August 3, 2012

guess_who Remember The Guess Who? They were always a very underrated band, certainly a very popular and successful late-60’s/early-to-mid ’70s band. Their music brings back a lot of fond memories; here are a songs you’re all bound to remember as well. Enjoy!

15. No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature – great memories from 1970, love the Fender Rhodes piano featured in NMW, very distinctive. I hear this song and I think of a very cute high school classmate named Pam Mullen; I was absolutely in love with her but was too much of a geek to tell her so! Can’t help but wonder how her life turned out…

14. Share The Land. This tune reminds me of October 1970 and weekend Tewksbury Teen Theatre Workshop rehearsals playing Alfred Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” with Maryann Plunkett. She ended up doing Broadway and I actually got to see her after one of her performances there. God, she was heads and tails abover everyone else at that time, and boy, you could tell! She also did a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, as I recall. Who could ever think The Great White Shank would ever share the stage with such greatness?

13. Hand Me Down World. Always liked this tune.

12. Bus Rider – a very rockin’ Burton Cummings vocal. I’d dedicate it to my sister-in-law, but she refuses to ride the Phoenix bus system!

11. No Time. This back before Randy Bachman left the band. They had a little more commercial “pop” sound then, but it was still a great tune. I remember my brother Mark and I playing that 45 over and over.

10. Your Nashville Sneakers – from their 1972 album Rockin’ – still one of my all-time favorite albums. I remember Mark and I picking it up at Hampton Beach for 99 cents. We took it home and absolutely fell in love with it – played it for days on end. We worked this tune into our band Top Priority‘s wedding/dance repertoire immediately, and our keyboard player Jerry “Keys” Palma played it great. Great memories!

9. Clap For The Wolfman. “It’s all accordin’ to how your boogaloo situation stands, y’understand?”. Sure, it’s a stupid song, but Burton Cummings’ vocal is really solid here. He was one of the best, as far as I’m concerned one of the top 5 vocalists ever in rock n’ roll.

8. Undun. Great memories of me and my friend Paul Porcella back in 1969. The song came out in the fall, same time as The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

7. Hang On To Your Life. It’s just a very cool song. 1970 psychedelic during the psychedelic era.

6. American Woman. Undoubtedly their best known tune – great riff. I like it too, and wore out the grooves on the 45 when it came out in early 1970. Boy, what memories this song brings back!

5. Rain Dance – this was such a cool song, has a great vibe. “Where’d you get the gun, John?”

4. Star Baby – I remember this tune from 1974, working at Liberty Mutual driving a Ford Torino station wagon between Burlington and Boston twice a day to drop off mail. Good times. Their last top 40 hit, I believe. Features a GREAT Kurt Winter solo.

3. Sour Suite. Don’t remember when it came out – 1971? – but it’s a very “November”-sounding tune to me – very stark, lonely, and haunting. I like it a lot, makes me think of of bare trees and brown oak leaves on a chilly New England winter morning. A magnificent Burton Cummings performance, particularly love the cellos. “Whatever happened to homes as opposed to houses… it’s just like 46201. There’s definitely got to be a few small changes made…”

2. So Long, Bannatyne. Don’t know why I like this song so much, but it’s kinda bluesy, and a good one. Sounds very oh-so-Canadian to me! For the band it was autobiographical; from a comment on the YouTube video:

They are singing about their success. Kurt Winter used to live in the apartment building in the album cover on Bannatyne Ave. Then when they started making money, he bought the house on the other side of the cover on Chevrier Blvd. Its the house he lived in until he died. He was an awesome guitar player in the best band ever.

Can’t disagree with that – Kurt Winter was one of my favorite all-time favorite guitarists.

1. Heartbroken Bopper. I know it’s not one of their better-known songs, but I just love it. What a riff. I remember deciding one day in 1979 to break up with my then-girlfriend while listening to this very song. Not sure if that was the best decision at the time, but…

Honorable mention: Three more tunes from 1972’s “Rockin” LP: Don’t You Want Me – play it loud and listen to the lyrics, they’re hysterical. Also, the band’s respectful treatment of Phil Phillips’ classic, Sea Of Love, and a fun, rousing send-up of Johnny Horton’s old hit Running Bear. Three classic tunes from a truly classic album.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:43 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Viv, the video played beulitfaluy on my email courtesy of hotmail active view. Did you mean you were having trouble with it showing on the blog? It does start out with a black screen, just the print lyrics, to the chorus lines when the color explosions begin. You might ask another friend of mine on WordPress: ptl10 on Clickablessing she is very computer-savvy! (You would enjoy her acquaintance anyway you two have a lot in common:) I can share more about that later. < PM

    Comment by Viviana — September 16, 2012 @ 4:19 am

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