THE GUESS WHO So Long, Bannatyne (1971)

So Long, Bannatyne (1971)
Exactly What Were Those Guys Smoking?

REUPPED The first in a series of stoner strange Guess Who albums, light on hits (none, in this case) […in the States] but filled with WTF? fun. Fair-weather fans seeking radio friendly material like “Share The Land” and “American Woman” didn’t know what to make of curious, semi-comic diversions like “Fiddlin‘” and “Rain Dance,” but 70s types who savored unpredictable albums over sure-shot singles relished the band’s eye-poking irreverence. “Goin‘ A Little Crazy” abruptly shifts between string-laden jazz combo mode, traditional song form and a riffy drum solo, while “One Man Army” includes a cavernous bathroom scene with pissing patrons dissing the “shitty band playing on the stage.” Burton Cummings offers pure 50s hokum with “Life In The Bloodstream” as well as another in a string of cryptic song diaries, “Sour Suite.” Scattered within all this are elements of improvisation and theater. Those who grew up with this LP still embrace its flighty, random juxtaposition of styles (even if it all never really perfectly gelled). Those who are new to The Guess Who’s traveling frat party and are trying to figure out its point… just may miss it. No single track captures the album’s atmosphere, so try the title track, below. This is the 2004 reissue, which is better than the previous one we had up. The 2010 version came with two bonus tracks (now included), the 45 release, “Broken” b/w “Albert Flasher.” Find it at Amazon, HERE.

Rain Dance (2:47)
She Might Have Been A Nice Girl (3:16)
Goin‘ A Little Crazy (7:01)
Fiddlin (1:08)
Pain Train (3:46)
One Divided (2:41)
Grey Day (4:18)
Life In The Bloodstream (3:13)
One Man Army (3:58)
Sour Suite (4:10)
So Long, Bannatyne (6:00)

Albert Flasher (2:26)
Broken (3:09)


  • steve simels
    August 6, 2009 - 13:21 | Permalink

    I fricking love — nay, LURVE — this album precisely because it's so bozoid.

    And "One Man Army" is the funniest response to a band's critics ever recorded, IMHO.

    Of course, Rockin' is their masterpiece…

  • Capt. Willard
    August 6, 2009 - 13:48 | Permalink

    Rockin's a good'un.

  • Johnny Vandal
    August 6, 2009 - 18:31 | Permalink

    This album makes the case that drugs had infested the band by this point of their career and they were all the better for it.

  • Anonymous
    August 6, 2009 - 20:03 | Permalink

    I remember Rain Dance being a hit, or at least played a lot, on Vancouver, BC, Canada radio stations the summer of '71. So I like it.

    Same summer it seems that Tom Clay's What the World Needs Now (Abraham, Martin and John) as well as Paul McCartney's Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey were hits as well. Rain Dance seems almost profound in that company.

  • Capt. Willard
    August 6, 2009 - 20:08 | Permalink

    Sorry, I meant the States. The North is a whole different world for GW. Their fame there is probably why they didn't bother playing by the rules in the US.

  • Anonymous
    August 6, 2009 - 21:25 | Permalink

    Burton Cummings has a rockin' voice!!
    Very enjoyable stuff!

  • Anonymous
    August 6, 2009 - 23:25 | Permalink

    One of their many great ones!


  • La Piazza Gancio
    August 7, 2009 - 04:04 | Permalink

    I looove 'Bannatyne'! Thank you!

  • Art Ducko
    August 7, 2009 - 04:37 | Permalink

    'Bozoid' is a great way to describe this album. What a smorgasbord of cool, funky tunes. If Neil Young had had a better sense of humor in the seventies, he'd have hired the Guess Who as his backing band instead of Crazy Horse. Think of the possibilities. Wow.

  • Capt. Willard
    August 7, 2009 - 04:56 | Permalink

    Now the question is what are you smoking?

  • Anonymous
    August 7, 2009 - 10:21 | Permalink

    Re the "hitless" Bannatyne album. Aside from Rain Dance the album yielded a double sided 45 with Sour Suite b/w Life In The Blood Stream both receiving substantial airplay in Canada. So that album from a Canadian perspective had 3 hits.
    For the (ahem) record, "Rockin'" had two – Heartbroken Bopper and Guns, Guns, Guns.

  • Capt. Willard
    August 7, 2009 - 13:21 | Permalink

    As I mentioned above, GW were hitless (ahem) in the States. Almost everything they did was a hit in Canada. Two different worlds.

