Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Best Of BTO (So Far) (Mercury ‘76) Rating: A-
Having never made a completely satisfactory album, in part because many of their songs sound somewhat similar, this short but sweet 9-track "best-of" culls the most essential songs from the band's first five studio albums and neatly sums up a damn good singles band. Surprisingly, this collection’s mellower songs (“Blue Collar” and “Lookin’ Out For #1”) are quite good tracks whose sly melodicism demonstrates the underrated guitar prowess of Randy Bachman, formerly of The Guess Who. But that understated style isn’t what these beer bellied longhairs are best remembered for. Rather, the band are better known for their hard charging, foot stompin' guitar grooves and bassist Turner's often-gruff yet hooky vocals (Bachman sometimes sings lead as well). These attributes are best exemplified by “Rollin’Down The Highway,” a butt kicking party tune with big riffs, a great beat, shout it out loud vocals, and an excellent guitar solo, while the massive #1 hit “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (with its galloping grooves, bright hooky guitars, and Bachman's "b-b-b-baby" vocals), “Takin’ Care Of Business” (another great groover that's admittedly overplayed but undeniably fun), and the comparatively underrated “Let It Ride” (for my money the crown jewel in the BTO catalogue, I love the acoustic guitars, its hard rocking stomp, and especially its airy harmonies) are also chest thumping classics that still sound great, especially when blasting out of car stereo speakers. The remaining songs, “Hey You,” “Take It Like A Man,” and “Gimme Your Money Please,” are also solid on their own but when grouped together they can't help but sound like inferior retreads, as these Canadian classic rockers weren't exactly the most versatile band around. Still, by and large Best Of BTO (ignore the (So Far), this is it, folks, at least in terms of hits) provides some good time blue collar boogie thunder.

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