotic kinda way that should impress even Burton Cummings (…to say nothing of Lenny Kravitz) (which I won’t).
9. Meanwhile, it quickly becomes apparent Bachman & Turner – particularly the former – downright invented that little-recognized, often poo-pooh’d whenever it is, socio-musical sub-genre known as, yep, Heavy Metalgum. Why, even a half-listen to Randy’s huge(ly infectious) choruses, complete with bountiful sing-along ba-ba-ba-baby’s, sha-la-la- la’s and even hi-de-hi, hi-de-ho’s prove he not only most unabashedly, unashamedly took Mr. Fogerty’s advice to heart but, to quote his grand new life anthem “That’s What It Is,” Things ain’t never gonna change, When you get into the game, That’s what it is, not what it ain’t, Do what you can, not what you cain’t, You gotta make the pieces fit, If that’s what it is, That’s what it is. Got it? Period.
10. So! If you haven’t yet watched, and joyously sung along to Bachman & Turner Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC then, well, to coin yet another vintage ballbuster, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’. Yet.