  • Anonymous
    August 9, 2009 - 13:24 | Permalink

    Sour Suite is my alltime fave GW track. Thanks for all

  • Don from Oregon
    August 9, 2009 - 16:22 | Permalink

    Ahhh…Thanks Willard! I agree that there were no "hits" on this lp here, but the local FM station did play "Rain dance", "Sour suite", and "Life in the Bloodstream" quite a bit. I miss the days when DJ's could play anything (for the moist part) that was good. Hell, I even heard Zappa on our FM. However, they had limits apparently, because I never heard the original Genesis until a friend played them for me. However, I did my bit to subvert the dominant paradigm, by convincing one of the DJ's that he REALLY needed a "smoke" break, and so he played "Suppers Ready" for the very first time on our FM (albeit the Phil Collins/Seconds Out version-but hey! ya gotta start somewhere!)
    They also used to paly this once in awhile on the friday Night "Midnight Album" shows….

    • Don from Oregon
      February 5, 2014 - 15:38 | Permalink

      Ha! It took a few years but I can PROVE that “Rain Dance” was a hit in America. Enclosed is a screenshot from the Charis Music Group’s collection of original call sheets for American Top 40 (with Casey Kasem!) from October 2nd , 1971, showing “Rain Dance” at the highest chart position it reached, #19. HOWEVER- We had local radio stations with their own top 30, and Rain Dance made the local top 10 in Oregon, at least in the area I live in!
      Anyway, I am just glad that Willard posts the Guess Who every once in a while, because in my mind they are were and are one of the most original bands I have ever heard!

      • Willard
        February 5, 2014 - 15:51 | Permalink

        Wait a minute… THAT’S Your proof? :o)
        What you’re saying is that “Rain Dance” was as big a “hit” as something called “I’ve Found Someone Of My Own” by someone called Free Movement? THAT I’d agree with. … and that’s not even getting into what a paid hack Casey Kasem was.

        • Don from Oregon
          February 5, 2014 - 18:06 | Permalink

          I wish we had a laughter smilie!

      • Willard
        February 5, 2014 - 20:06 | Permalink

        Yeah, the best I got is my dumb smiley face.

  • Anonymous
    August 12, 2009 - 10:43 | Permalink

    Rain Dance was a fair sized hit in Australia, and is one of my all time favourite songs!

  • Jonman
    September 17, 2009 - 11:00 | Permalink

    It all depends on what your definition of a "hit" is. I say if it got a good amount of airplay(even FM album rock stations), who gives a fuck what billboard says? That's a hit in my book and I say Raindance was a hit, and I've lived in the states all my life. It's what would be referred to as a lost classic nowadays when you can't even hear half of the tracks that got substantial airplay back in the day. There's a special show on our Raleigh classic rock station called The Deep End, where they play what they consider to be deep cuts, and while it's often quite good(last week they played the electric studio version of Hot Tuna's Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning) tonight I heard Dire Straits' Money For Nothing on there. That's how shitty american radio has become.

  • Capt. Willard
    September 17, 2009 - 13:32 | Permalink

    A definition of a “hit” is “American Woman.” The amount of airplay a song gets in a given market was different from market to market in the 70s. FM stations were notorious for having minds of their own back then, before the era of corporate radio and multi market station owners was ushered in. I lived in St. Louis in the early 70s and heard Guess Who album tracks on the radio a lot. But, when I moved south, it was like the Guess Who never even existed in my particular market (except for the "real" hits, like "American Woman."). So the basic definition of a hit (again, in the 70s) had to do with how many of those markets a band could string together. Apparently, in your market "Rain Dance" got airplay. I can honestly say I don't think I ever heard that particular song on the radio in my market. If you lived in Canada, you couldn't get away from them. Lucky Canucks.

  • Capt. Willard
    November 11, 2009 - 13:38 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Larry
    November 12, 2009 - 03:26 | Permalink

    Thank you! For this, and all the other great shares!

  • miles
    October 24, 2011 - 18:38 | Permalink

    Jeez! I guess I missed the party. Where was I when these records were being played? Obviously not listening to the radio. Or at least not listening to rock radio that is. If memory serves, similar to a mutual favorite of ours, I was a man out of time, exploring a different side of life. But based on the comments here, I gotta check this out. Besides, I think this is about the third time you’ve posted these. I guess I never got the hint. Looking forward catching up. Thanks, Willard.

