The Guess Who? “It’s Time”

It’s Time

There is no doubt that It’s Time was the best album from the early Guess Who. This 1966 LP was the first Guess Who record to feature the wild Burton Cummings. It’s Time was the third Guess Who album in 3 years, featuring mostly original/self-penned group compositions.

The album featured a nice balance of personalities: the original band leader Chad Allen, who favored a moody beat style tempered by a rough, hard edge Rolling Stone’s influenced Burton Cummings (future band leader along with Randy Bachman and vocalist on American Woman). Special praise must go to Randy Bachman as well: he conjures a very dirty, fuzzy guitar tone throughout the record. Every song on this album is well-crafted and one can hear the clear influence of the Who, beat era Kinks, Rolling Stones, Zombies, and Byrds. Songs like Clock On The Wall, Believe Me and Don’t Act So Bad are a long way from Guess Who radio classics These Eyes, Laughing, No Time, and Share The Land. Clock On The Wall is the killer undisputed classic on this record. At the time, Neil Young made special note of this single for it’s dramatic Cummings’ vocals and heavily reverbed guitars. Believe Me is also an excellent piece of Kink’s style garage grunge with some interesting keyboard work. Cummings’ vocals come thru again with the Animals influenced Seven Long Years and the raunchy Pretty Things-like Don’t Act So Bad. Chad Allen really shines on the acoustic beat downer Guess I’ll Find A Place while the Bachman penned And She’s Mine has an appealing rural folk-rock Byrd’s feel. And while the album cannot hide it’s influences, It’s Time really is a classic piece of Canadian rock music.

This album holds as one of the best ever garage albums because vocally and instrumentally the Guess Who were way ahead of the pack. They released plenty of excellent garage/beat era 45’s as well, track done excellent singles such as It’s My Pride or If You Don’t Want Me for more proof of their early raw sound. This would be the last Guess Who album featuring Chad Allan. After this, Allan would go on to form Brave Belt with Randy Bachman, who would release two albums in the early 70’s. Brave Belt’s debut record is a fantastic mix of country, folk, pop rock, and psychedelia. Fans of country-rock or of this website are strongly urged to track this record down.

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“Clock On The Wall”

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9 Comments.

  • Robert

    The Guess Who are a very underated band. They seem to be remembered most for their string of AM hits, but there was alot more going on that just those hits.

  • Jason

    I have some of the later albums such as American Woman, Canned Wheat and so forth. They are all good but I never got around to hearing Wheatfield Soul from 1968. Is this any good?

  • J. Daniels

    I downloaded the mp3 files are they are infested with poor sound quality. Loud clicks, distorted sections, loud thuds, etc. Is this because a poor encoder was used or is this the actual sound on the recordings? Lame should always be used (variable bit rate/joint stereo. Research will confirm it is the best encoder, bar none. I cannot use these files as the quality is terrible. I will gladly buy this cd, but if the sound is actually on the recording then what’s the point.

  • Brendan

    Hey it’s a Garage record from ’66. Try turning it up louder.

  • Anonymous

    I realize its a record. I grew up with records. I have thousands of these. Records sound better than CD’s. However, the poor sound of the tracks distracts from enjoying the music. I’m not knocking that this is available, but I would like to obtain a clean copy. I can’t even clean it up with advanced audio tools without further degrading the sound. I have remixed it, which does hide some of the flaws, but that in itself takes away from the orginal recording. I am compilling Canadian stuff like this with bands such as Witness Inc. (Streetheart) 49th Parallel, Checkerlads, etc.. All I need is some of the very early Guess Who stuff and my first volume is complete. However, the tracks must be as pristine as possible or fixable, but these tracks cannot be fixed so they can be enjoyed. I guess I’ll have to buy the CD’s. Even if an mp3 is available, everybody in the world seems to encode at 128kps (crap quality). 192 isn’t bad but still isn’t CD quality sound. Its about the same quality as a cassette tape. As I stated, all music should be encoded with Lame, varible bit rate/joint stereo. The difference between the orginal and CD is not distinguishable unless you are a dog. I did manage do download all three early albums at once (torrent). Every song is bits and pieces of the orginal. Duh.

