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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

THE GUESS WHO ? chad allan expressions-Shakin all over-1964-Quality MONO-canada-V1756 LPCD


the original MONO 1st pressing of the Guess Who's first LP.



From the year 1964, comes the band that eventually became probably, the biggest and most
well known rock group from Canada. Initially under the tutilage of a one Mr.Chad Allan
from Canada (he seriously is a musical genius) the band (which included the nucleus
of what would remain a driving creative force of Pop Rock goodness until the current
day) would chart massive success first in Canada, then the USA and to the astonishment of the band, worldwide. This album is PRE- Burton Cummings, who would fly in from a dynamic
Garage band around the corner to add I guess the band thought, some "sex" appeal. But as Guess Who fans know, he's no slouch musically, handling a deft vocal range, keyboards, guitar, and flute among his bag of tricks. A perfect replacement for Chad Allan, and listening to this first album, it sounds like Burton at times, but this is Burton emulating Chad, and Chad emulating Cliff (Richards). haha.

Following is a nice bit of info from ( a tribute to Chad and the Guess Who) : 

Crossed-Paths Anecdotes 
by Bill Hillman 
In the late '50s, the radio ads for a new Winnipeg rock 'n' roll band drew my attention. I had just bought my first electric guitar, a shiny black, Les Paul-shaped instrument with gold fleck and white binding. It was made by the Harmony guitar company for the Simpson's-Sears Company of Canada and was called a Silvertone. Obviously this guitar left an impression on this new group of young musicians led by Chad Allan (Allan Kowbel) as they had named their new group: Allan and the Silvertones.

Bill Hillman 
and his Silvertone Guitar

Allan and the Silvertones  
Business Card

Allan Kowbel, Johnny Glowa and  
Ralph Lavalley: Early Silvertones
In 1961 I packed up my ever-present Silvertone and moved to Brandon where I had enrolled in a Bachelor of Science programme at Brandon College. My first years in college in the early '60s were exciting musical times. I was performing in a country band on a daily TV show, a jazz combo, pick-up bands, old-time groups, and various rock bands where I played guitar instrumentals for four hours a night. The manager of one of these rock bands also owned the Brandon Roller Rink which featured some of the top USA touring bands of the day: Ventures, Fireballs, Conway Twitty (when he was a rocker), Johnny Burnette, Dorsey Burnette, black blues bands, Bobby Curtola, etc. Through our connections with the manager we got to see and meet them all. There was, however, a local band that consistently drew as well as the American acts: Chad Allan and the Reflections from Winnipeg.

For years I had been importing records and magazines from England through friends, relatives and obscure record catalogues: mainly LPs by Lonnie Donegan and his Skiffle Group, and later, Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Strangely, many of the first folk and blues songs and guitar riffs I learned were by way of Donegan who had adapted London library archival blues and folk recordings from America into a music craze that swept England in the '50s.  In these pre-Beatles days very few bands did many vocals so I was on a constant search for good guitar instrumentals. England's Shadows with Hank B. Marvin's unique Stratocaster interpretations fit the bill nicely and provided material that wasn't available to most other guitar players of the time.

Whenever the Chad Allan band came to town however,  I was thrilled to hear that they were tapping many of the same sources I was using for music ideas. They owed much of their stage presentation, sound and show material to the current British music scene and they obviously had a trans-Atlantic pipeline similar to the one I had found. Later I learned that the source of most of their material was through collector extraordinaire, Wayne Russell, whom I would meet many years later when he moved to Brandon to take over the operation of a specialty record store.

Lead player Randy Bachman played a Gretsch similar to the one I used but thanks to an innovative tape delay setup he was able to get authentic Shadows sounds that would make any lead player drool in envy. Drummer Garry Peterson was one of the best drummers I had seen anywhere and bassist Jim Kale livened every show with his onstage antics. In those years it was very hard to mike pianos to get a good sound but the band's sound system made good advantage of Bob Ashley's piano fills.

