Saturday, May 7, 2016

Burton Cummings - Selftitled (1976)

(Canadian 1965 - Present)
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Burton Cummings is that rare artist who has transcended time, genres and generations with a body of work that continues to resonate with fans both old and new. His voice has been rated among the finest in rock music and his extensive catalogue of songs is the envy of his contemporaries. Burton continues at the top of his game as a performer, singer, songwriter and recording artist second to none.

Burton is one of the most celebrated rock artists in Canadian music history. He has received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and is a member of the Prairie Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has been inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame as a member of The Guess Who and as a solo artist.

In early 1966, Cummings replaced Bob Ashley on keyboards in The Guess Who. Chad Allan, the band’s founder, left a few months later, making the 18-year-old Cummings the group’s new lead singer.

Cummings teamed with guitarist-singer Randy Bachman to become one of the most prolific and popular song writing duos of the era, churning out such classic songs as “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “No Time,” “No Sugar Tonight” and “American Woman” (the first song by a Canadian band to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart) before Bachman’s departure in May 1970. While Bachman initially took Cummings under his wing, the relationship between the two became strained after the group achieved stardom, when Bachman’s strengthening Mormonism conflicted with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of alcohol, drugs and groupies embraced by Cummings, bassist Jim Kale and drummer Garry Peterson.

The string of popular albums and hits continued after Bachman left with “Share the Land,” “Albert Flasher,” “Rain Dance” and “Clap for the Wolfman,” among others. Cummings then became disenchanted with the more progressive rock direction The Guess Who took with guitarist and songwriter Domenic Troiano, and left to pursue a solo career in 1975.
Solo Stardom.

After striking out on his own and moving to Los Angeles, Cummings provided backup vocals on Eric Carmen’s Boats Against the Current album. He released his own self-titled album through Portrait Records and launched it with a performance on 8 November 1976 at Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall. The album, which saw Cummings turn to a more soft rock, adult contemporary sound, was produced by Richard Perry, whose credits included records by Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon and Ringo Starr.

The lead single “Stand Tall” was a No. 1 single on the adult contemporary chart in Canada (where it was certified gold) and a Top 10 hit in the United States, while the follow-up “I'm Scared” was almost as successful. The LP, which also included a big band version of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s hit “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” hit No. 5 on the Canadian album chart. It went on to sell over 200,000 copies domestically and earned Cummings four Juno nominations; he won for Most Promising Male Vocalist and Male Vocalist of the Year.

His 1978 album 'Dream Of A Child' became the first quadruple platinum-selling album by a Canadian artist. Through the ‘80s and ‘90s Burton continued to tour including joining Beatles drummer Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band. A starring role in the feature film Melanie alongside Miami Vice star Don Johnson in 1980 earned Burton a Genie Award for Best Original Song along with praise for his acting ability.

The success of Lenny Kravitz’ cover of American Woman from the hit feature film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me brought renewed attention to the original Guess Who. The group reunited in 1999 for the closing ceremonies of the Pan-American Games (with a television audience numbering in the tens of millions) and mounted several high-profile North American tours. Burton later teamed with Guess Who alumnus Randy Bachman as Bachman-Cummings for further touring and recording success. The Bachman Cummings Songbook, released in 2006, became another platinum seller, followed the next year by Jukebox.

Never content to rest on his extraordinary accomplishments, Burton Cummings continues to write, record and perform. Described as Canadian rock ‘n’ roll royalty, a national treasure, and a living legend, for Burton Cummings there has always been one constant: he remains true to himself and his own way to rock. [extracts from Cumming's Website & The Canadian Encyclopdia Online ]
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Album Review
As a member of The Guess Who Burton Cummings played an enormous role in getting Canadian music in the international charts. After a decade with them he finally disbanded the group he had come to outgrow, and worked hard on making his first solo project an unforgettable gem.
Every song on this album is performed to perfection, and, along with a half-dozen originals, all of which rank with his very best writing efforts (especially "Is It Really Right", his best song ever, and also his personal favourite from this album) he includes a diverse selection of well chosen cover
songs, ranging from a superb reading of Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Nothing Rhymed" to the jokey big band version of "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet", which, curiously, led to a rekindling of friendship between Cummings and former bandmate Randy Bachman.

Elsewhere "Stand Tall" provided him with his only truly substantial US hit as a solo artist, although "I'm Scared" also made an appearance on the charts, but every song is a highlight, and the album deservingly charted higher than any Guess Who album since 1970s "Share the Land".
Overall, Burton can certainly Stand Tall with this classic release which has lasted the test of time.
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This post was taken from my vinyl copy of Burton's album, ripped to MP3 (320kps) and includes full album artwork with label scans.  If you liked his hit "Stand Tall" which was a massive hit here in Australia, then you're gonna like the album. The last track, a cover of the BTO classic "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet' has a refreshing swing to it (pun intended) and attests to Cumming's musical brilliance.  No Guessing Who is Standing Tall on this album !
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Track Listing
01 - I'm Scared 4:04
02 - Your Back Yard 3:16
03 - Nothing Rhymed 2:32
04 - That's Enough         3:06
05 - Is It Really Right 5:01
06 - Stand Tall         3:43
07 - Niki Hokey         2:31
08 - Sugartime Flashback Joys 3:25
09 - Burch Magic                 3:48
10 - You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet 3:44

Burton Cummings - Vocals, Keyboards
Randy Strom - Guitar
Ian Gardiner - Bass
Jim Gordon - Drums
Bobby Hall - Percussion
Jimmy Phillips - Organ
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Burt Cummings Link (91Mb)
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