Canadian Documentary Takes Care of Business

Originally airing in Canada on CBC’s Documentary Channel, Bachman: Special Edition delves into the musical career and family life of Randy Bachman, the legendary Canadian rocker who founded The Guess Who in the 1960s and then went on to have more #1 hits with Bachman-Turner Overdrive in the 1970s. The man behind such hits as “American Woman,” “These Eyes,” “No Time,” “New Mother Nature,” “Takin’ Care of Business” and others reflects on his life and music in this well-crafted documentary.

The documentary first touches on Bachman’s early life in Winnipeg and his seminal success with The Guess Who. Never far from a guitar, Bachman’s passion and dedication helped him grow into one of Canada’s foremost guitarists.

A host of talking heads expound on Bachman and his talents, including personal friend Neil Young, Rush’s Alex Lifeson, Peter Frampton, Paul Shaffer and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Director John Barnard ensures Bachman’s work in The Guess Who, Brave Belt, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive receives the main focus. Watch as the musician dives into his gigantic guitar collection, pulling out his prized beauties for display.

…a nice overview of the man and his music over the decades

A nice balance is struck by peppering in his changing personal life over the years with interviews featuring his brother and two of his adult children. Topics include Bachman becoming a Mormon during his days in the Guess Who, which is one of the big reasons for his exit from the successful group. If you are wondering, former lead singer Burton Cummings is not interviewed in the documentary.

A rock star that didn’t indulge in the typical rockstar lifestyle, that growing divide in lifestyles with other members of the group eventually saw Bachman ousted from The Guess Who. Bachman picked himself up and got back to his singular passion for making music, ultimately hooking up with Fred Turner for Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The doc doesn’t shy away from covering Bachman’s divorce, as his constant touring during those years ultimately drove his family apart despite the immense financial success.

Covering the ups and downs of Randy Bachman’s life and career, Bachman is a well-done documentary that effectively utilizes his hits for its soundtrack. Rare concert clips, archival photographs and a litany of friends and experts like music journalist John Einarson contribute their thoughts on Randy Bachman.

The documentary also provides a glimpse of Randy Bachman working today in the studio on new material, this time reworking covers of George Harrison songs like “Here Comes The Sun.” It’s a nice overview of the man and his music over the decades, worth catching for fans and those interested in classic rock music history.

Video

Bachman: Special Edition gets a strong 1080P presentation on Blu-ray courtesy of FilmRise and MVD Visual. The 78-minute main feature is encoded in flawless AVC on a BD-25. Presented at the expected 1.78:1 aspect ratio in outstanding clarity and definition, this is excellent video quality for a music documentary. The talking head interviews come through in perfect modern HD video.

A few of the older concert clips are sourced from lower resolution sources but it’s a fairly seamless transition.

Audio

It’s a small shame that lossless audio has been left off this special edition disc because this is music that deserves it. The 5.1 Dolby Digital audio features a nice surround mix that tightly integrates Bachman’s hit music into the soundstage.

The dynamic mastering offers plenty of headroom for such classics as “Takin’ Care of Business” with a pleasant midrange and driving bass. Isolated vocals and even instrument separation are spread around the front soundstage with the usual amount of ambient rear support. Dialogue is perfectly intelligible.

A secondary 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack is included in the same fidelity as the surround mix. Optional English SDH subtitles appear in a white font.

Extras

Bachman: Special Edition sees the addition of new special features left off FilmRise’s first release of Bachman. This is all material obviously prepared for inclusion into the main documentary which didn’t seem to make the final cut. Nothing is especially long but all of them are worth a look.

Neil Young On Winnipeg (01:44 in HD) – The classic rock legend recalls how Randy Bachman was a guitar legend in Winnipeg back in the 1960s long before he became famous.

Randy’s Crazy Horse (01:53 in HD) – The Sadies discuss working with Bachman as his recent backing band.

Building a Reprise ‘Here Comes the Sun’ (03:30 in HD) – Randy Bachman fiddles in the studio, finishing up work on the song.

On Chords (01:23 in HD)

Songwriting ‘When No One Knows’ (02:21 in HD)

Trailer (01:47 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Bachman: Special Edtion
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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A Canadian documentary that catches up with musician Randy Bachman and succinctly covers the ups and downs of his personal and professional life.

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