by The Guess WhoThe Guess Who

CD(Canadian Import)

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This imported CD could serve as a blueprint for how to turn two very flawed but interesting albums into something worth buying -- just maximize the virtues and let them come to the surface, and hope there are enough of them; in this case there are, albeit not by too much. Part of Canadian BMG's "Guess Who X 2" reissue series, Rockin'/Flavours marks the first official CD reissue of either of these two Guess Who albums. Neither captures the band anywhere near its best, and Buddha Records has declined to reissue them in the United States. Rockin' has such a terrible reputation, and has been gone from the catalog for so long, that this reviewer was curious how it would sound 32 years after the fact -- the answer is, not great, as the band seems out of ideas, or at least lacking enough of them to sustain more than 60 percent of an LP. They did have riffs good enough to inspire Aerosmith, among other bands, to much greater heights however -- perhaps fitting justice for a band whose biggest hit was built on the sound of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" -- and this CD does let you hear Kurt Winter's and Greg Leskiw's guitars, and Burton Cummings' piano sounding really up-close and crisp. What's more, Cummings' vocals definitely benefit on "Smoke Big Factory," the bluesy "Arrivederci Girl" and "Herbert's a Loser," and, most of all, the self-consciously retro, swing-influenced pop-jazz venture "Your Nashville Sneakers"; the latter is the most uncharacteristic track on the album, but it is the highlight of the remastering, with a close, intimate sound that brings the track to new life. Strangely enough, for an album entitled Rockin', the ventures into specific oldies territory, on "Running Bear" and the closing number, "Hi Rockers," seem more heavy-handed than inspired, but at least the music is really being heard, and at a high volume, too -- and "Hi Rockers," as a conceptual piece that bridges several genres (including comedy) and decades, comes off rather better for the improved sound, even if the track itself is a marginal creation. The original first side of Flavours, by contrast, is a delight, mixing agreeable electric and acoustic guitar sounds and some fresh songwriting inspiration, and all now combined with state-of-the-art sound to make the second half of this CD a real pleasure; the album's side two material hasn't held up quite as well, but the singing and playing by Cummings and the virtuosity of guitarist Domenic Troiano carry the material. There's no new annotation or bonus tracks, just really, really good sound and a recreation of the original art from both LPs (including a reprint of the lyrics from the original songs), all in a slipcase package.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/30/2004
Label: Bmg Int'l
UPC: 0828765301329
catalogNumber: 653013
Rank: 40340


  1. Heartbroken Bopper
  2. Get Your Ribbons On
  3. Smoke Big Factory
  4. Arrivederci Girl
  5. Guns, Guns, Guns
  6. Running Bear
  7. Back to the City
  8. Your Nashville Sneakers
  9. Herbert's a Loser
  10. Hi Rockers
  11. Dancin' Fool
  12. Hoe Down Time
  13. Nobody Knows His Name
  14. Diggin' Yourself
  15. Seems Like I Can't Live With You, But I Can't Live Without You
  16. Dirty
  17. Eye
  18. Loves Me Like a Brother
  19. Long Gone

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Guess Who   Primary Artist
Burton Cummings   Keyboards,Vocals
Domenic Troiano   Guitar,Mandolin,Background Vocals
Garry Peterson   Percussion,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Guess Who   Arranger
Burton Cummings   Composer
Domenic Troiano   Composer
Brian Christian   Engineer
Jim Kale   Contributor
Greg Leskiw   Composer,Contributor
Jack Richardson   Producer
Kurt Winter   Composer,Contributor
Acy Lehman   Art Direction
Frank Mulvey   Cover Design
Nick Sangiamo   Cover Photo

Customer Reviews