Singer/rhythm player Chad Allan had a unique voice, somewhat similar to Cliff Richard's in tonal quality. By the time the Beatles phenomenon hit Canada, many Chad Allan fans actually thought that the fab four were imitating the Reflections as the band had been doing Beatles songs with authentic arrangements and harmonies long before they became popular over here. The first time I saw them they were working toward releasing some of their unique stage material on record: A Tribute to Buddy Holly done with a Shadows sound,  a rockin' piano instrumental actually written by Chad and a driving guitar number by Randy that he pieced together from imported British guitar instrumentals: Made In England.  This was big time!

Throughout the '60s the Reflections, later to become the Expressions and still later the Guess Who, played Brandon many times in many different venues: the Brandon Roller Rink, the old Brandon Arena, Brandon University Gym, CFB Shilo and probably a few more I've forgotten. I attended most of these shows and along the way developed a passing acquaintance with the guys.
The band was one of the few prairie bands that was successfully releasing records and most of the local fans and musicians were intrigued by this. We looked forward to each new release by them. I remember requesting the same song, show after show - a song which jokingly became known between us as "the one with the shivering minors." (Actually there were no real minor chords in the song but Randy's distinctive use of his Bigsby tremolo gave it a driving minor feel.) It was obvious to me that this song had to be their next recording project: Shakin' All Over. (Listen)

I attended summer school at the University of Manitoba in the summer of '63. One of my courses was Atomic Physics and coincidentally Chad Allan was also taking the course. He mentioned that he, Randy Bachman and Jim Kale were playing downtown every night in the Gold Coach Lounge at the Town and Country nightclub. Garry Peterson wasn't allowed to play with them in the lounge because he was underage but for some reason he was given permission to play in the house band upstairs in the main dinner theatre.

From then on, too many of my nights were spent in the T&C lounge - time that obviously would have been better spent studying physics and calculus. The music was great and the audience in this small intimate room was almost as entertaining as the band: brawling Winnipeg Blue Bomber football players, ladies of the night with their sugar daddies, media personalities and radio DJs, musicians, groupies, young and old, rich and poor. During one of the breaks each night I would make a reconnaissance trek over to the nearby Marlborough Hotel lounge to check out the size of the crowd that the rival band, The Squires, had drawn. I'd hear a few songs by this group that featured another Gretsch player - a singer with an unusual voice - and then rush back with my report to the band and to catch the rest of the shows. The guitar player with the unusual voice was actually NeilYoung who later moved to California where he did quite well.

The Original Guess Who
During this summer I was invited over to Chad's parents' house a number of times - a few times to study physics together which didn't work out too well as we spent most of our time discussing music - and another time after the lounge closed when he and Randy shared the excitement of showing off their new Rickenbacker guitars that had arrived from the States earlier that day. They were a tad disappointed in the instruments as they appeared to be 3/4 size guitars . . . much smaller than what they had expected.
Randy had admired my Gretsch Nashville Chet Atkins model guitar and when I mentioned that my dad could order them wholesale through his business he asked if I could order him one (Soon after another acquaintance was able to import one for him from the States and we didn't follow through on the venture). Randy's familiarity with my Gretsch served me well, however. The guitar was stolen from me a year later, and sometime after that I got word from Randy that he had recognized the instrument in a Winnipeg Main Street pawn shop. I contacted the RCMP and eventually my guitar was returned... after a year's absence. This early exposure to Gretsch guitars has had a lasting effect. I eventually collected five of them . . . and Randy went on to amass the largest collection of Gretsch models in the world. His collection now makes up the bulk of the guitars hundreds of guitars at the Gretsch Museum.

At the peak of the explosion of teen bands in Winnipeg in the mid-'60s we often drove in from Brandon to play community clubs, arenas and school gyms in the area. Our most memorable gig, however, was on November 16, 1964, when we opened a show for the Everly Brothers, Roger Miller and the Newbeats at the Winnipeg Auditorium. Following our opening set we backed Larry Henley (years later Henley wrote Wind Beneath My Wings) and the Newbeats as they did all their hits. Adding to the thrill of appearing on this show was the satisfaction of seeing all the members of the Chad Allan and the Reflections group seated in the front row of the audience. A month later we started a winter tour as backup band with Canadian pop star, Bobby Curtola - a job that Chad Allan and the Reflections had done a year earlier.

