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Road Food/Power in the Music

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Average Rating
★★★★☆
(5 Reviews)

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  • Yes, what you may have read about the sound quality of the 4 two-albums-on-one-CD reissues of Guess Who RCA-era albums is true. The sound is not quite up to the standard of original CD reissues. But, you can compensate fairly well with a graphic equalizer or bass and treble controls on your stereo system. (Of course, you probably can’t do much about the sound when playing on a portable CD player these days, since some marketing genius decided that bass-boost was the only tone control that anyone needs anymore.) But what about the actual muusic offered here? Well, the first album is “Road Food,” the band’s suprise comeback hit of 1974. I still find that it is simply the best album they ever did. Every song is quality material. This reissue returns the songs to their original LP sequence, which is something of a plus. (For some reason, the original reissue put the LP side 2 songs first, just as the cassette version did. I suppose that was to draw attention to the top 10 hit “Clap for the Wolfman.”) Though the material here is mostly about their adventures as an endlessly touring band, the lyrics are light years ahead of the usual “the road is hell” stuff written for previous albums. This is a band having a good time, and the music reflects it. “Straighten Out” and “Don’t You Want Me” (an improvement over the original from “Rockin’”) are flat-out joyus fun. You wish that you could be there while it’s being committed to tape. If you can’t find a copy of the original “Road Food” used somewhere, this is the next best thing. 5 stars for “Road Food.” The second LP is their final RCA offering, “Power in the Music.” This time the band seems to be getting too pretentious for its own good. Most of the songs are decent material, but Dom Troiano’s jazzy guitar just seemed to sterilize the material on the 2 albums that he played on. Yes, he’s a good musician, but he just didn’t fit in for me. “Rich World, Poor World” and “Power in the Music” always seemed a bit embarrasing to me. They lacked the feeling that the lyrics seemed to be trying to extract from your soul. “Rosanne” (the first single) was half of a great tune, and “When the Band was Singing “Shakin’ All Over’” (the second single) has always been an intresting bit of nostalgia, but ultimately falls short of the band’s stunning first hit that it refers to. I’ve always found it telling that the band never performed any songs from the 2 Troiano albums during their various reunion tours later. Only 3 stars for “Power in the Music.” But, if you really want to get it (as any true fan would), this is the only place you can get it on CD. By the way, the CD offers the entire package of LP covers and inserts, a plus if you like those kinds of things. Note the covers of the original LP’s; they seem to betray their contents. “Road Food” has the band in real rock & roll jeans and t-shirts, while “Power in the Music” shows the band dressed up in the standard slick leisure suits, more akin to disco than rock. Sadly, there is no additional written material with the CD, as previous remastered CD’s of Guess Who included.

    Posted on January 9, 2010