Back before it was “cool” to act like you didn’t care, before there was punk rock, new wave, grunge or indie rock, bands prided themselves in kicking major rock ‘n’ roll ass! Songs were about hanging out, driving down the highway in search of good times, fine ladies and kind bud. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the photo on back cover of The Best of Bachman Turner Overdrive says it all. Bassist C.F Turner is grabbing the mike, fist pumped in the air, Randy Bachman is mid-solo leaning over he crowd, Tim Bachman has his guitar slung behind him “Elvis style” and is leading the crowd in a hand clapping session, drummer Rob Bachman is caught in mid-head bang, his permed afro shimmering under the hot lights.
BTO is best remembered for songs like “Takin’ Care of Business”, “Let It Ride”, and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”. The rest of the songs on The Best of BTO are best forgotten. The first two songs, “Gimme Your Money Please” and “Blue Collar”, are dreadfully painful and sound like a second-rate REO Speedwagon trying to play blues-inspired rock. But track three starts with THAT RIFF, that instantly recognizable riff, and by the time the drums kick in BTO has got you were they want you. Stealing, or perhaps “inspired by” Chuck Berry and the Kingsman, “Takin’ Care of Business”, uses all of rock’s clichés and uses them well. From the cheesy hand claps to the breakdown filled with howls and shouts of “all right!”, this song embodies the essence of white people trying to get down. After that high point the CD dips into “Let It Ride”, which sounds like an out take from a bad spaghetti western. This was BTO’s first top 40 hit. I swear it sounds like Blood Sweat and Tears singer David Clayton-Thomas backed by Anne and Nancy Wilson of Heart, on a bad day.
“You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”, was BTO’s biggest hit, and it was only released under duress from the band’s record label. Originally recorded for the benefit of Randy’s brother Gary, who stutters, the song was supposed to be an affectionate joke between the brothers and never meant to be released to the public. Like Roger Daltry’s vocal affectation in “My Generation”, Randy’s “bbbbaaaabby” managed to lift a relatively generic rock song to #1 on the charts. The rest of The Best of Bachman Turner Overdrive, doesn’t benefit from Randy’s stuttering delivery. Alternating between watered down Southern rock and blues rock, BTO never quite manages to take care of business the way it needs to be taken care of.