In August of 1999, I had a chance to see The Guess Who in an outdoor concert in Wisconsin. Although Cummings wasn’t there, they put on a spectacular show. They sounded as good or better than Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers did on their summer tour. They are a band that nobody really knows anything about. They are the kind of band that most people have only heard of. However, their songs are forever installed into the world of classic rock. When I told friends about the concert, their first remark was: ” oh, what do they sing?” That is a question commonly asked by most people. Almost every time, they respond by saying: “oh, they sang that?” or ” oh I love that song, that was them?” The Guess Who are extremely under-appreciated, this cd is great, and to a real classic rock fan, a must have.
Fans of powerful rock riffs, melodic fist-pumping ballads and heavy harmonies got yanked to the max in 1990 when Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw (vocalist/guitarist of Styx), Jack Blades (vocalist/bassist/songwriter of Night Ranger) and drummer Michael Carellone joined forces to form the super group Damn Yankees. This CD is a reissue of their second (and final) album, originally released on the Warner Bros. record label in 1992. When released, the album peaked as high as #22 on the Billboard 200 chart, and spawned a number of charting singles, including the title track and ”Where You Goin’ Now,” ”Silence Is Broken” and ”Mister Please.”
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Unlike many 60s groups, the Guess Who’s sound is summarized by its album titles: “Canned Wheat,” “Wheatfield Soul,” “Share the Land.” Theirs was a hard-rocking, wide-open sound that swept over the 1969-70 music scene like cool Canadian air.The first six songs (which comprised the first side of the original RCA Victor LP) are classic rock standards: Randy Bachman’s rat-a-tat guitar opening of 1970’s #1 “American Woman” (which withstood a flat Lenny Kravitz remake), the brisk jazz flair and flute of “Undun,” Burton Cummings’ surprisingly soulful growls on “Laughing” and “These Eyes.” These songs remain fresher on oldies radio than, say, the communal sentiments of “Share The Land” or the pretentious “Hang On To Your Life.”This set could’ve benefitted from including later hits like “Albert Flasher” (and even “Shakin’ All Over” from the band’s first incarnation). But these are included on 1990’s 2CD “Track Record” set. This budget-priced “Best Of The Guess Who” remains in print nearly 30 years after its release because it captures a solid, workmanlike rock band at its peak. Recommended.
With a flurry of best-selling rock hits over a short spate of several years, the Canadian group “Guess Who” topped the charts and were on the “A” list for concerts and gigs. Then, seemingly as quickly as they had burst on the popular music scene at the close of the 1960s, they were gone, evaporated from the scene as the group disintegrated and went in several separate directions at the same time. Yet there is no denying the sheer hit-producing power they possessed, or the magically rock music they left behind as a memory of their brief flirtation with super stardom. Many of their best hits are here, from “These Eyes” to “Laughing”, from “Undun” to “No Time”, from “No Sugar Tonight” to “Hand Me Down World”. Yet, there are many more worthwhile cuts on this collection. Also included here are some provocative lyrics and social commentary, as with both the songs listed above and some of their most memorable work, as in “Hang Onto Your Life”, Share the Land”, and their most phenomenal and most enduring song, “American Woman”, which was a thinly disguised broadside at the blatant hypocrisy of American values in the face of the Vietnam War and the widespread social injustice so controversially debated in the late 1960s, about the time of the urban riots across the country. Incidentally, they used the euphemism of the “American Woman” to illustrate how Lady Liberty, the Statue of Liberty standing in New York City’s harbor, was a hypocritical symbol of an arrogant America gone crazy. It is song that is consistently played, and one many of us hear almost daily. Nice collection of the hits of one of the best groups to have come out of the turbulent sixties. Enjoy
Its really a shame that the Guess Who did not get more notoriety. Whereas they were not together for a very long, the group put out some great hits like American Woman, Share The Land, No Time, Undun, and No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature. Some excellent singing by Burton Cummings. One minute he’s belting out a rocker, another he’s singing a soulful ballad. The instrumental support and arrangements are grade a as well.If you are a fan of music from the sixities or seventies you owe it to yourself to pick up the greatest hits collection.
Every track is a masterpiece. It’s the kind of album that I play again and again, and never tire of. It’s an album that I take on every road trip, and play every time. Truth be told, although The Guess Who were a great band, most of their albums were uneven. This collection, however, is masterful, all the great tracks from their early albums (most with Randy Bachman) collected together and thus made irresistible. The early Guess Who combined great lyrics, great Who style music and soulful singing. Indeed, Burton Cummings is probably the most underrated vocalist of the rock era, his passionate emotive style makes Joe Cocker sound like Bob Dylan (check out `No Time’). Best single track is `No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature’. Without a doubt one of the greatest albums of the era, all fans of sixties music should own it.