    • Willard
      October 24, 2011 - 19:31 | Permalink

      Hi Miles. Don’t be surprised if you find it all time specific (or frat room specific). There’s a reason these guys only had a handful of real hits, and these albums don’t even have any of the “real” hits. I’d be curious what an outsider thinks in this day and age.

  • miles
    October 26, 2011 - 14:42 | Permalink

    My previous comment suggests that I had never heard of The Guess Who. Of course I was aware of their popularity, I just never really followed them. I do recall those earlier songs like ‘These Eyes,’ the ubiquitous ‘American Woman,’ and a few others, but these recordings featured here failed to reach my ears. I can however certainly imagine them playing shoulder to shoulder on FM radio with Argent, Foreigner, Aerosmith, and all the others who were popular around this time. In fact, this period in American rock radio on the FM band was strongly influenced by a consultant named, Lee Abrahms who took the foundations of free-form ‘underground’ programming, homogenizing and commercializing it into what became known as ‘Album Oriented Rock,’ now called ‘Classic Rock.’ If he had been sold on the group, they would have no doubt been played throughout the States because his ‘AOR’ was the beginning of cookie cutter, niche radio.

    As for The Guess Who — well they certainly sound like they were a competent band, more than competent actually. The playing is pretty stellar throughout, although the songwriting is a little uneven. Much seems like throwaway, but when it’s strong, it’s memorable. ‘Guns, Guns, Guns’ is exceptionable. However I don’t think that the inside jokes included elsewhere helped things out much. I seem to recall some other material (possibly later recordings) that almost reminded me of pre-Aja Steely Dan at times (‘Attila’s Blues,’ Nashville Sneakers,’ and one about a flasher or something).

    I have a hypothesis or two — I believe these guys had their initial success as a singles band, am I right? Yet these particular records sound like a group struggling for credibility and acceptance in a long player world, hence the uneven songwriting. RCA was notoriously inept at marketing and promotion. I’d bet that they continued to consider The Guess Who as a strong singles act and pushed their material toward Top 40 radio, completely underestimating (or overlooking) the burgeoning FM rock radio. Depending on where RCA has presence would determine whether the band got heard on FM or not. But I don’t really know. I kinda’ lost interest in rock music around this time (with exceptions of course). Only today am I going back to explore some of what I missed. Thanks for the opportunity. At this point I’d say I’m straddling the fence with these guys.

    • Willard
      October 26, 2011 - 15:26 | Permalink

      I remember Abrahms & AOR well. Used to curse his name routinely, though, compared to what his concept and AOR eventually became, he wasn’t truly that evil. As usual, you have an astute appreciation for detail, Miles. And your assessment is right on for a guy who hasn’t live with these albums. But, I’ll disagree with your end hypothesis…though, I could just be biased. Yeah, they did start out as a singles band (to be accurate, they started out years before in various incarnations, so they’re rooted 50/60s rockers), but most everybody who had a hit was considered that in the late 60s. I would argue that the Guess Who were largely hitless (big hits) in later years because they didn’t play the game. They were stoners and heavy drinkers and did indulge in a lot of inside jokes, and while they wanted, and surely strove for, hits (like all bands), they also weren’t the types to blow Lee Abrahms or be told what to do. Burton Cummings was a lengendary hothead in his day. Besides, much of what The Guess Who did wasn’t completely suited for AOR radio rotation. They enjoyed hokum and comedy and weren’t afraid to slap it on their albums. A lot of their unevenness comes from the routine comings and goings of different band members, with Cummings lightening and tightening his reigns on occasion, but I think more than anything… their continued success (and hit making) in Canada allowed them for decades to play by their own rules. I think I would disagree with your thought that they were even trying that hard to fit in, which is why one might see confusion in their sloppier albums, while I (and many fans) tend to see snapshots of the band “in the moment,” as opposed to another career stepping stone. But, some of that may be retro-fitting. I just remember as a teenager, these guys were talking to me. Getting high, making music and having fun (whether it was all real or not). Like I said, bias reigns with me and the Guess Who. If I haven’t already (and I usually do), I’ll recommend Road Food. It may not be their best, but it’s my favorite. The early stuff, when Burt is purposely imitating Jim Morrison, is a hoot, too.

  • Willard
    October 26, 2011 - 15:43 | Permalink

    I loved them, but some of my pals just thought they were goofballs.

