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Trooper - 1977 Knock 'Em Dead Kid

ARTIST: Trooper
ALBUM: Knock 'Em Dead Kid
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1990, MCA, MCAD 31218


LINEUP: Ra McGuire - vocals * Brian Smith - guitars * Frank Ludwig - keyboards * Doni Underhill - bass * Tommy Stewart - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Knock 'Em Dead Kid * 02 Waitin' On Your Love * 03 Most Of The Country * 04 You Look So Good * 05 We're Here For A Good Time * 06 Oh Pretty Lady * 07 Cold Cold Toronto * 08 Long Time


They are one of a number of Canadian stalwarts that were popular across the Maple Leaf divide back in the 70's. They've released a ton of albums, most are revered in their homeland, and a couple of tracks of theirs are Canadian chestnuts, including the classic rock and bar-room staple 'Raise A Little Hell'. Musically, Vancouver based Trooper land somewhere between BTO (not surprising considering Randy Bachman produced this) and early Helix, with a strong nod to fellow Canucks of the 70's including Prism, Crowcuss and Rose. They were signed to MCA throughout all of their career, and probably Trooper's most active period was the late 70's. Led by Ra (Ramon) McGuire and keyboardist Frank Ludwig (Ironhorse and Union), Trooper were a popular draw across the Canadian soundscape and landscape, enough to make them minor legends of the era. 'Knock 'Em Dead Kid' was the band's third album, and they first came to my attention thanks to the CBS Compilation 'Killer Watts' back in 1980.

The Songs
'Knock Em Dead Kid' contains a varied bunch of songs. Some are wimphem ballads while on some others, they fire up the retreads and take their songs through a hard rock smash em up derby, enough to get old time hard rockers interested in their back catalogue. The title track leads the way, a true Canadian anthem that still brings a smile to my face decades later. 'We're Here For A Good Time' is the other notable Trooper tune best remembered from their heyday. A mostly poppy rendition with a happy-go-lucky chorus. For mine, the best song is the super hard rock of 'You Look So Good' which tears a strip, and cements Trooper's place in the Canadian hard rock history books. There's a load flanger work on 'Cold Cold Toronto' which gives this a real 70's vibe, 'Long Time' is a pretty good effort too. The band take on a British 70's pop jaunt with 'Waiting On Your Love', a real 'clap your hands' affair which would've sounded half decent on Top Of The Pops back in 1975!

In Summary
Trooper would release more albums of note between 1978 and 1982, all worth catching up with. They did take time out during the 80's, and reappeared in 1989 and 1991 with two albums. A decent band with some good material that is worth checking out.

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#1 | Eric on May 16 2015 15:00:50
'Oh Pretty Lady' has a bit of a Procol Harum feel to it. The song was a hit in Canada, I remember hearing it on the radio when I used to tune into Canadian stations late at night way back when...
#2 | Nick C on May 23 2015 15:24:52
Apart from the s/t album (1980 I think is referred to as untitled now) which I love I've always had a hard time with Trooper for some reason. I've tried and tried and owned a handful of albums: Two for the Show, Knock em Dead Kid, Flying Colors and Money Talks (as well as the afforementioned s/t MCA release which I still have) all of which I picked up dirt cheap as dirt cheap cut-outs at the old Manchester record shop Yanks . But they never seemed quite consistent enough and some of the songs just seemed downright cheesy....but that's some years ago now, I should give 'em another chance.

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