I’m often told that I’m “too young” to enjoy a certain type of music – specifically anything that was released before 1990. After all, what would a 33-year old know about the Beatles, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and many other classic bands that shaped the music I’m “supposed” to like? Well, I can tell you that I know what I like, and I like the hard-rocking sounds of Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Nothing thrills me more than popping in this CD (oh, yes, I appreciate the purity of vinyl and, thanks to my dad, I’ve got my own 8-track player and a nice collection of tapes, but the convenience of a CD or mp3 player wins every time), and dancing away to songs written before I was born. Does the fact that these guys mastered the art of rock before I spoke my first word erase the impact BTO has made on music? I thought not. And so, if you’ll indulge me, I’ll let you know exactly what I think of the 24K+ Gold Edition of Not Fragile.
Since I grew up listening to classic rock and country, I’m no stranger to BTO anyway. They’re a band that will live forever, year after year, simply because they still reach people today. When their music is re-released, new generations get a chance to discover an appreciation for them. The 24K+ Gold Edition of Not Fragile makes it possible, because the music still retains its original depth and warmth. The growling vocals on the first and title track are perfectly preserved, remaining one of the Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s masterpieces of music. If you listen closely, you’ll hear exactly how this band has influenced guitar-heavy music groups since.
It’s difficult to recapture the magic of the 1974 release, but this remastered disc certainly does treat the music well. The playfully raucous You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, a tune that everyone has heard at least once, is remarkably smooth. Sledgehammer is still a personal favorite, with the solid guitar riffs supporting the soaring and screaming vocals. I admit that I’ve added this song to my regular playlist rotation just so I can wail along in the car. The dirty blues of Blue Moanin’ are cleaner than ever, and as much as I like to sing along, I just can’t quit Freewheelin’, the instrumental featuring driving percussion and some amazing guitar acrobatics.
In all, Audio Fidelity has truly lived up to its name with this faithful remastery. I’d like to make a little list to send along, so that some of my other favorite bands from the 60s and 70s could get the same treatment. If you’re a Bachman-Turner Overdrive fan, you’ll have no complaints about the quality of sound. If you’re unfamiliar with this legendary band, then this 24K+ Gold Edition of Not Fragile is the best possible way for Audio Fidelity to facilitate an introduction.