  • miles
    October 26, 2011 - 19:18 | Permalink

    Hmm. I don’t know, Captain. That last track (in my mind) just lends credence to my theory as far as I’m concerned. I stand unmoved, but do enjoy the debate. Speaking of credence, another band that never even touched me oddly enough was CCR. History tells me that were HUGE, yet I rarely remembering hearing them. Maybe more realistically, I just wasn’t listening. I’m not ashamed of that. Everybody was busy carving out their own niche back then — age, locality, background, etc., may have simply determined what rang your bell. Before that, The Beatles and Dylan were seemingly able to galvanize an entire generation, but after the Fabs broke up and Dylan meandered for a bit, the stew just got a lot richer. Apparently my tastes just led me elsewhere to another dish that satisfied my cravings. And perhaps since I was just getting started in a radio career myself, I stopped listening to other stations were doing in order to find a voice of my own, kinda’ like what you said about TGW — playing by my own rules.

    • Willard
      October 26, 2011 - 19:53 | Permalink

      More bias. First concert I ever went to was CCR. Loved ’em.

  • miles
    October 26, 2011 - 20:03 | Permalink

    Oh well. Like the kids say, “my bad.”

  • October 27, 2011 - 11:21 | Permalink

    Yeah, this one is a hoot. Very loose, and something that could only have come from that time, and under the influence of controlled substances. Although too disjointed and uneven to rank among their very best efforts, it is a lot of fun, and does include at least 2 absolute GW classics, Rain Dance (one of my all-time favorites) and Sour Suite (Burton at his best).


  • Colin H
    October 28, 2011 - 20:35 | Permalink

    While they certainly must have coveted the success being as big in America would have brought, I think the Guess Who’s attitude and indulgence probably had more to do with the fact that they were as big as big gets in Canada, throughout most of their career, with hits as far back as 65. Their indulgence in imitating different styles, (while also influenced by McCartney’s taste for that), also likely had alot to do with the way they were the house band for a 60’s variety show and called upon to play the hits of many other bands in those days, too. I actually came to enjoy their weider album cuts rather later in life (ie pretty recently), because I was used to ignoring most of their hits as the wallpaper of my childhood, in a country where law enforces a percentage of Canadian content and there are only so many classic rock bands with the instant recognizability to stand beside the rest of the world’s top 40 sluggers on mainstream older radio. It took a long time for me to see past that to the better efforts of bands like this, or Lighfoot’;s good stuff, etc. They weren’t just successful here, they were what Rod Stewart, Elton John and acts of that ilk were to the sort of radio elsewhere that saturation-plays them. I think the band felt they had every right to indulge themselves come the 70’s, rather than trying other stuff for commercial buckshot reasons.

    Colin H, Cambridge, Canada

    • Willard
      October 28, 2011 - 22:05 | Permalink

      I’m inclined to agree. Thanks for the Canadian perspective.

  • Colin H
    October 29, 2011 - 01:27 | Permalink

    It’s a little like when I married someone from The Netherlands and discovered Golden Earring are kind of the Dutch Stones, with career going back to the mid 60’s, and not the one hit wonders of Radar Love that I thought…

  • KDNYfm
    September 6, 2012 - 17:57 | Permalink

    While thoroughly enjoying all the comments I’ve been reading whilst DLing and perusing the Guess Who material, there are a couple things that still need to be said:
    Greg Leskiw who was ‘second’ guitarist to Kurt Winter has had quite a bit of success not only as an musician and songwriter but also as a producer. Kilowatt, Mood Jga Jga, and Crowcuss are some of the groups he has formed and played with. He also does the jazz thing as well (similar to Bachman) with his trio The Swingsoniq.
    When Jim Kale was originally turfed from Guess Who, he joined a group called Scrubbaloe Caine who recorded for RCA. Only one album was released but it is a great album with excellent vocals (Jimmy Foreman and Henry Small), 2 great guitarists Jim Harmata and Paul Dean, solid rhythm and keyboards as well as electric violin (H Small). Small went on to play with Burton’s band, Prism, Toto; Dean formed Streetheart, took half that band and formed Loverboy.
    Finally, Randy Bachman can play licks and chops with the rest of the best, and SHOULD be considered one of the best guitarists in the world, and if you’ve ever seen him live you know what I’m talking about! If not, listen to his playing on the live reunion ‘Runnin Back Cross Canada’.
    just another crazy Canuck

  • Willard
    September 6, 2012 - 18:27 | Permalink

    HA! Thanks Al, I knew you had to be from the North to know so much about the careers of the Guess Who’s auxiliary players. I’m a big GW fan, but don’t know jack about what you’re obviously deep into. Thanks for the info. About all I ever knew about was when Jim Kale wound up with the Guess Who name sometime in the 80s and was touring with it. I did an interview with the guy about the questionable practice of a bass player touring with a group name – especially since he wasn’t even in the band when they broke up (I think) – without Burt or any of the other original players, and the guy was an amazing vet about it the whole. I was pretty relentless about it (and maybe a bit of a dick), but he’d heard it all before and didn’t let it get under his skin. Between his attitude and professionalism, I had to give him some respect for how he dealt with it all. I’d be curious to hear Scrubbaloe Caine. Have any files, by chance? Thanks for the comment.

