Friday, December 02, 2011

Rollin' On Canadian Highway With BTO Rockers...


Thanks to my wonderful Canadian buddy Rob M. for the songs I've learnt and the ride along the scenic Canadian Highway:

My own knowledge of heavy metal or rock bands is hardly enough for me to write any decent posting on the genre. But I truly appreciate my first ever heavies when I listened to Deep Purple in the 70s and except for a few songs like Smoke On The Water, Highway Star and Black Night the interest stopped there because I could not take too much of the cacophony and extremely high decibels emanating from both the powerfully voiced singers and their amplified instruments. It was only by chance that I listened to this genre of music again.

On a nostalgia trip in the mid-nineties I returned to Vancouver, Canada and travelled from there to Winnipeg in a car. A really wonderful Winnipegian friend (image 2) came all the way from his home town, drove West to B.C. for two days, picked me up from the city in his purple, 1995 two door sports Chevvy Cavalier and we drove back East for the next 8 days, seeing sights across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskachewan, Manitoba and hearing songs by *BTO (image 5, 6) and other 60s to 70s rockers from his car-radio.

We met many friendly bikers along the way (image 4), bears catching trout on the Canadian rivers, deer that walk the roads, camouflaged white goats amidst the pale hills and sometimes soaring eagles in the skies. In the background, the rugged mountains, hush pines and glacial plains (image 1) were a bonus.

"You seem to love loud music?" I asked on the second day of our journey.

"To keep me awake Andy," he replied. "You don't wanna drive the car since you guys drive on the wrong side of the road in Singapore and I have to keep myself awake all the time. Besides, BTO music is truckers' music and drivers keep themselves awake and entertained with heavy metal and CBRadio."

I understood what he meant. It was hard for him to keep awake during the long and quiet drives (image 2), especially after lunch. I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the journey realising that if it weren't for my good friend I would have to suffer a bus trip that would take more days. But I always made sure he was awake and chatted with him when the player was switched off.

The baptism of gutter guitar filled me with fire and after some driving practice I took over Rob's car on the fourth day. I learnt a few songs on the road like, Taking Care Of Business, Roll On Down The Highway, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, Take It Like A Man, Let It Ride, a favourite American Woman and other rock hits.

I also realised that the growling guitars and gruff grinding of voices from heavy rock kept me awake while we were on the long Canadian roads from two o'clock in the afternoon, sometimes under a blazing Canadian sun in the middle of June. But when the eyes just would not open, we would shade under a large tree on a side road and take a cat nap.

I was sad, not glad, when I had to leave Winnipeg again and missing the BTO stuff that I never got to collect. I am still learning about this genre of music. Anyone got any vinyls or CDs of truckers' music to spare?

*"Bachman–Turner Overdrive (frequently known as BTO) is a Canadian rock group from Winnipeg, Manitoba, that had a series of hit albums and singles in the 1970s, selling over 7 million albums in that decade alone. Their 1970s catalog included five Top 40 albums and six Top 40 singles.

The band has sold nearly 30 million albums worldwide, and has fans affectionately known as gearheads (derived from the band's gear-shaped logo). Many of their songs still receive play on FM classic rock stations (Wiki)."

Images 1, 2, 3, 4/original article: Andy Lim Collection.

Image 5, 6: You Tube and Google.


Anonymous said...

From Rob M:

You must have worked a very long time on the blog, it's very good. I still have that sweater taken at the lake, now I know how old it is. I miss the mountains as I haven't been there for over 10-12 years.

I have a better and bigger car today than that Chevy but I don't travel in Canada anymore.

I go to the States because gas, food, motels and goods are all cheaper. Their highways are a lot better.

I like to drive to Arizona, to visit my friend who moved there, but it's many miles away and a good four day drive.

I also flew to Phoenix, London, Ontario and Florida to visit other friends.


Andy Lim* said...

Thanks for visiting. We must get together again and play BTO in the car.

I miss the maple trees!

Dr. Tan Wee Kiat said...

Hi! Folks,
I browsed Andy's website to find out why rugged people love Rock Music.

Here, besides the nice pictures of the Canadian countryside, there are music videos on the sidebar.

Of these music videos, I found the one "Show Them to me" by Rodney C. most interesting.

I bet some FOYers (who? who?) will find it interesting too. Ha! Ha!

wee kiat

James Seah said...

Thank you Wee Kiat,

Sure nice watching the Canadian cowboys posted by Andy.

We love Rock Music since our young once days!


Anonymous said...

From private email of Peter Chan:

Youthful days, I listened to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull (????).

Andy Lim* said...

Hi Gentlemen,
Thanks very much for all the comments.

I am also glad Wee Kiat noticed Rodney C's 'Show Them To Me'.

Wow, the ladies really showed them to him, very large ones too, ha, ha!

Victor must have missed them huh?

Andy Lim* said...

I can imagine Peter Chan loving rock music since he was a solid bass player and pianist but I cannot imagine James appreciating rock.

Sorry James, you gotta convince me.

Victor said...

No, I did not miss them, Andy. And no need to hide behind euphemisms or pseudonyms like "FOYers (who? who?), Wee Kiat. I admit unabashedly that thoroughly enjoyed it... or rather, "them" which the ladies showed. Haha.

Andy Lim* said...

Victor's reply reminds me of a line from a Christmas song:

He's making a list
And checking it twice.
He's going to find out
Who's naughty and nice.
Santa Claus is comin' to town.

I think the 4th line describes him perfectly.

Merry Christmas to all. And thanks for the support.

Wikipedia: Canadian Rock said...

From: 'Canadian Rock' Wikipedia 1970s Section.

Bracket numerals are 'References' found at the end of the article.

With the introduction in the mid 70s period of rock music on FM radio stations, where it was common practice to program extended performances, musicians were no longer limited to songs of three minutes' duration as dictated by AM stations.[78]

The Canadian music industry was still nascent, with little independent music media and a limited distribution infrastructure.[79]

The two most internationally renowned bands to arise from this industry were Bachman–Turner Overdrive and Rush, both featuring acclaimed managers.

Bachman–Turner Overdrive's manager, Bruce Allen, went on to produce Loverboy and eventually manage such major pop stars as Bryan Adams and Anne Murray.[4]

Randy Bachman (formerly of The Guess Who) released his new band's first album under the name Bachman–Turner Overdrive in spring 1973, which won two Juno Awards despite being largely ignored in the US.

Their second album Bachman–Turner Overdrive II hit #4 in the U.S.[6] BTO II was certified gold in eight countries.[80] It also yielded their best-remembered # 1 single, "Takin' Care of Business" written by Randy Bachman.[6]

1974's album Not Fragile went straight to the top of the charts, and the single "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" hit #1 in the U.S.[6] and #2 in the UK.[6]

One of the largest exports to date is Rush, that boasts 25 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records,[81] making them one of the best-selling rock bands in history by 2005.[82]

Rush currently place third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band.[24][83]

Fiona (UK): said...

I was brought up in Singapore and this song was the first I remember my parents playing - there was a 'b' side but I am not sure what it was.

We moved back to UK in the early Sixties and I have never found anyone else who remembers it.

The fact you have placed it as Singapore 60's make sense to me - I have now downloaded it and it brings back happy memories of childhood.

Thank you <3

Eng Hwa Koh Joey said...

Happy Canada Day Andy Young!
Be happy & stay healthy.
Keep smiling :)

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Joey. this posting has been renewed today. It's Canada Day 2016. Hooray.