The Guess Who #10
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- Released: July 24, 2012
- Originally Released: 1973
- Label: Iconoclassic
- 1.Take It Off My Shoulders
- 3.Miss Frizzy
- 4.Glamour Boy
- 5.Self Pity
- 6.Lie Down
- 7.Cardboard Empire
- 8.Just Let Me Sing
- 9.Glamour Boy [Remix]
Personnel: Don McDougall (vocals, guitar); Burton Cummings (vocals, piano); Bill Wallace (vocals); Kurt Winter (guitar); Garry Peterson (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Ralph Chapman.
This album should have been called "10 Approximately," as it is hard to get a real handle on the comings and goings of the Guess Who and which albums they include in that "ten" number at any place in time since their vague inception. Is The Best of the Guess Who or Shakin' All Over with Chad Allan part of the intended legacy? This band was so in flux that the addition of Bill Wallace here signaled yet another major change; founding member Jim Kale would re-join drummer Garry Peterson in 1979 with their All This for a Song album after Burton Cummings, Peterson, longtime engineer Brian Christian, and producer Jack Richardson played the string out up to 1975's Power in the Music and Flavours albums. The music here is excellent, though, with Burton Cummings showing the yin to the yang of Bachman-Turner Overdrive's first release this same year, 1973. Randy Bachman took the hard edge with him, and Cummings is allowed to go into an Elton John piano ballad area. "Lie Down" hints that Tumbleweed Connection may have been playing on Cummings' turntable, and often. The boogie-woogie of "Musicione," the only song written by the five members of this ensemble, is about as far as the piano-centered group stretches. But this is Cummings in total control, and the album is consistently good despite his tendency toward self-indulgence. Jack Richardson's guiding hand does not get enough credit for keeping this crew on the straight and narrow. "Glamour Boy" is a brilliant poke at the glam of T. Rex, Mott the Hoople, and RCA's own labelmates for the Guess Who, Lou Reed and David Bowie. It is the only song on this album to be included on The Best of the Guess Who, Vol. 2. Though Cummings dominates this outing, writing and co-writing the majority of the tunes, the Bachman replacements have adjusted to the post-Bachman era, one example being "Cardboard Empire" by bassist Bill Wallace and guitarist Kurt Winter, which shows real style. On that particular tune, a Jefferson Airplane-like hook and Cummings' voice are joined by stunning guitar solos. Something totally out of place, though, is the inclusion of a remake of "Miss Frizzy," a rare Bachman/Cummings co-write from the abandoned follow-up to the American Woman album, eventually released on the 1976 compilation The Way They Were. It's shorter and features a more dominant piano than the 1970 original. This "Miss Frizzy" is nice, though the original band version has more charm and shows why Euclid's axiom is, once again, so appropriate: "The whole is equal to the sum of all the parts and is greater than any of the parts." Play this next to Bachman-Turner Overdrive II to see how the personalities truly went their separate ways. #10 is one of Cummings' most personal albums, a far cry from the previous outing, Artificial Paradise, which had him contributing to only four of the ten tracks. The singer gave Don McDougal, Winter, and Wallace the chance to spread their wings on that recording, their work between 1970's Share the Land and 1974's Road Food at a very mellow point here on #10. "Take It off My Shoulders," like "Lie Down," is straight from Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection phase. This band's home was Top 40 radio, and though Live at the Paramount got FM airplay, programmers unjustifiably considered them too unhip for the underground. This is where Burton Cummings really needed to slam home more great 45 RPMs. ~ Joe Viglione
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