Randy Bachman


Band members                             Related acts

- Randy Bachman -- vocals, guitar, autoharp, steel guitar

 

  supporting musicians:

- Patti Brooks -- backing vocals

- Burton Cummings -- keyboards, backing vocals

- Ian Gardiner - bass

- Becky Lopez -- backing vocals

- Jeff Porcaro -- drums, percussion

- Petsye Powell -- backing vocals

- Tom Scott - sax

 

 

 

 

- Bachman Turner Overdrive

- Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings

- Brave Belt

- The Guess Who

- Ironhorse

- Union

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Survivor

Company: Polydor

Catalog: PD-1-6141
Year:
 1978

Country/State: Canada

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 352

Price: $12.00

 

So let me just come out and admit it ...  It may not be cool to admit, but I was and remain a big Bachman Turner Overdrive fan.  BTO was just a big part of growing-up if you were in my particular age group.  As such, I apparently have a predisposition to Randy Bachman's solo work.  

 

His second solo release, 1978's "Survivor" was intended as a concept piece with an autobiographical story line following life as an aspiring musician through mega success and then the post-success years.  (for anyone interested, I've included the plotline 'narratives' in my song-by-song comments).  Musically the album was quite diverse; Bachman using different genres to kick the storyline along.  That means folks looking for a pseudo-BTO album were probably disappointed.  Regardless, Bachman's always had a knack for tossing off great pop and rock melodies and that's the case here. 'Just a Kid', 'One Hand Clappin'', and 'Lost In the Shuffle' were all radio-friendly, with the latter one of the few songs to recall the  BTO catalog.  So then you get to the concept part of the album ...  Yeah, life as a rock star must be tough. ('Course life as a salesman is equally hard without the apparently rock star rewards.)   Obviously a very personal album for Bachman, there certainly wasn't anything wrong with his personal memories of the hard times encountered along the way and it would be hard for most folks to find flaw in his philosophies of life.   Belief in self, love of family, trust in God ...  I think I could vote for all of those concepts.   That said, "Survivor" managed to turn most of those comments into lowest common denominator material.  if you were looking for some real insight into Bachman, or gawd forbid, something to help you navigate the road of life, this probably wasn't the place to turn to for assistance.  Of course, hopefully nobody out there would be turning to a rock album for that kind of support ...

 

"Survivor" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Just a Kid    (Randy Bachman) - 3:21

'Just a Kid' was one of the album's stranger offerings - imagine BTO recording with The Beach Boys ...  I guess it kind of makes sense given Bachman's been a longtime fan of Brian Wilson and company.   The autobiographical life-was-good-back-then lyrics were pretty goofy, but those Beach Boy-styled harmony vocals were a blast.   And here's what Bachman had to say about the song:  "The late fifties in a mid-western city ...   a teenage boy sees Elvis Presley on television and the desire is born for a life of music, show business, and rock 'n' roll.  Mom and Dad help with the purchase of his first record player and guitar.  Hours and hours are spent listening to and playing align with rock 'n' roll music.  He forms a band with friends who have the same dreams and everything musical becomes their life.  Girlfriends, sports, cars, parties, and school all play second to music.  The airwaves are filled with the sounds of Chuck Berry, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley & the Comets, Bo Diddley and the dream begins ..."   rating: *** stars

2.) One Hand Clappin'    (Randy Bachman)- 3:54

Bachman always had a knack for writing quality pop songs and 'One Hand Clappin'' was a great example of how he could seemingly toss such material out.   With Burton Cummings on keyboards, this one was simply an up-tempo blast and should have been a massive hit for Bachman.  "The band formed in the late '50s searches for rock 'n' roll gigs, but not many are available.   You must learn "old folk's" music to survive and earn money playing at weddings, bar mitzvahs and barn dances where the majority in attendance are not wild about the music, or the volume.  Polkas, schottisches, and 3/4 waltzes are grudgingly played to ... "    rating: **** stars

