ARTIST: The Guess Who
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 20: These Eyes (#6 US), Laughing (#10 US), No Time (#5 US), American Woman (#1 US, #19 UK), Hand Me Down World (#17 US), Share the Land (#10 US), Rain Dance (#19 US), Clap for the Wolfman (#6 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Shakin’ All Over, Undun, No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature, Albert Flasher, Star Baby
LINEUP: Core group in the US hit era: Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Jim Kale, Gary Peterson. Chad Allan was the original singer and leader. Greg Leskiw, Kurt Winter, Donnie McDougall, and Domenic Troiano all replaced Bachman (as a dual guitar set-up for the most part) after May 1970. Bill Wallace replaced Kale on bass in 1973.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Canadian group goes from Beat Group to Psychedelic Pop Rockers to Hippie Huggers to Pop Rockers in the span of a decade before the hits dried up and nostalgia was all they had.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: They could have been one-hit wonders in the US (“Shakin’ All Over hit #22 in 1965). After three records, original singer and leader Chad Allan left due to voice issues, and Burton Cummings took over as lead singer. The band also emphasized Randy Bachman’s guitar work, and the combo of Cummings’ piano and voice and Bachman’s guitar gave the band a run of smashes in up until Bachman left in 1970. You know them, thanks to classic rock radio.
After Bachman left, Cummings and the band kept plugging away, adding guitarists and changing the bass player. Successful at first with some hippified songs, the band soon ground down, let to a novelty hit with Wolfman Jack as its last breath.
The 39 tracks here include several post-Bachman. While the Guess Who were really a singles band (their albums were spotty and some of the experimental things didn’t work at all), the drop off in quality is noticeable. Only a couple cuts on the back half are worth having for casual fans.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band name is trademarked by Jim Kale and Gary Peterson, the original bassist and drummer, as the band didn’t register the trademark in Canada. Kale and Peterson have three other dudes and still tour as the Guess Who.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B-: An A- minus for the good tunes, but a big downgrade for the bloat. Other collections omit some songs that are worthy, especially a few from the Chad Allan days.