  • Brendan

    Look, no hard feelings intended, ok? But the point of our site is to encourage people to seek out these records in full, via official CD or vinyl releases. The samples provided are usually around 160-192kbs though I’m sure we’ve slipped some 128s up (we have several contributors and not enough time to ensure consistency w/ regards to encoding). Files are purposely degraded in this manner so that folks who spend the time and money tracking down these records are gaining seriously more value than what we’ve already provided.

    I realize, and respect, that you are listening very carefully to the technical sound quality in these recordings. For what it’s worth, I enjoy all of the music posted on this site a great deal, regardless of the lame encoding or sample rate.

    I hate to make an assumption, as I said, no hard feelings (we appreciate feedback of any nature), but if you are working on a project that truly requires sound files of pristine SQ, my guess is that you should be talking to the original artists or labels rather than searching the internet for free downloads.

  • Hi there.

    Here’s some background info on the re-issue of “It’s Time” as well as the other 2 Quality/Legend Records issues “Shakin’ All Over” & “Hey Ho (What You Do To Me)”.

    I had contacted the National Library of Canada’s music division regarding the Randy Bachman collection (his collection of tapes, discs, memorabillia, ect) and specifically the “early” Guess Who/Quality Records recordings. Richard Green from the music division was very helpful. The NLC had master reels that Randy had obtained from Selkirk (which bought out Quality in the 1980’s), and also mint original pressings of the first 3 albums. The “Quality” masters were on several reels, jumbled together with different GW tracks. (Remember, Quality put out a few compilations and leased out the tracks after the GW hit it big, so the original “master” compilations of the first 3 albums do not (possibly) exist anymore.) The NLC did transfers off both the master reels AND the original vinyl pressings. What versions Randy and Legend records decided to use for the reissues is still unknown to me. Its miraculous that these tapes survived at all.

    Also, the “3 “Legend” CD’s are processed to simulate stereo, and I don’t know if this because Quality re-mastered the tapes in the late ’60’s for “stereo” (for their compilations and the leasing copies) or if this was done “post-tape transfer”. Another theory is that the “mono” tapes were played back on a 2- track machine during the transfer, which introduces sound problems to begin with. A close listen of the CD’s on headphones will reveal one “channel” sounds “dirtier” than the other. Again, I am unable to get this clarified. That’s one reason why the sound isn’t quite right. They sound MUCH better when I flick the “mono” switch on my amp.

    The audible tape “glitch” on “Baby Feelin'” is also apparent on the original vinyl pressing. Maybe the tape got damaged at the plant, maybe it’s a bad edit splice. Who knows. That was 42 years ago.

    Amazingly, however, the songs that appear on “It’s Time” and the other 2 CD’s appear in better sound quality (with some tracks appearing for the first time in STEREO!!!) on the Sundazed collection “Shakin’ All Over”. I did not get a reply from Sundazed yet, but I believe they used some of the tapes that were originally in the “Scepter” records archives. Or maybe they used the NCL tapes and this time the transfers were done with better gear. Again, this needs to be confirmed. I know the Scepter subsidiary “Wand” used some true stereo mixes on thier 1969 compilation “Made In Canada – Sown & Grown””. I have this LP. It has a very unique version of “One Day” that was recorded at Scepter in 1965 and has a slightly faster tempo with a “poppier” feel than the “It’s Time” version. This mix has never been issued since, making this particular album a collector’s item.

    Anyhoo, just some background info on this album and its reissue. Hope it was informative and entertaining. Cheers.

    Keltie Harding
    Shoeless Wonder Productions

  • freqazoidiac

    Amazing album.just a revelation. Too bad it got put under back in ’66.
    The LP got two runs, as there is a blue label and a maroon label. I think
    someone mentioned there was a MONO and a STEREO release.
    Regardless, of what version the Legend reissue is, it’s got some ass kicking good sound.
    This CD is a very good version to grab, and it will save you literally hundreds of dollars…if you
    are unlucky to find one on vinyl.. believe me..it’s tough, have been collecting vinyl here in Ontario canada for almost 20 years, and have never seen a copy.

  • Michael Heeb

    I actually have a green vinyl copy of the album; signed by Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Gary Peterson and Jim Kale. I recieved it from Randy during the Pan AM games in August of 1999. I am trying to find out specificaly how many of these albums were produced?

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