Do the names The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive mean anything to you? They should. Why? Because they were two of the most iconic rock groups the Canadian popular music industry has ever produced. And they were certainly a big influence on many people in our generation.
Their heritage goes back 40 years, but guess what? You can relive that scene again – and a great deal more – simply by tuning in to Vinyl Tap, a radio show hosted by Randy Bachman on CBC Radio 1 on Saturday nights from 7 to 9 p.m., with a repeat on CBC Radio 2 Sunday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. and again on CBC Radio 1 Fridays from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. The show is currently in its summer reruns season but will resume live broadcasting in the fall. And, you don’t have to wait until the weekend to listen to Vinyl Tap, it’s available online here.
Suave & Svelte
Randy, still apparently suave and svelte – if his website pictures are anything to go by – hosts his two-hour program with an uncompromising degree of gusto and passion. Not only does he play classic rock, pop and, sometimes, older jazz in his show, he enlightens his audience with racy personal anecdotes drawn from his own years as a touring rock musician.
Most of his shows are thematic, sometimes of Bachman’s own choosing and sometimes in response to a request submitted by a listener. One such show, hosted live from Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio, was called “Guitarology 101” and featured Bachman, his then wife Denise McCann Bachman, Mick Dalla-Vee and Brent Knudsen, talking about various aspects of guitars, including live performances of a selection of classic rock as well as rhythm and blues songs.
A Clean Living Rock Star
Randy Bachman was anything but the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll (you can leave in the rock n’ roll bit) touring musician at the height of his fame. Shortly after the release of American Woman in the early 1970s (it climbed to #1 on the US Hot 100 charts, a first for a band from Canada) he left The Guess Who, on the grounds that the self-indulgent practices of the rock world conflicted with his personal religious beliefs.
Since then he’s been in and out of the rock business via Bachman-Turner Overdrive – who can forget Takin’ Care of Business and Let it Ride – largely as a solo performer until the early 80s when he, Burton Cummings and other members of the American Woman era, got together for a much-publicized reunion of The Guess Who.
A Much-awarded Legend
Randy Bachman’s career has been punctuated by the acquisition of innumerable awards. These include an honorary Doctorate of Music from Brandon University, Winnipeg, the Order of Manitoba and (as part of The Guess Who) The Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2001.
It all adds up to a stellar career, which Randy discusses anecdotally during his show as a way of giving context to whatever track he happens to be playing. There is nothing homogenized about Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap – it’s all very personal and, always, profoundly entertaining. His 6 to 8 p.m. show on Sunday evening is a ‘must tune in’ for my partner and I as we prepare an early dinner, drink a glass or two of wine and boogie around the kitchen floor.
Much More Meaty Material
Randy’s enthusiasm, or should we say passion, for his music is totally infectious and his selections are certainly not rooted in any kind of tired and predictable golden oldie syndrome. He plays plenty of modern music, though it’s hard not to compare many of the anodyne offerings we hear today with the much more meaty material of 30 – 40 years ago when Randy was in his heyday as a touring rock star.
His most recent significant reincarnation as a performing artist was in 2015, when he released an album titled Heavy Blues from his then newly formed self-titled band, Bachman. The album was influenced by classic 1960s blues/rock and featured contributions from amongst other artists, guest guitarists Neil Young, Joe Bonamassa, Peter Frampton and the late Jeff Healey. It’s terrific.
So why not tune in to Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap? Believe me, as one of his most famous hits proclaims: You Ain’t Seen (or heard) Nothin’ Yet. So click on this link for a taste of the real thing. It’s absolutely fabulous.
P.S. Catch Him Live
Unfortunately for fans interested in seeing him perform live once again, Randy Bachman along with Burton Cummings have had to reschedule their North American tour (originally planned for this year). Entitled Together Again-Live in Concert, the show is now set to launch on June 5th, 2021 in Huber Heights, Ohio with the Canadian dates to follow. Fans can stay up to date and in the know by following him on his Facebook page.
P.P.S. Fill your days with music
On a final note, if you’re interested in listening to other excellent CBC Radio programming, you can find a wealth of musical genres and selections to suit any mood or whim by visiting this link.