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This Week on my i-pod – I’m Coming Mr. Bachman

May 28th, 2006

Confession time. I don’t own an i-pod. (If anybody knows a better name for this feature, I would like to hear it). I use the term as a generic to mean MP3 player. I own an RCA Lyra 40 gig MP3 player. At least I did, until about 6 weeks ago when it stopped working. Two days ago, I plugged it in to my computer, smacked it on the desk a few times and voila! I am back in the MP3 business. For the past 6 weeks, I have been using a Sony portable CD player, although in fairness, it plays MP3s. So for the last while it has really been, this week in my CD player, which is an alright title. In that time I bought a few new CDs, four I think. The first thing I did when my MP3 player started working was not back it up (which I cursed myself daily for not doing in the past six weeks), but burn those new CDs onto my MP3 player. It makes no difference to you, I’m sure, but I felt like offering that story.

One of the CDs, the first one I burned, has been my favourite the past two weeks. It is the Bachman Cummings Songbook, a collection of songs from Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings’ three main careers: The Guess Who (Both), BTO (Bachman) and Burton Cummings solo material. The funny thing is, this collection works great because it fails to bore. By the time you are thinking, that’s about all the Guess Who I can take for one day, your listening to BTO. Nice change. Tired of BTO five songs in? That’s OK, here comes Burton Cummings. Simply put, the gear changes effectively keeps this CD interesting.

For a review, I offer this, which I did a few weeks ago on my Canadian music blog. In this spot, I’ll offer a few more random thoughts.

Guitar players often talk about the song, the one song that started it for them. Jimmy Page has Elvis’s Baby, Let’s Play House as the song that made him say “I have to be able to do that!” For me, it was BTO’s Takin’ Care of Business. Thus, Randy Bachman was my first guitar hero and I have been a Randy Bachman fan since I was 12 years old. This set then, brings back a lot of memories. There was these two guys in a band who lived up the street from me. They borrowed my copy of Four Wheel Drive and learnt to play Hey You in half an hour. First Rock song I learnt to play on my own? Let it Ride. (For that matter the only piano song I have ever learnt by ear is Cummings My Own Way To Rock.)

It strikes me, however, how much better these guys are separately. The BTO music is far better then the Guess Who stuff, as is the Cummings stuff. Songs like Break It To Them Gently, I’m Scared and I Will Play A Rhapsody are wonderful songs, that eclipse the best of the Guess Who stuff (and as I lament in my review, Dream of a Child is both gorgeous and missing). What is more remarkable is that the Guess Who stuff is excellent. And that, at the end of the day is what is so good about this collection. The weakest material is better than the best of most artists. And it’s Canadian eh? Who could ask for more?

This Week on my I-Pod

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