BTO: Taking Care On The Highway – Chicago Broadcast 1974 (CD)


Former members of The Guess Who, Randy Bachman and Chad Allan, along with Randy s drumming brother Robbie Bachman - came together as Brave Belt in the fall of 1971 and in so doing sowed the seeds of one of Canada s longest surviving and most successful groups, Bachman-Turner Overdrive

After their demo tape had been rejected 26 times, Bachman was prepared to tell the other band members that they would no longer be able to remain on salary.

However, in April 1973, Charlie Fach of Mercury Records returned to his office after a trip to France to find a stack of unplayed demo tapes waiting on his desk. Wanting to start completely fresh, he took a trash can and slid all the tapes into it except one which missed the can and fell onto the floor. Fach picked up the tape and noticed Bachman's name on it. Fach convinced the band that a new name was needed; one that capitalized on the name recognition of the band members.

The band had already mulled over using their surnames (à la Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). While on their way back from a gig in Toronto, the group had spotted a copy of a trucker s magazine called Overdrive at a Windsor, Ontario truck stop, after which Turner wrote "Bachman Turner Overdrive" and the initials "B.T.O." on a serviette. The rest of the band decided the addition of "Overdrive" was the perfect way to describe their music. B.T.O. released their eponymous first album in May 1973. The album broke through in the U.S. via border towns such as Detroit and Buffalo and stayed on the charts for many weeks despite lacking a true hit single.

The C F Turner-penned "Blue Collar" reached #21 on the Canadian RPM charts, but stalled at #68 on the U.S. charts. The album's eventual success was very much the result of the band's relentless touring. Reportedly, Fach had only agreed to put this album on the Mercury label if the band would promote it with a heavy concert schedule. In any market where the band was getting significant airplay, Bachman Turner Overdrive would immediately travel there regardless of the tour routing to build momentum, and it paid off. B.T.O. I would later be certified gold in 1974 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was a precursor to their upcoming success.

Their second album, Bachman Turner Overdrive II, was released in December 1973 and became a massive hit in the U.S. (peaking at #4 in 1974) and their native Canada. It also yielded two of their best known hit singles, "Let It Ride" and "Takin' Care of Business". 1974 s Not Fragile (a play on the hit album Fragile by Yes), became a massive hit too and reached #1 on the Canadian and U.S. album charts. It included the #1 single "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" and AOR favorite "Roll On Down the Highway". Not Fragile remains B.T.O.'s top-selling non-compilation album, selling eight million copies to date - and the rest, as they say, is history! This live radio broadcast was made in March 1974 as the band played in Chicago on their sell out tour of that year, just as the their first three albums had all gone platinum and the group were at their commercial and stylistic peak.

Featuring the songs that made them famous captured in a live performance setting this CD serves as both a testament to the power of one of the 1970s best rock groups and to the compositional and guitar skills of Randy Bachman, a musician classed by no less a talent than Neil Young as being among the finest guitarists in the world.