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Bachman-Turner Overdrive [BTO]

Read Bachman-Turner Overdrive's biography

Bachman-Turner Overdrive [BTO] - Freeways [Mercury Records SRM-1-3700] (1977)

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Bachman-Turner Overdrive [BTO]



Released: 1977
Label: Mercury Records
Catalog: SRM-1-3700
Pressing: Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria
Genre: Rock, Classic Rock

T R A C K L I S T:
01 Can We All Come Together
02 Life Still Goes On (I'm Lonely)
03 Shotgun Rider
04 Just For You
05 My Wheels Won't Turn
06 Down, Down
07 Easy Groove
08 Freeways
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Album Review

Joe Viglione []

Freeways was the final Randy Bachman album of the first BTO era, released in 1977 after their first of many ''greatest-hits'' collections put much of their chart activity in a tidy package on 1976's Best of B.T.O. (So Far). The price for Freeways fluctuates greatly, making the album one of the more collectible of the post-hit BTO era. A Swedish seller listed it at six dollars in April of 2002 while a N.Y. merchant had it at $24.99. At it went for $100.01 and $89.99. Rare and out of print, there is also a combo CD pairing this classic up with Bachman-Turner Overdrive II. ''Can We All Come Together'' isn't a bad album track, nor is C.F. Turner's ''Life Still Goes On (I'm Lonely),'' but there are no nuggest as found on Four Wheel Drive, Not Fragile, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, or even Head On. Everything flows nice enough, resulting in a consistent and easy-to-listen-to batch of songs; it's just that what's missing is the antagonism, the push and pull of Bachman's partnership with a Burton Cummings or someone else to vent his frustrations on -- the thing that makes for more interesting material. Having no one causing trouble or even the attitude to point fingers and get mad enough for another ''Hey You'' to creatively emerge, the band simply goes through the motions. ''Shotgun Rider'' is as passable as ''Bus Rider'' from the Guess Who's Share the Land album seven years earlier while ''Just for You'' might be the brightest track -- Randy's ''My Generation'' stuttering from ''You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet'' making its reprise. It's the closest thing to a potential hit, and has some real passion mixed with gliding guitar riffs. Seven of the eight compositions belong to Randy Bachman and, outisde of a few standouts, it's all very B-grade non-offensive rock. ''Wheels Won't Turn'' comes off like BTO's version of Steve Winwood during Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory, so ''Uninspired,'' which he was, and BTO are here. The wheels aren't turning, he's going ''Down, Down,'' and as the guitarist states in the title track ''Drivin' in a beat up car/The highway's long but we come so far'' (the title of the previous album). Rob Bachman, Blair Thornton, and C.F. Turner would try to take the legacy further on 1978's Street Action and the Jim Vallance-enabled Rock N' Roll Nights in 1979 with little success. In 1984, Tim Bachman, C.F. Turner, and Randy Bachman would team up with original Chad Allan & the Expressions/Guess Who drummer Garry Peterson to try to recapture the magic on the self-titled Bachman-Turner Overdrive album on Compleat Records/Polygram, after a live Reunion album from the Guess Who. Completists may want Freeways for their collection, ''Easy Groove'' is certainly a fun little ditty from Randy Bachman, but worth 100 dollars? -- only if you're the publisher willing to take a risk on possible future return.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Biography

Jason Ankeny []

Following his 1970 departure from the Guess Who, guitarist Randy Bachman recorded a solo album (Axe) and planned a project with ex-Nice keyboardist Keith Emerson (later canceled due to illness) before forming Bachman-Turner Overdrive in 1972. Originally called ''Brave Belt,'' the metal group was comprised of singer/guitarist Bachman, fellow Guess Who alum Chad Allan, bassist C.F. ''Fred'' Turner, and Randy's brother, drummer Robbie; after a pair of LPs (Brave Belt I and Brave Belt II), Allan was replaced by another Bachman brother, guitarist Tim, and in homage to the trucker's magazine Overdrive, the unit became BTO.

While their self-titled 1973 debut caused little impact in the U.S. or the band's native Canada, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II was a smash, netting a hit single with the anthemic ''Takin' Care of Business.'' Prior to the release of 1974's Not Fragile, Tim Bachman exited the group to begin a career in production, and was replaced by Blair Thornton; the album was a chart-topping success, and notched a number one single with ''You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet.''

After 1977's Freeways, Randy Bachman left the group for a solo career and formed another group, Ironhorse. Bachman-Turner Overdrive continued on in his absence with replacement Jim Clench for two more albums, Street Action and Rock n' Roll Nights (both 1978), eventually changing their name to simply BTO. At the tail-end of the decade, the band dissolved, but in the 1980s they re-grouped to tour as both Bachman-Turner Overdrive (led by Randy) and BTO (led by Robbie); the ensuing confusion the name game triggered ultimately resulted in Randy Bachman filing suit against his one-time bandmates for rights to the group's logo.
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