Dovermen Opening for Everly Bros. & Roger Miller ~ On Tour with Bobby Curtola

Chad Allan and the Reflections On Tour With Bobby Curtola

Sometime in '65 or '66 Sue-On and I attended one of the band's shows in Brandon, probably at the Brandon University gym. We were invited to their hotel room for an after-show reception where I proudly introduced my fiance to the band. Soon after, on one of my regular visits into Winnipeg to see Sue-On during our forced separation in the winter of '65/'66 we managed to see the band at Transcona's Pink Panther club - a show where Chad and newcomer Burton Cummings shared the spotlight as lead vocalists. This was one of Chad's last performances with the band.
Around this time we attended another of the band's shows in the Brandon Arena in which they shared the bill with an up-and-coming young singer whose main claim to fame at that time was that he had written a song for the Monkees: Neil Diamond.

In the '67/'68 TV season I managed to tape most of the CBC Winnipeg Let's Go shows on my audio reel-to-reel recorder. This collection of shows is a unique time capsule of the mood and hits of the late '60s and it is also an interesting curiosity piece for any Chad Allan and Guess Who fans. By this time Chad had departed from the group but was hired by CBC to host this weekly TV show which showcased the Guess Who as the feature band.

Let's Go on CBC: Guess Who with Chad Allan as host
In 1968, while we were performing at the Junior Ranks Club at CFB Shilo, the Guess Who came into the club after a CBC-TV taping on the base and jammed with us into the wee hours. Burton played Sue-On's Hohner electric pianet keyboard while Randy played through my Fender Twin Reverb amp. The night got more than a little wild as the guys were in a celebratory mood. In fact, Randy got so carried away with feedback that he blew a speaker in my amp. The band had cause to celebrate as they were preparing to leave in a few days for their first major RCA/Nimbus 9 recording session in New York. Although very excited about this break, the band expressed frustration with producer Jack Richardson's choice of material for the first session. The song drawing most of their ire was a sappy ballad called These Eyes - hardly a fitting debut for a band that wanted to rock the world. They just didn't think that this song would get any airplay, nor was it representative of their style. Richardson won out however, and alas, the single only sold a million copies . . . and launched the band on a wave of success unequalled by any other Canadian group. The band would not return to the Brandon area for another three decades.

We crossed paths with Chad Allan again in the early '70s. Sue-On and I were recording our second album at the original Century 21 Studios on Winnipeg's King Edward Street. Chad had dropped around to check out the studio's new facilities and coincidentally we were recording the old Buddy Holly hit, O Boy, in a rock medley. At just about the time he walked through the door we were recruiting everyone within shouting distance to add a handclap track to the song. This definitely was not one of the most prestigious recording assignments he had ever done, but it was fun. During a break in our session we learned that neither of us had done too well with the Atomic Physics course we had both studied so many years before. But both of us had gone on eventually to earn a number of university degrees -- Chad in psychology and myself in geography, computers and education. Another Guess Who/Bachman sideman, Marc LaFrance - veteran of hundreds of rock albums - played drums on our sixth album.

Hillmans in the Studio and On the Road in the Early '70s

Younger fans of the Guess Who and even Canadian music historians are often not aware of the tremendous talent possessed by the band's founder, Chad Allan. He was the group's original lead singer and front man, as well as rhythm guitarist, songwriter and sometime pianist. It was Chad who brought in Bob Ashley and Jim Kale from the Jaywalkers, followed by Randy Bachman and then Garry Peterson from the Jurymen. He went on to mold this group of young musicians into Winnipeg's top group.

He displayed a wide range of vocal stylings, handling everything from throaty soft ballads to rave-up, screaming rockers such as the groups first International hit, Shakin' All Over. Unfortunately, Chad didn't stick it out with the group long enough to share the acclaim and riches the group earned in later years. Ironically, he was also a key element in the formation and later success of the band, Brave Belt that also went on to tremendous popularity under the new name, Bachman-Turner-Overdrive. Chad's contributions to these two groups that went on to incredible worldwide popularity can not be over emphasized.

( GO TO for TONS more great info ) 

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