Friday, September 15, 2006

Milk Crate Classics #3: Brave Belt

Brave Belt II

Brave Belt began in the early 1970's when original Guess Who singer Chad Allen, and original Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman decided to have a second go at forming a band. Allen left the Guess Who early on in their career when the band began to become too hard rock for him. By the time of Brave Belt's second album in 1972, he was pretty much gone from the band as well, for much the same reason.

Allen is not listed as a band member on the credits of Brave Belt II, although he writes and sings two of the songs, including Brave Belts only hit, the uber-folk Dunrobin's Gone.

The band as listed consists of C.F. Turner, Randy Bachman and Robbie Bachman. The addition of other Bachman brother Tim would turn this band into BTO. It shows on this album, at least in terms of sound. Where it doesn't show is quality.

Brave Belt II has two or three decent songs, the very un-BTO Dunrobin's Gone being far and away the best song here. But there is no consistency, no momentum, and no showcase songs that would make you get excited about the album.

What this album is, truthfully, is a transition album between the band Brave Belt was supposed to be, a vehicle to showcase folk oriented Allen, and what they became: BTO. But in between, there is a complete lack of focus, not to mention very good songs.

Listening, it's very hard to believe the same group of musicians would put out that great first BTO album within the year, but they did. The sound is much the same, the heavy guitar, Turner's growl of a voice. Yet it is just not very coherent, not very well written and not, frankly, very good. Based on the evidence that is Brave Belt II; compared to BTO I, it appears Tim Bachman deserves much more credit than he has ever gotten before.

And that is just not saying very much about Brave Belt.

1 comment:

Oku said...

Thank God for internet and you for giving me the opportunity to know the lyrics of one of the greatest sad songs I've ever known hence be able to sing along the record that contains it.

I write from The Gambia, West Africa, where I've been living the past 11 years. Before coming here I was a guest artiste and presenter with our state radio station in Nigeria for 9 years and I regularly played "Durobin's Gone" (James Last's version) on my programme, "Tender Moments", always fighting back tears (believe me) every time I did. I love sad songs (I've written a few myself though unpublished) but it was more saddening not being able to understand most of the words of "Durobin's Gone". I didn't even know about the original singers.

Thanks once again for letting "Durobin's Gone" wet my eyes better than it used to.

I love Canada and anything Canadian - it's good to know the song's a Canadian creation