3.) Lost In the Shuffle    (Randy Bachman) - 4:44

With the late Jeff Porcaro on drums, the first 30 second of 'Lost In the Shuffle' exhibited a breezy, jazzy feel ...   and then the song morphed into a BTO-styled slinky rocker highlighting Bachman's instantly recognizable voice.  Darn, makes me miss my BTO days.  "After years of playing ... playing clubs, pubs, barn dances, weddings, and the "opening act" on big rock 'n' roll showst hat come through town, you get a record contract, a manager, and an agency.  In the eyes of the home town crowd you have "made It."  But "making it" at one level means paying dues at another.  Instead of being a semi-pro band without a label, management, or agency deal, you become one of the thousands who do have deals. You beginto realize no matter where you are on the ladder of success you are always ...rating: **** stars 

4.) Is the Night Too Cold for Dancin'    (Randy Bachman) - 3:57

A mid-tempo ballad (for some reason the opening always reminds me of The Commodores 'I'm Easy'), 'Is the Night Too Cold for Dancin'' was clearly intended as the big radio single.   The song had a nice enough melody and the kind of lyrics that should have sent romantics funning for their wallets.  Others are liable to find the song simply cloying.   The downside is that the ballad also served to showcased the limitations in Bachman's voice.  There were literally moments you were left wondering whether he'd be bale to croak his way through the whole song.   "Whatever level of success is attainted in the rock business, one look at the casualties implies the need for "anchor," "balancing factors," or "doors back to reality".  Before the encores you need something top believe in; someone to lobe; being loved in return is the key.  Sooner or later in everyone's life they seek out God and a companion.  The dreams of bachelorhood are cast aside and the lonely musician holds someone lose and never wants to let go.  He has found his anchor ..."    rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) You Moved Me    (Randy Bachman) - 3:26

'You Moved Me' was another incideously catchy pop song showcasing the famous Bachman lispy vocal - imagine a BTO track slowed down and wrapped in female backing singers.   Nice guitar solo on this one.   "A wife ... then children;and the feeling of being loved and needed the other 22 hours of each day deepens with time; someone to share life's ups and downs.  And every time he thinks of the lady who changed his life ...   rating: *** stars

2.) I am a Star    (Randy Bachman) - 5:20

Hum, I'm guessing 'I'm a Star' was intended as some sort of commentary on the price paid for being a rock star ...   tough work if you can get it.   Musically it was pretty dull and the added crowd noises didn;t exactly help this one.  "What seems like impossible obstacles are overcome.  Lady luck smiles and says "It's your turn" and you're at the top for as long as you can hold on ...rating: ** stars

3.) Maybe Again    (Randy Bachman) - 6:20

Another ballad preaching the , 'Maybe Again' once again exposed Bachman's vocal limitations; this time coupled with syndrums and some extremely dated synthesizers.    "The lights of your career have dimmed for the moment; someone else is at center stage.  You wait in the wings for now. knowing there's something in you that can make it happen again ... and that life has a way of coming full circle ...rating: ** stars

4.) Survivor    (Randy Bachman) - 3:01

Hum, musically 'Survivor' came awfully close to showing some disco influences ...  another irritating facet - Bachman didn't really sing on this one so much as talk his way through it.   On a positive note, the lead guitar was great.   Always loved the tones he got out of his guitars.   "Luck once again rewards those who wait for the call.  Now he can look back and smile to himself as he recalls the memories, the casualties, the friends, won and lost.   He can thank the Lord, for is truly blessed.  He is indeed a ..."   rating: *** stars

 

As mentioned, the album spun off one single:

 

  

- 1978's 'Is the Night Too Cold for Dancin'' b/w 'Maybe Again' (Polydor catalog number 14478)

 

Bottom line, If you're going to delve into his solo work, I'd suggest starting with the debut "Axe".   

 

 

 

 

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