The Guess Who - Wheatfield Soul

The Canadian Doors of perception swing open…

Wheatfield Soul

Neil Young, Joni
Mitchell, Leonard
Cohen… Late
60s America just
wouldn’t have
been the same without its vital
Canadian ingredients. Like their
fellow Canucks, The Guess
Who’s Randy Bachman (guitar
whiz) and Burton Cummings
(soulful, rocking vocals) had a
special skill for absorbing exotic
styles, then synthesising their
influences into something very
nearly new.

In 1968 the band left behind
their (not unsuccessful) English
Invasion incarnation and bravely
threw soul and blues, psych and
folk into the cooking pot.
Cummings himself coined the
umbrella term “Wheatfield Soul”
for their distant take on West
Coast rock, Memphis soul and
jazzy virtuosity, complete with
trippy Beatleisms, funky vocals
and zeitgeist-tapping lyrics.

The huge, orchestrated lead
single, These Eyes, had a radio-friendly
comfort about it and
showed the way forward. The
whole LP was brilliantly recorded
and produced at New York’s A&R
Studios, and further benefits from
Iconoclassic’s painstaking 40th
Anniversary remaster and the
inclusion of bonus singles –
though that’s not to say it’s
entirely listenable in one sitting. A
bold, groovy chemistry experiment
with one 10-minute train-of-consciousness
psychout and one faux Eleanor
Rigby too far.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Iconoclassic | ICON 1008

Reviewed by Derek Hammond
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