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Classic Album Review: Randy Bachman | Every Song Tells a Story CD / DVD)

The Guess Who and BTO co-founder takes an illuminating stroll down meory lane.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


They say good writers copy and great ones steal. In that case, the ones who own up to it oughta be best of all. That would put Randy Bachman right at the top of the heap, judging by his new superlative live retrospective Every Song Tells A Story.

Combining the intimacy of an Unplugged album with the casualness of a Storytellers set, this 76-minute disc captures the newly svelte Bachman strolling down memory lane as he spills the beans about where all those Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive classics came from. Laughing? An old Bee Gees tune, with an extra finger on the fretboard. Undun? An old Bob Dylan lyrical snippet, set to jazz chords Lenny Breau taught him. Taking Care Of Business? A combo of The BeatlesPaperback Writer, Santana’s Oye Como Va and a DJ’s patter. There are about a dozen more where those came from, with each story engagingly told with humility, warmth and wit.

More than simply entertaining, Bachman’s approach is also savvy — it breathes new life into old material and gets you to listen to familiar tracks like No Time, Hey You, Let It Ride and No Sugar Tonight with fresh ears and renewed enthusiasm. The fact that his long-serving band pulls off superb renditions of the tracks — and features a keyboardist who sounds uncannily like the old Burton Cummings — doesn’t hurt either. Informative, interesting and just plain endearing, Every Song Tells A Story is a far more essential and relevant keepsake for Bachman fans than another standard live album or best-of. For the whole story, though, get the DVD. It has all the tracks on the CD, along with plenty of old pictures, live footage and even two versions of the Prairie Town video featuring Neil Young. Why two versions? Well, that reminds him of a story …

NOTE: I couldn’t find the 2002 version anywhere online, so I put the updated 2014 edition below. After all, it’s not like he wrote a bunch of new classics in the interim …