The Guess Who – American Woman / Share The Land (1970) [Reissue 2019]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 73:48 minutes | Front, Scans NOT included | 3,52 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/96 kHz | 73:05 minutes | Front Cover | 1,73 GB
2 LP on 1 SACD | Features Stereo and Quadrophonic Surround Sound | Vocalion # CDSML 8564
Though influenced by the British Invasion, The Guess Who were purely Canadian rockers. The band scored a string of Top Ten hits in the late ’60s and early ’70s, including the psychedelic-romantic smash “These Eyes” and the riff-rocking anthem “American Woman”. The band was a huge success in the States and even performed at President Nixon’s inaugural ball (with the acerbic “American Woman” conspicuously omitted from the set list). Burton Cummings’ throaty baritone vocals and guitarist Randy Bachman’s theatrical riffs gave the band their versatile sound – and their rocking classics sound as vital today as they did when they were first released. This Dutton Vocalion’s reissue combines a pair albums from 1970 “American Woman” and “Share The Land”, remastered from the Original Master tapes by Michael J. Dutton.
The Guess Who’s most successful LP, reaching number nine in America (and charting for more than a year), has held up well and was as close to a defining album-length statement as the original group ever made. It’s easy to forget that until “American Woman,” the Guess Who’s hits had been confined to softer, ballad-style numbers – that song (which originated as a spontaneous on-stage jam) highlighted by Randy Bachman’s highly articulated fuzz-tone guitar, a relentless beat, and Burton Cummings moving into Robert Plant territory on the lead vocal, transformed their image. As an album opener, it was a natural, but the slow acoustic blues intro by Bachman heralded a brace of surprises in store for the listener. The presence of the melodic but highly electric hit version of “No Time” (which the band had cut earlier in a more ragged rendition) made the first ten minutes a hard rock one-two punch, but the group then veers into progressive rock territory with “Talisman.” Side two was where the original album was weakest, though it started well enough with “969 (The Oldest Man).” “When Friends Fall Out,” a remake of an early Canadian release by the group, attempted a heavy sound that just isn’t sustainable, and “8:15” was a similar space filler, but “Proper Stranger” falls into good hard rock groove. In August of 2000, Buddha Records issued a remastered version of this album with a bonus track from a subsequent session, “Got to Find Another Way.” Ironically, American Woman was the final testament of the original Guess Who – guitarist/singer Randy Bachman quit soon after the tour behind this album; the group did endure and even thrive (as did Bachman), but American Woman represented something of an ending as well as a triumph.
Share The Land
Recorded in the immediate aftermath of lead guitarist Randy Bachman’s departure from the group, Share the Land was a better album than anyone could rightfully have expected, and it was the biggest selling original album in their entire output, appearing in the wake of “American Woman” and lofted into the Top 20 (with a lot of advance orders) with a pair of hits of its own. The music ranges from the catchy, anthem-like title tune to proto-metal excursions, with coherent digressions into blues and country (“Comin’ Down Off the Money Bag”/”Song of the Dog”). Burton Cummings is in excellent voice on the lead vocals, and the other members provide some of the finest harmonies ever heard on a Guess Who album, on “Do You Miss Me Darlin’” and “Three More Days.” The new double lead guitar team of Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw gave the band a greater range than they’d ever had, moving freely in various rock and blues idioms, and the rhythm section was as solid as ever. That having been said, however, the music hasn’t necessarily aged well (or, perhaps, those who’ve achieved a maturity level beyond age 18 have aged past it) – listening to details such as Winter’s shouts of “Freedom!” and “Paint me a picture” on “Three More Days,” one can’t escape the thought that at least half of this album not only wasn’t aimed at the overachieving end of the high school and college populations, but was aggressively not aimed at them. And from here on, beyond whatever virtuosity the members brought to their sound, it seemed as though the group was working from formula rather than inspiration. The fall 2000 reissue on the Buddha label features a high-resolution remastering, and includes a pair of very good lost numbers from the early sessions for the record, “Palmyra” and “The Answer,” featuring Bachman on guitar.
01. American Woman
02. No Time
04. No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature
05. 969 The Oldest Man
06. When Friends Fall Out
08. Proper Stranger
09. Humpty’s Blues / American Woman (Epilogue)
10. Bus Rider
11. Do You Miss Me Darlin’
12. Hand Me Down World
13. Moan for You Joe
14. Share the Land
15. Hang On to Your Life
16. Coming Down Off the Money Bag / Song Of The Dog
17. Three More Days
Tracks “01-09” is “American Woman” (LP ‘1970)
Tracks “10-17” is “Share The Land” (LP ‘1970).
Remastered from the Original Master tapes by Michael J. Dutton.