    • KDNYfm
      September 27, 2012 - 16:36 | Permalink

      I do have Scrubbaloe Caine, Kilowatt, Mood Jga Jga and more!… Will G-Drive work for you? Give me an email address!


      • Willard
        September 27, 2012 - 16:43 | Permalink

        Cool… don’t know G-Drive. I might still have a Drop Box account, though. I don’t publish my email address, but there’s a contact link near the upper right (under Artists & Labels). Contact me there and I can reply with an email. Thanks.

  • January 13, 2013 - 18:21 | Permalink

    This is a pull-out-all-the-stops and quit worryin’ about what some jackass record producer and his aesthetically-challenged management team think they want you to do. This is pure musical genius and unbridled “F#ck you, we will play what we want to play” from a band widely regarded as one of the most innovative and entertaining rock bands ever to appear in the western hemisphere. The musicianship on this album is astounding! The band’s creative juices were flowing like Kilaeua, hot and limitless! In this age of musical diarrhea, featuring one after another American Idol douchebag singing the same sh%t over and over and over, it’s delightful to go back to a time before rock concerts were sponsored by potato chip and soda makers and sterilized with predictable beginnings and endings and listen to a powerful and wonderful eruption of energy and creativity, all coming from the heart and soul of each individual Guess Who band member and bound together into a seamlessly inverwoven and collectively efficacious convergence of the unexpected and the unusual so deftly assembled that the entire album is listenable and contagious, catchy and addictive, irreverent and venerable. This is a record that will get stuck in your head and you will want to hear it over and over again. And, all the while, this record never becomes stale nor does it ever develop the sound and the feel of a relic. So Long, Bannatyne is my very favorite Guess Who album. Perhaps it will soon be yours, too!

  • G
    January 20, 2013 - 16:28 | Permalink

    Thank you for all this. I missed the boat, as it were, back in the day, pre-teen lad that I was–all I had was the Greatest Hits and only played Side 1.

    By the time I came up to speed in ’76, they were gone…I remember the dismissive review of Flavours in RS, possibly alongside the one for Humble Pie’s Street Rats, or Procol Harum’s latest and last–all those bands arcs disintegrating around the same time…so off we all went to Nugent/Derringer/Foghat land, at least until the Reagan Administration, when the Republic’s half-time ended, as David Lee Roth so eloquently put it.

    I recently bought the Greatest Hits on vinyl secondhand, and man, what a band. So, I went back and snared what vinyl they had (#10, Rockin, etc.) and I am following the story now, tracing the line through the 70’s and so here we are, and man, all I want to do now is play these records and it’s all good.

    BTW There’s a great youtube cut from last year with Burton Cummings reminiscing on the piano he wrote a lot of these songs on and you really get a feel as to what a talent he is and how good a lot of these songs are…really opened my eyes.

    Anyhow, sorry for the ramble, but I really dig all this now.

    Thank you!

    • Willard
      January 20, 2013 - 16:47 | Permalink

      I wasn’t the biggest fan of Flavors, myself. Probably because I was there since the beginning on RCA. But, there were still some decent songs and performances. Thanks for the reminiscence.

  • Mr MacGoo
    January 3, 2015 - 19:22 | Permalink

    From 1965 to 1975, The Guess Who were the Canadian Beatles. They could write, sing, perform and rock harder than any other band. They sold millions of records in Canada and sold out everywhere. They hosted a TV show “Let’s Go” in the late 60s. Many of there songs have withheld the test of time – American Woman, Share The Land, No Sugar Tonight and These Eyes are still classics. They have received the Order of Canada in 2000. Cummings and Bachman also received this distinction for their individual contribution in 2008/2009. The real cool thing is that The Guess Who were also successful in worldwide without losing their Canadian identity. (opposite of Neil and Joni).

    • Willard
      January 3, 2015 - 19:42 | Permalink

      We’re big fans around here, as you can tell by the number of GW & Burt posts we have scattered around the site.

  • Time Fades Away
    May 10, 2015 - 15:00 | Permalink
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