Classic Rock Corner

Bachman & Turner Keep Their Business Open On New DVD

Bachman & Turner: Live at the Roseland Ballroom, NYC $14.98 90 mins. Eagle Rock

While some politicians have faced a musician's wrath for using unauthorized music in their campaign events, Randy Bachman and Fred Turner were more than happy to perform their enduring tune "Takin' Care of Business" at a recent rally for North Carolina incumbent congressman Cam Brady.

That Brady is played by Will Ferrell and the race is the plot of the movie The Campaign should not tarnish the power of that classic rock classic, which obviously even the Office Depot and the Today show are taken with. It is of course the last song in this concert DVD, featuring Randy Bachman (vocals/guitar) and Fred Turner (vocals/bass), the beating hearts of '70s meat-and-potato blue collar rockers Bachman-Turner Overdrive (or, BTO for the short attention spanners).

The duo have had a very fractious history, with one of the either leaving (or, being asked to leave) the band and each other on numerous occasions since 1977's initial parting of ways. So it was with some surprise that the pair patched things up, releasing the record Bachman & Turner in 2010 and embarking on live dates, which continue to this day (they may be legally unable to tour as Bachman-Turner Overdrive).

This 17-song show and the accompanying CD includes the pair and additional three band members Marc LaFrance, Brent Howard Knudsen, and Mick Dalla-Vee (four, if you include fellow Canadian/David Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer on three tunes) blasting with surprising power and strength through all the hits.

There's "Let It Ride," "Hey You," "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," "Roll On Down the Highway," and the mellower "Looking Out for #1"), as well as a couple from Bachman's days with the Guess Who ("American Woman," "Shakin' All Over.")

Turner's gruff, grizzled voice alternates with Bachman's higher-ranged pipes throughout. But the bigger treasure nuggets here are deeper cuts from the band like "Blue Collar," "Stayed Awake All Night," "Rollin' Along," and "Not Fragile"--the last a bit of a stab at the time on the '70s and the prog-rock band Yes and their Fragile album).

Newer songs from the 2010 record like "Waiting Game," "Moonlight Rider," and "Slave to the Rhythm" hold up well compared to the earlier material.

And the no-frills filming of the show by director Joe Thomas is a welcome aspect -- you get to actually focus and the band while they're playing and listen to the music without eyeball sensory overload.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero