The Guess Who steadily continued to deliver solid albums up until their break-up in 1975 and ‘#10’ in my opinion is one of their best.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: The Guess Who
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Burton Cummings – lead vocals, piano * Don McDougall – guitars, vocals * Kurt Winter – guitars * Bill Wallace – bass, vocals * Garry Peterson – percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Take It Off My Shoulders * 02 Musicone * 03 Miss Frizzy * 04 Glamour Boy * 05 Self Pity * 06 Lie Down * 07 Cardsboard Empire * 08 Just Let Me Sing
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Is The Guess Who the greatest band to come out of Canada? A tough call, but I tend to think so although I know a few Rush fans that might throw their hat in the ring, yet it’s hard to argue with The Guess Who track record of number one and chart singles both in Canada and the States.
One wonders where classic rock radio would be without ‘No Sugar Tonight’, ‘These Eyes’ and the inimitable ‘American Woman’ although by 1973 the hits were not coming quite as easy. Mind you they were still on the charts although the singles even in Canada and that countries controversial ‘Canadian content’ broadcasting laws were becoming a tougher sell to radio programmers.
From the outside looking in, line-up changes including two guitar players to replace Randy Bachman didn’t show a lot of confidence, but The Guess Who steadily continued to deliver solid albums up until their break-up in 1975 and ‘#10’ in my opinion is one of their best.
Housed in an eerie but very cool green gatefold sleeve with the band dressed in very ‘un-rock’ clothes, ‘#10’ according to reports was recorded in a very loose atmosphere. Both the presentation and the country styled ballad ‘Take It Off My Shoulders’ reflects that mood perfectly.
‘Musicione’ obviously directed towards their Quebecois audience features Burton Cummings stabbing piano and is uniquely the only song on the album written by the entire band.
The spirit of the long gone Randy Bachman reappears on ‘Miss Frizzy’ which was co-written with Cummings just prior to Bachman leaving the band in 1970. Not much to speak of really, a ’50s styled rock number which comes across as filler more than anything, bringing us to the albums only single ‘Glamour Boy’. Firing a shot across the bow of the then hugely popular glam rock scene, it’s a classic Cummings ballad as only he could write, but it’s interrupted early on by a goofy, mercifully brief – slightly drunken interview with guitarist Don McDougall.
Midway through with the crowd noise and the introduction of a faux glam band ‘Ricky And The Balloons’ which completely ruins it for me. Apparently the Canadians loved and took it all the way to 14 on the charts. The funky ‘Self Pity’ fades into another beautifully executed Cummings ballad ‘Lie Down’ and again with a country rock influence similar to The Byrds later albums and The Eagles.
‘Cardboard Empire’, quite possibly the album’s best song gives bassist and future Crowcuss‘ Bill Wallace and guitarist Kurt Winter a chance to show off their considerable talents. Last but not least the bluesy southern gospel influenced ‘Just Let Me Sing’ gives the band a chance to flex their musical muscles on a song that would end up used as the opener for the remaining Guess Who tours.
This line-up would hold together for one more record ‘Road Food’ with Don McDougall, Kurt Winter and Bill Wallace leaving the band a short time later. The addition of Domenic Troiano formerly of The James Gang would turn out a couple more albums before Cummings shut The Guess Who down, opting instead for what would become a successful solo career.
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The actual title of the album is ‘#10’, but I had to remove the # as that character is not well handled by search engines.