Why We Loved Bachman–Turner Overdrive’s Four Wheel Drive LP

Four Wheel Drive Album Review

Album Covers used for review purposes only under Fair Use section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law

Many of us who grew up as teenagers in the 1970s first discovered rock and roll in the early to mid-1970s as fans of the music of Elton John, Grand Funk, The Beatles, and,of course, Bachman-Turner Overdrive. I was in middle school when Not Fragile came out. These guys delivered rock music that spoke to young teens, turning them on to harder sounds than the hits played on AM radio. For many, they were sort of a gateway band to groups like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath for 12 and 13 years when they were first discovering music. However, just like your first love, you never forget them.

Bachman Turner Overdrive II and Not Fragile got many spins on my turntable. However, when Four Wheel Drive came out, that one just blew my mind. It might not have had the big-time hits that the previous two albums had, but this one was a little darker, and had a certain punch to it that was just perfect! Is it their best album? Well, that comes down to personal taste. Not Fragile was their biggest seller, but there has always been something about Four Wheel Drive that made it my favorite Bachman-Turner Overdrive album, as well as many of my friend’s favorite ones to. How about you?

The Bachman-Turner Lineup for the album consisted of Randy Bachman on vocals and guitars, C.F. Turner on lead vocals and bass, Blair Thornton on lead guitars and background vocals, and Robbie Bachman on drums.

Below is a track-by-track breakdown of the entire Four Wheel Drive vinyl album

SIDE ONE:

Four Wheel Drive

The album opened up with the title track “Four Wheel Drive.” The rough sounding opening guitar chords wanted to just blow up our speakers. That lick hooked you right away. As the first few measures began to pass, it sounded like drummer Robbie Bachman was running down the block at full speed, getting closer and closer until he hit you right in the face as the rest of the band exploded all around you. C.F. Turner took lead vocals on this one and hit a grand slam with it.

She’s A Devil

The next track, “She’s A Devil,” sounded nothing like the opening track, at least in the first verse, until CF Turner turned the vocal mic up to ten, and all hell broke loose. This was a very dynamic-sounding tune that was a whole lot of fun to ride with. Blair Thornton and C.F. Turner wrote the song.

Hey You

The third track on side one, entitled “Hey You” was released as the first single from the album. I don’t know about you, but this song, especially the opening guitar chords, always reminded me of their massive hit “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” You could hear right away that this was a Randy Bachman song. While it did well in the United States peaking at number twenty one on the US Billboard Hot 100, they loved this one way more in Canada where it hit number one on the Canadian music charts.

Flat Broke Love

Closing out side one was the heavy sounding track “Flat Broke Love” featuring the in your face get out of my way vocals of the great C.F. Turner. It was the perfect type of track to close out an album side that heavily featured the spirit of big C.F. Turner.  While C.F. Turner’s vocal performance on the track was all killer, we also need to mention his creepy yet rocking bass playing that set the groove for the track. Additionally, Blair Thornton lays out some roaring guitar leads throughout the song.

SIDE TWO:

She’s Keepin’ Time

Side two opened up with the very tasty sounding track “She’s Keeping Time.” This one was a Randy Bachman song. This is a very captivating tune, with a great pulsating guitar riff that churns throughout the entire song. Randy hit the vocal mic hard on this one. These guys were at the top of their game in 1975 in so many ways. I always thought this one should have been released as a single.

Quick Change Artist

Continuing with our love for the Four Wheel Drive album we take a listen to the second track on side two called “Quick Change Artist.” This was the second single released from the album. This one is not as heavy as the rest of the album. It’s probably why Mercury Records released this as a single. The song was written by Randy Bachman and C.F. Turner with Turner singing lead.

Lowland Fling

The more laid-back track “Quick Change Artist” set up the soft acoustic opening of “Lowland Fling.” From the start, you knew the band wouldn’t stay acoustic for too long on this one. You could feel it. There are a lot of very familiar-sounding Led Zeppelin-like classic rock licks that happen throughout this one. It’s just a fun sort of tribal party tune that was placed in the perfect spot on the album. The song was written by Randy Bachman and Blair Thornton. Randy sang lead vocals on this one.

Don’t Let the Blues Get You Down

The Four Wheel Drive album closed with another Randy Bachman and C.F. Turner song called “Don’t Let The Blues Get You Down.” This was a straight-ahead rocker that defined the classic Bachman-Turner Overdrive sound that we all loved as kids. It was just straight-ahead rock and roll that spoke to all of us before we were ready for the stuff we would all eventually get into. The sweetest part about it all is that 50 years later, it’s still as enjoyable to listen to in our 60s as it was in our early teen years.

Why We Loved Bachman–Turner Overdrive’s Four Wheel Drive LP article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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