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Classic Album Set (8 CD box)
(Caroline) Out Now

Joe Geesin

joe geesin

bachman turner overdrive

Canadian rock band Bachman Turner Overdrive, also known as BTO, are synonymous with classic 70s rock and the hits 'Ain't Seen Nothing Yet' and 'Taking Care Of Business'.

They were formed in 1972 by Randy Bachman and Fred Turner from the ashes of country/soft rock band Brave Belt. During the 70s they released eight albums to much acclaim and radio airplay (the last two as BTO, without Randy Bachman), and the band have reformed and existed in various forms since, sometimes with other family members and without Bachman and/or Turner.

Those two aforementioned hits (two of many) are important culturally; Homer Simpson is a well documented fan, and who (at least in the UK) can forget Smashie & Nicey's association.

This set is those eight original albums, each in a card replica sleeve, with a booklet annotated by Malcolm Dome.

And from the first listen it's a damn fine album.

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Formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, guitarist/vocalist Bachman had originally played in The Guess Who in the sixties, before leaving to form Brave Belt with Guess Who vocalist/keyboard player Chad Allan and drummer Robbie Bachman (Randy's brother).

For their second album they were joined by bassist/vocalist Fred (C.F.) Turner, on Neil Young's advice. The second album also did not sell well and the band were dropped by their label.

Taking a rockier approach, the demos for third album ('Black Belt III') were picked up by Mercury and they changed their name to Bachman Turner Overdrive. Surnames were in and Overdrive was agreed upon as it suited the music.

The 1973 eponymous debut, released May that year, proved successful, with Turner's rough vocals leading the lion's share of the songs. Alongside Randy and Fred were Tim Bachman (rhythm, guitar) and drummer Robbie Bachman. Solid anthemic driving rock music, there were no hits (yet), with 'Blue Collar' reaching the lower end of the of the charts. Opener 'Give Me Your Money' features a catchy riff and a decent guitar solo. There's a hint of heavy country to 'Hold Back The Water', giving a Southern feel, and the aforementioned 'Blue Collar' is a gentler but commercial rock track.

Some pace changes and heavier tracks make for a solid debut that would go Gold the following year.

With Norman Durkee bolstering the line-up on piano, the second album followed the same year and was a more consistent and successful set. 'Blown' was a chunky opener, while 'Welcome Home' a more acoustic and smooth build to some rough and solid segments. 'Let It Ride' showed the more commercial side and was a hit single. Highlight though is the closing track 'Taking Care Of Business', a radio and live staple with catchy riff and rhythm. Love it.

1974s 'Not Fragile' (a tongue in cheek nod to the Yes 'Fragile' album title) saw Blair Thornton come in on guitar, providing a more duel lead style. Their only #1 album in the main US charts, it featured the hits 'Roll On Down The Highway' (an uptempo and uplifting track and 'Ain't Seen Nothing Yet', which you all know (or at least should do). The new guitar interplay style remains heavy yet more commercial.

1975s 'Four Wheel Drive' followed a similar line and was recorded quickly in under a week. This was largely due to the use of the previous album's leftovers and pressures from the label for a quick follow up that would later cause tensions in the band. The track 'Hey You' is well worth spinning a few times; it definitely stands out and was a hit in the US and Canada.

Released at the end of 75, fifth album 'Head On' was solid, if a little weaker, while there is some good guitar work here. The songs are typical BTO but do drift at times. A stand out rocker (and well worth checking out) is 'Take It Like A Man', featuring some stonking piano from Little Richard.

A compilation and Japanese/Canadian only live album later, and 'Freeways' followed in 1977. While it features some good work, the Allmanesque solo from Thornton a highlight, it is widely considered a weak album as the band felt rushed and forced to put new material out quickly. Turner felt a sideman and Bachman admitted it was rushed. That said, 'My Wheels Won't Turn' is one of a couple of tracks as good as anything BTO would ever do.

Following Randy's departure the band continued with April Wine bassist Jim Clench coming in and Turner moving to guitar. As opener 'I'm In Love' shows, the sound is a little heavier and upbeat. The crisper sound helps make for a good and enjoyable album, but it's not classic BTO. Far from it.

Much the same can be said of 1979s 'Rock n' Roll Nights', a decent and polished album with some good tracks ('Rock n' Roll Hell' would be covered in altered form by Kiss in 1982). Several tracks were written or co-written by producer Jim Vallance.

A wonderful set that encompasses all the albums of the classic period, the good, bad and ugly. No extras (non-album single As and Bs, the Japan Tour live album), but if you want the straight albums this is as good as it gets, and well packaged too.

From the mid 80s onwards the band existed (toured and recorded) in various guises, including the classic 'Not Fragile' line-up, but this is the era everyone knows and expects.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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