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Music Video Distributors presents
Randy Bachman: Every Song Tells a Story (2002)

"Just a band from a prairie town/Sometimes we’d drive from coast to coast/One call from LA and we’d pack and fly away/But in our hearts we’re always prairie folk"
- Randy Bachman (from Prairie Town)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: November 06, 2003

Stars: Randy Bachman
Other Stars: Colin Arthur Wiebe, Mick Dalla-Vee, Rogé Belanger
Director: Floyd Lansing

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:16m:31s
Release Date: November 12, 2002
UPC: 022891434399
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Long before the advent of video and an image-driven music industry, an artist's following was based primarily on the quality of their music, as heard over the airwaves, and few artists will ever boast the kind of success to which Winnipeg-born songwriter Randy Bachman can lay claim. A guitarist with a penchant for jazz, he would lead not one, but two major recording acts to the top of the international charts, setting new sales records in his home country, and selling over 40 million records worldwide.

In the late 1960s, he and co-writer Burton Cummings would pen a string of number one hits with The Guess Who, who by 1970 had outsold the entire Canadian record industry. At the height of the band's success, Bachman quit, but would soon return with a new project, Bravebelt, which mutated into his second multi-million selling enterprise, Bachman Turner Overdrive, for whom he not only performed and wrote, but also took up the producer's chair. BTO would release six albums before Randy's departure, becoming one of the biggest selling bands of the 1970s, and producing a collection of classic songs that remain radio favorites to this day.

So how does a young musician break out of a Canadian prairie town to become one of the leading forces in the music industry? Every Song Tells a Story presents Randy and his current band—Colin Arthur Wiebe (keyboards, vocals, guitar), Mick Dalla-Vee (bass, vocals), and Rogé Belanger (drums, vocals) in an intimate concert performance at Vancouver's East Cultural Center. In between acoustic performances of a collection of Randy's hit songs, he relates the stories that lie behind them, from their inspiration to their place in the history of his music.

The set opens with Prairie Town, from Randy's 1994 solo effort, Any Road, a fitting intro to the man behind the songs, with some humorous anecdotes about Neil Young's involvement in the recording and subsequent video. The set includes Guess Who hits No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature, Undun, These Eyes, Laughing, No Time and American Woman, along with BTO favorites, Let it Ride, Four Wheel Drive, Hey You, Looking Out for #1, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet and Takin' Care of Business. Randy handles vocals on most of the BTO tunes, while Colin Arthur Wiebe sings the songs Burton Cummings would have performed lead on with The Guess Who. These interpretations are extremely interesting, maintaining most of the classic elements, but with some new directions.

While the live performances alone would warrant a purchase for fans, what sets this disc apart is are the stories that Bachman offers in an extremely personable dialogue, and the intimate setting allows for a very casual experience. Despite his success, he is still genuine and grounded, thankful and humbled by the fortune he has experienced with his craft, and to the fans who supported his life's work. Randy's storytelling provides a fascinating and often humorous look behind his career, and in context with the music, the audience is let in on the creative process, and can see how the ideas behind the songs evolved into the hits they are today.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: For a live performance, the video quality here is extremely good. Colors are well saturated, black levels solid, and detail excellent. There are a few areas where backgrounds test the limitations of MPEG encoding in blue gradients, but otherwise this is fine presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in stereo and 5.1 mixes. Both exhibit a pleasant tonal spectrum, and excellent fidelity, with the 5.1 track being a little more present sounding. Directionality is somewhat limited, with the surrounds being primarily audience and ambience. The audio suits the program well, and is not in least bit disappointing.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Music/Song Access with 13 cues and remote access
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Behind the scenes featurette
  2. Music videos
Extras Review: Extras include a 12m:36s Backstage Pass, which offers more insight into the man and his music. Here, Bachman outlines the concept behind his Every Song Tells a Story tour, while showing footage from rehearsal and promotional events.

Also available are videos for both the slow and fast versions of Prairie Town, the story of which is presented in the main feature.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Every Song Tells a Story is an essential addition to any serious music library. The combination of an unplugged style concert in a small venue, along with Randy Bachman's reflections on his work and career create an entertaining and informative experience with one of the music industry's legendary figures. Very highly recommended.


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