Saturday, April 12, 2014


If all the BTO hubbub at the recent Juno awards whetted your appetite, here's the group's biggest album, now in deluxe edition.  It isn't overly stuffed, just the original album on disc one, with eight live cuts on disc two, 33 minutes total.  Not Fragile is the album that took the band over the top, containing the hit You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, number one in various countries around the globe, and turned them into international stars.  Not bad for a scrappy, no-nonsense hard-rockin', hard-touring group from Canada.

There's no great art to BTO, just guitar, a band that rocks, and catchy tunes.  Randy Bachman had the knack for making basic songs memorable, and even the heaviest stuff here gets its fair share of hooks.  They get called a hard rock band, but given what has come since in the metal world, that phrase doesn't really fit anymore.  Sure, the power chords and plodding tempo of title cut Not Fragile gets closer to Black Sabbath, but there's far more melody on the rest of the stuff.  What it was then was perfect for the new touring world of hockey rinks, and that's where BTO cleaned up, hundreds of gigs each year.  Fred Turner, as always, handled the tougher songs, while Bachman took the handled the verse-chorus-verse things.  One of the best parts of their music was the fancy guitar Bachman could add, such as the delicate acoustic work on Rock Is My Life, This Is My Song.  There are nice jazzy moments, heard on the live cuts too, which help push the music above the many generic rock bands of the time. 

Roll On Down The Highway is another nice one, again with great guitar, another excellent single that doesn't get the props it deserves these days, relegated to second status after You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet.  Album cuts Freewheelin', Sledgehammer and Blue Moanin' all have their charms as well.  Now largely overlooked in the pantheon of rocks gods in the U.S., where they were multi-platinum huge in 1974, at least Canada continues to do right by them, Hall-of-Famer's from our fair land.

No comments:

Post a Comment