February 7, 2015

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 91: The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount

The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape box detail 
detail photo by Styrous®


In addition to my 20,000 Vinyl LP collection I'm selling, I have reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes for sale. If interested, contact me by email please, not by a comment. 

I have the, The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramountreel-to-reel tape for sale on eBay. I have others for sale on eBay now (see links below).    

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Live at the Paramount is the first live album released by Canadian rock group, The Guess Who. It would be their only live album until their reunion in 1983. It was recorded live on May 22, 1972 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington. It reached #39 on the Billboard album chart. Live at the Paramount was also the first album to feature Donnie McDougall, and the last to feature Jim Kale on bass guitar.
(click on any image for slideshow)





As with every album I have, there is a favorite song. American Woman is it on this album. The song's origins took the form of a live jam at a curling rink concert in Waterloo, Ontario. The group was rushing into the second set and began improvising a rhythm to liven up the crowd. Lead singer, Cummings, began improvising lyrics to fit the music. They liked what they had played and noticed a kid with a cassette recorder making a bootleg copy and asked him for the tape. The subsequent studio recording features the original almost completely unchanged; only a few lines were added. 

It begins with an acoustic blues intro: 

American woman, gonna mess your mind. 
American woman, gonna mess a-your mind.  

The intro then proceeds to spell out the title, then repeats the first verse before fading out and entering the hard rock portion. The single version omits this intro and goes straight to the hard rock portion of the song. 

It is rock at it's very best with great, classic, instrumental breaks, scat-like vocalizing by Burton and a drum solo by Garry Peterson à la Tarkus by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. There is a link to the full concert version  on YouTube below.


The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape box back detail 
detail photo by Styrous®



Shortly after its release, The Guess Who were invited to play at the White House. Because of its supposed anti-American lyrics, Pat Nixon asked that they not play American Woman.  

The song's lyrics have been the matter of some debate, often interpreted as an attack on U.S. politics (especially the draft). Jim Kale, the group's bassist and the song's co-author, explained his take on the lyrics:
"The popular misconception was that it was a chauvinistic tune, which was anything but the case. The fact was, we came from a very strait-laced, conservative, laid-back country, and all of a sudden, there we were in Chicago, Detroit, New York – all these horrendously large places with their big city problems. After that one particularly grinding tour, it was just a real treat to go home and see the girls we had grown up with. Also, the war was going on, and that was terribly unpopular. We didn't have a draft system in Canada, and we were grateful for that. A lot of people called it anti-American, but it wasn't really. We weren't anti-anything. John Lennon once said that the meanings of all songs come after they are recorded. Someone else has to interpret them."
 - from Wikipedia







Glace Bay Blues (with it's spoken intro) is a gentle guitar and voice duet by Cummings that is really lovely. 



The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape box detail 
detail photo by Styrous®


Albert Flasher is a fast, bouncey, almost boogie beat that moves on out for some great dancing, if you feel in that mood.  



The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape box detail 
detail photo by Styrous®


 
New Mother Nature is a good mover that has some great guitar work by Cummings. Another song that makes you want to get up and dance. 




The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape box back detail 
detail photo by Styrous®



Pain Train mellows down a bit for some gentle rock going-ons. It features a great guitar break by Cummings.    



The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape box back detail 
detail photo by Styrous®


Truckin' Off Across the Sky , with its drug theme, is a jazzy, bouncy rock piece that features some wonderful flute by Cummings. It rocks out a bit but not excessively so. 



The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape spine detail 
detail photo by Styrous®



Cummings was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as were all of the other original members of The Guess Who. He was raised by his mother Rhoda and her parents; he never knew his father, who left when he was less than a year old. He attended St. John's High School. His first band was a local Winnipeg R&B group, The Deverons, with an 'E' (not to be confused with the band The Deverons who had Country/R&B hits in the early 1960s). The Deverons with Cummings released two singles on the REO Records label. The first single, Blue Is The Night / She's Your Lover, was cut in a Winnipeg radio station. The second single, Lost Love / Feel Alright, was recorded at Kay Bank Studios in Minneapolis, where The Guess Who frequently recorded. He joined the band in 1966 replacing original keyboardist Bob Ashley and later replacing original lead singer, Chad Allan. In 1975 Cummings left The Guess Who and the group disbanded. 



The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape box back detail 
detail photo by Styrous®


Live @ the Paramount was the first album on which Don McDougall appeared. He left the band in 1974 but returned in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. Around 1996, while Jim Kale was touring with his version of the Guess Who in the United States, MacDougall created his own version of the Guess Who called The Best of the Guess Who, which included Guess Who alumni Bill Wallace and Winnipeg musicians James Creasey and Scott Brown. He has been performing at local venues around the Winnipeg area with the Donnie McDougall Band.  


The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®


Both MacLeans, Gary and Blair, were a popular Canadian Juno-nominated musical-comedy duo who performed regularly in Canada between 1972 and 1998 and also recorded seven albums. The duo consisted of brothers Gary MacLean (25 June 1944 – 5 December 2001) and Blair MacLean (2 December 1942 – 29 October 2008). The MacLeans were originally from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia but were later based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  

In the spoken introduction to Glace Bay Blues by Donnie McDougall, he explains the song was co-written with "MacLean MacLean" (they had not included the word "and" in the name of their act in their early days). Despite the spoken credit, the original album only credited McDougall as the writer.

They were best known for their often scatological humour, which was combined with (usually humorous) renditions of folk and popular songs.



The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount
reel-to-reel tape label detail 
detail photo by Styrous®



Track list:

Side 1:
  1. "Albert Flasher" (Burton Cummings) - 2:59
  2. "New Mother Nature" (Cummings) - 4:26
  3. "Glace Bay Blues" (featuring Don McDougall) (Blair MacLean, Gary MacLean, Don McDougall) - 3:19
  4. "Runnin' Back to Saskatoon" (Cummings, Kurt Winter) - 6:52
  5. "Pain Train" (Cummings, Winter) - 7:00
Side 2: 
  1. "American Woman" (Randy Bachman, Cummings, Jim Kale, Garry Peterson) - 16:53
  2. "Truckin' Off Across the Sky" (Cummings, Kale, McDougal, Peterson, Winter) - 7:21

Personnel: 


Notes:

Recorded live at the Paramount Theater, Seattle, Washington, May 22, 1972.

Produced By Jack Richardson for "Number 9"




The Guess Who songs on YouTube:  
  
American Woman (complete 16 minute version)
American Woman (short version)   
American Woman (2000 concert 14 minute version)  
Glace Bay Blues (with spoken intro)  
Truckin' Off Across the Sky




The Guess Who ~ Live @ the Paramount, reel-to-reel tape is for sale on eBay   


other reel-to-reel tapes now on eBay   





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