Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Guess Who - 1972 - Live at the Paramount

The Guess Who 
1972 
Live at the Paramount



01. Albert Flasher 2:31
02. New Mother Nature 4:18
03. Glace Bay Blues 2:51
04. Runnin' Back To Saskatoon 6:16
05. Pain Train 6:10
06. American Woman 16:52
07. Truckin' Off Across The Sky 7:03

Cd Version:
01. Pain Train
02. Albert Flasher
03. New Mother Nature
04. Runnin' Back to Saskatoon
05. Rain Dance
06. These Eyes
07. Glace Bay Blues
08. Sour Suite
09. Hand Me Down World
10. American Woman
11. Truckin' Off Across the Sky
12. Share the Land
13. No Time"

Recorded live at the Paramount Theater, Seattle, Washington, May 22, 1972.
Released August 1972

Burton Cummings: Lead Vocals, Piano, Flute, Guitar and Harmonica
Kurt Winter: Lead Guitar, Backing vocals
Don McDougall: Guitar, Backing vocals
Jim Kale: Bass, Backing vocals
Garry Peterson: Drums, Backing vocals




The Guess Who just released an expanded version of Live at the Paramount. The new disc features new liner notes and photos, plus six bonus tracks, for a total of 75 minutes of great music. Originally recorded over two nights at the Seattle venue, this album dispelled any previous notions that they were `just a pop band.' Paramount showed in no uncertain terms that The Guess Who could rock with the best of them. One listen to the 17-minute rendition of "American Woman," "Pain Train" or "No Time" makes that point perfectly clear. The album has stood up to the test of time, and remains one of the most popular in the band's catalog.
For the new CD, the producers went back to the original 16-track master tapes from the first show (the second night was deemed "a waste of tape") and remastered the whole shebang. The songs were restored to their original order in the set, and the sound quality couldn't be better. Most of the stage banter between songs has been restored as well. The Paramount shows were two of the first to feature new guitarist, Don McDougall, and he fit in perfectly. His vocals and guitar work added a lot to the group, and he brought in additional songwriting abilities to boot.
Starting with an blistering version of "Pain Train," the album gets off to a rocking start as soon as you hit the play button. The song's a showcase for Kurt Winter's searing guitar licks, and he really lets loose. The band played three new songs during the show, the first of which was "Runnin' Back to Saskatoon." Critics considered the song a bold move at the time, because the chorus reads like a lesson in Canadian cities. Be that as it may, the one thing that you can't argue with is that it's a great song and a longtime favorite among fans.
Up next is the first of the bonus tracks (and a personal favorite), "Rain Dance." Unfortunately, the song sounds a bit anemic here--suffering from either a poor mix, or just a lackluster performance. The segue into "These Eyes" doesn't help. To go from a rocker like "Rain Dance" into a pop ballad just doesn't work. The band stays in a retrospective mood for the next few songs--"Glace Bay Blues" and vocalist Burton Cummings' solo spotlight, "Sour Suite." Fans who owned the original vinyl will notice the intro to "Glace" is louder than it was originally.
From this point on, the CD rocks. "Hand Me Down World" is a bit slower than the studio version, but still sounds great. The medley of "American Woman" and "Truckin' Off Across the Sky" was the highlight of the original album, and the same holds true here. The big difference is the intro to "Truckin'." The original had a different solo overdubbed at the beginning of the song. The new CD has no overdubs at all, so the song will sound noticeably different to those who were familiar with the original.
"Share the Land" also sounds great, but the hurried tempo in which it's played makes you think that they're just playing it because they have to. The CD comes to a close with a killer version of "No Time." The only things missing from the original vinyl are the stage banter from the end of the album (where Burton says "Seattle! Seattle, Washington!") and the lyrics. The stage banter was apparently taken from the second night. As for the lyrics, the producers opted for new liner notes and photos instead (the photos that were in black and white on the original sleeve are now in color). Live at the Paramount is a perfect example of taking a great album and making it even better.

The August 2000 reissue of Live at the Paramount on the Buddha label has 13 songs, the whole 75 minutes of music from the first of two shows, and provides the best explanation of how the Guess Who endured as a major concert draw years after their biggest hits were behind them; when they were spot-on, as they were that night, they gave an exciting show.

Remixed and remastered properly, this is now a killer concert album, showing off the double lead guitar attack that was a hallmark of their live sound in blazing glory, energizing even familiar songs like "New Mother Nature," and Burton Cummings near the peak of his form with the band as a singer. Surprisingly, the songs that were left off of the original LP included several hits, both vintage ("These Eyes," "No Time") and relatively recent ("Rain Dance," "Share the Land"), though the highlight is "Sour Suite," which is a dazzling showcase for Cummings as a singer and pianist.

The remixing also helps the material that was on this album originally, pumping up the volume on the bluesy jam that opens "American Woman," which also sounds a lot better (and is worth hearing in the 15 minute jam version featured here). "Share the Land" comes off better here than its official version, set ablaze by Kurt Winter's and Don McDougal's guitars and a spirited vocal performance.
by Bruce Eder

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