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Bachman-Turner Overdrive II
Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Mercury SRM-1-696
Released: January 1974
Chart Peak: #4
Weeks Charted: 75
Certified Gold: 5/9/74

Randy_BachmanThis four-man band from Vancouver may be short on flamboyance, but producer-guitarist Randy Bachman (formerly a mainstay of the Guess Who) has a sure sense of dynamics and tone. He brought B.T.O. from nowhere nine months ago with a pair of singles ("Blue Collar" and "Let It Ride") and two good-selling albums, while everyone followed flashier stars.

Guitar sounds dominate their albums, as they reverberate meanly and crash through the group's uncompicated material. Bachman plays lead with imagination and power, while brother Tim is growing into a solid second guitarist (a third brother, Rob, is the drummer, and bassist Fred Turner rounds out the group). Together, they sound like a more explosive but less articulate Creedence; Turner, Randy and Tim all seem to be using John Fogerty as their vocal model.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive - Bachman-Turner Overdrive II
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The album's "Welcome Home" (written and sung by Randy) is the band's most ambitious song. A musician's-eye view of the long-touring road to success and his mixed feelings when that success begins to come, it is alternately dominated by jazz-influenced picking and shattering chords. For the most part, B.T.O. is more noteworthy for the way it sounds than for what it says. Still, it's quite a sound.

- Bud Scoppa, Rolling Stone, 4/25/74.

Bonus Reviews!

Bachman-Turner Overdrive is a tight group featuring two brothers who both play lead guitar but aren't too competitive or too deferential to each other. The vocals, shared by the Bachmans and bassist C. F. Turner, have plenty of bravura, and the band comes on like a commando unit.

Randy Bachman has been quoted as saying, "We are totally into a basic type of 'beat' rock and roll." Every now and then Bachman's better instincts overpower him, and he begins to write material the reflects the quality of some of the tunes he did with the Guess Who when he was their captain. The closest he gets here is "Welcome Home," which is the best piece on the album. The verses are light and floating, the chorus heavy and hard. It ends with a tasty jazz guitar flight. Bachman-Turner Overdrive could do more of that kind of thing if they wanted to, but the band is happy and successful playing left hook/right cross style. Too bad; they're capable of much more.

- Joel Vance, Stereo Review, 7/74.

Everything that's good about rock is represented here: strong solo vocals by Randy Bachman; tight, three-part harmonies by the other members of BTO; clear, clean drumming by Rob Bachman; and songs like "Let It Ride" that combine all these ingredients. Uniformity of tempos allows the quartet to build in strength, with "Give It Time" recalling somewhat Creedence Clearwater Revival.

- Billboard, 1974.

Here's what those of us who once kind of liked the Guess Who always hoped they'd become, and if that sounds dumb to the rest of you, you're missing something. This may be crude as a ploughboy, but Randy Bachman has always had a way with the catchy riff, and Turner, I suppose, provides the overdrive. B+

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

This is excellent hard rock. * * *

- Larry Lapka, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

Every teenager in North America was aware of this record after its release, and the five opening notes of "Takin' Care of Business" can still make heads bob today. It also contains "Welcome Home," a jazzy homage to the rock life, and the Doobie Brothers-infuenced "Let It Ride." * * * * 1/2

- William Hanson, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

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