Friday, May 19, 2006

Bachman Cummings Songbook: A Review

Bachman Cummings Songbook is an interesting idea: a greatest hits collection from three different, yet related, acts: The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive (BTO) and Burton Cummings solo career. This has some pluses and minuses.

From the plus perspective, it never gets boring. You have 30 or so minutes of Guess Who, then the CD switches gears and you have 20 minutes of BTO before the CD finishes off with 20 minutes of Burton Cummings. The three different sets are unique enough that you don't get bored listening for 70 minutes, yet similar enough that the collection doesn't seem disjointed.

The negative has more to do with what's not here than what is. The Randy Bachman set is incomplete to say the least. As a long time Randy Bachman fan I would have loved to see Brave Belt's Dunrobins Gone, his solo Prairie Town, and Union's Mainstreet U.S.A. on this collection. And all that is without the obvious BTO that's missing: Take it Like a Man, Rock is My Life and this is My Song, Roll On Down The Highway, Blue Collar, Down To The Line, Gimme Your Money Please &tc...

While we are discussing what's missing, some of the more obscure Guess Who hits, such as Rain Dance, or some more Burton Cummings, the gorgeous Dream of a Child being the obvious choice, would have been a nice addition. Again the list could get lengthy, and what it boils down to is the negative aspects of this CD is that it's not CD's. It would have been nice to special edition this set, with a 2 CD option for those of us who want more.

All that said, this is a great collection that will hopefully make that trek to the cottage this long weekend a little better. My complaints are mere quibbles, and it is clear that what this CD represents is a setlist for the Bachman Cummings live show. It does the job well, as one listen makes me think it's time I caught these two live again.

The packaging is also very good, with Burton Cummings commenting on every song, plus words to the songs. The only thing missing is Bachman's commentary on the BTO songs. Instead Cummings directly comments on all songs, his and Bachman's. Again, that is mere quibbling, and more than made up by the CD itself (right), which looks like an old record: a great touch.

Song list:

Guess Who Songs
These Eyes
American Woman
Albert Flasher
No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature
No Time
Share The Land

Sour Suite (a commercial for the Wheatfield Soul Album)

BTO Songs
Let It Ride
Takin' Care Of Business
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
Hey You
Lookin' Out For No. 1

Burton Cummings Songs
Stand Tall
My Own Way To Rock
I'm Scared
Break It To Them Gently
I Will Play A Rhapsody

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Canadian CD's: This weeks releases

Canadian CD's In Stores Today

Ron Sexsmith - Time Being

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pearl Jam in Toronto

Veteran Seattle rockers Pearl Jam open their world tour in support of their new, self titled CD tonight in Toronto.

Starting tonight, Toronto gets a big, personal thank you from Pearl Jam as they kick off their 2006 world tour with two dates this week at the Air Canada Centre...

The Seattle quintet, rounded out by vocalist/guitarist Eddie Vedder, guitarist Stone Gossard, drummer Matt Cameron and guitarist Mike McCready, are touring in support of their eighth studio album, a self-titled, 13-track project released last week.

They have been selective about where they will play on this tour. Ament says they're not playing "places they should be," such as Texas, Florida, and parts of Northern Europe.

It seems pretty weighty then, that they've not only committed themselves to two Toronto shows (the only Canadian dates), but have decided to launch the entire tour here...
If I had a wish, it would be for those in attendance tonight to get a repeat performance of this:

Pearl Jam w/ Robert Plant : Chicago House of Blues 10-5-05 - Fool in the Rain.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Neil Young's Living With War In Stores Now

Neil Young's newest effort, Living with War, was released initially on teh internet. Recorded in a matter of weeks, and quick-released due to it's timely political subject matter, Living WIth War was never given an authoritative release date. Instead we were told that it would be released " soon as they can be manufactured with a retail release estimated to be sometime between May 5th and May 15th."

I can now verify that it is available in stores, as it was at HMV at Cambridge mall this morning.

Canadian CD's: This weeks releases

In stores today:

The Salads - The Big Picture
Neil Young - Living With War

International CDs of note:

Paul Simon - Surprise
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Canadian CD's: This weeks releases

In stores today:

The Salads - The Big Picture
Neil Young - Living With War

International CDs of note:

Paul Simon - Surprise
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium.

Neil Young - Living With War: Review

Neil Young's anti-Iraq/ anti-Bush CD Living With War was first made available on the internet. It's an interesting idea releasing a CD as streaming audio. It is, in a way, like releasing a whole album to radio. You can't save it, can't skip through the tracks. What you can do is listen to it in order. It is a nice way to offer fans and potential fans a listen to your CD, without giving it to them. The only complaint I have about the system, and it's a brand new idea so it's fair that something won't work that well, is you can't forward or rewind. Especially forwarding through tracks I don't particularly like would be a nice option. Rewind would be a treat, especially to us amateur reviewers who may want to re-hear something

1 After The Garden - Like this song a lot. It's typical Neil the Grungemaster.
2. Living With War - Another piece that's not bad, typical Neil sounding. Has a drone sound to it that I know Neil likes, me less so. Not bad, not a classic.
3. Restless Consumer - Yawn! The first song I flat out don't like, the basic sound of the album hasn't changed.
4. Shock and Awe - Hey, I can understand the lyrics. Ohh, biting satire:

Our chief was landing on the deck
The sun was setting on a golden photo op
Back in the days of "mission accomplished"
Thousands of bodies in the ground
Brought home in a boxes to a trumpet's sound

Lyrics available here, to those who want to read them.

The plan was to song by song review this, but I'm having a hard time saying much except, sounds like the last song. Thus, I'm going to stop here and give more general impressions. Every song reminds me of an older Neil Young song but I can't quite place it. It's in the dirty guitar sound and tempo, which is the same for each song.

It ends, however, with a nice, acappella, gospel version of America The Beautiful. Unfortunately it is song ten before a gear change happens, too late to salvage the work as a whole.

Bottom line is if you are a big enough Neil Young fan, you will probably love this. If you are a marginal fan, but are strongly anti-Iraq/anti-Bush, this CD is probably for you. The rest would, I think, want to leave it alone. It's not that it's bad, it's that it is tiresomely repetitive.

For that, God Bless Neil Young. I am an avid complainer of celebrities and their political rants, a charter member of the shut up and sing club. But Young, by releasing such a highly political and controversial album, has put his money where his mouth is. I have a lot more patience for that than celebrities who speak where and when it's safe to do so, then do work that is also safe from backlash.

Track list:

1 After The Garden
2. Living With War
3. Restless Consumer
4. Shock and Awe
5. Families
6. Flags of Freedom
7. Let's Impeach the President
8. Lookin' For A Leader
9. Roger and Out
10. America The Beautiful

The hardcopy CD will be available in stores " soon as they can be manufactured with a retail release estimated to be sometime between May 5th and May 15th." Possibly it is in stores near you now, if not wait a week and it will be.