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The Ultimate Collection

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Album Review

A seemingly well-assembled package that fails to go quite as far as it should, sticking closely to the charted material and rarely delving into the vaults for interesting oddities — three rehearsal takes are tacked onto the end of the third disc in the set, providing little of interest to collectors or to the curious. The booklet does a workmanlike job of tracking the progress of the band, but there are few insights to be found in the difficult-to-read text.

The set is built around the A and B sides of singles, with album cuts salted in between. This is effective in charting the band's progression from melodic popsters to hard rockers and back to the pop-inflected music that closed out their career. The highlights are scattered throughout — "American Woman," of course; "Rain Dance," with its unnerving echoes of American massacres, the funky, improvised live "Truckin' Off Across the Sky," even the goofy "Clap for the Wolfman," which came when the Guess Who were all but finished.

The Ultimate Collection works well as an introduction to the Guess Who, but will not gratify anyone with more than a basic need to know. On a sonic level, the set sounds good, however.

Biography

Formed: 1963 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While the Guess Who did have several hits in America, they were superstars in their home country of Canada during the 1960s and early '70s. The band grew out of vocalist/guitarist Chad Allan (born Allan Kobel) and guitarist Randy Bachman's Winnipeg-based group Chad Allan and the Expressions, originally known as first the Silvertones and then the Reflections. The remainder of the lineup featured bassist Jim Kale, pianist Bob Ashley, and drummer Garry Peterson. The Expressions recorded a cover of Johnny...
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