LIVE AT THE PARAMOUNT
Recorded in Seattle, during a two night tour stop (May 1972), the band is captured in excellent form and pristine fidelity. High in quality, this energetic performance is bolstered by fantastic interplay between the two guitarists, an atomic clock anchoring the rhythm section and the prodigiously talented Burton Cummings fronting the outfit on keys. He tickles the 88s masterfully throughout, adding a lot of color to the programmed "hits" as well as some deeper album tracks.
Big block harmonies in the bridge of "Running Back to Saskatoon" , the bounce in the rearranged "New Mother Nature" and variety in song choices will keep any serious listener interested in this album. Donnie McDougall and Kurt Winter get special mention for resisting volume contests that overpower the arrangements. When they do crank, it's always tasteful and in context.
Randy Bachman's exit from the band in 1970 left a huge void, though they made it past the momentary crisis and soldiered on with a revamped lineup.
Dynamics are the key to the sound that these road tested pros created. Cummings nails everything he touches here, undoubtedly the result of hours of work as de facto bandleader.
How about those "Glace Bay Blues"? (Let's here it for Gary and Blair MacLean!)
Originally, the disc appeared in truncated form, with only seven songs, though the full set was released in 2000.
In a time when homogenous, studio dependent bands that barely cut it are ubiquitous, it's fantastic to listen to a group that really had it together. Here's a TV spot that demonstrates what made these guys great, with zero fakery.
Kurt Winter, RIP.