Brave Belt (1971)

Just prior to the recording of the SHARE THE LAND album in 1970, Randy Bachman chose to leave what would arguably become known as Canada's greatest group ever The Guess Who. After his first solo effort AXE later that year, he decided to return to the confines of a group setting. Hooking up with brother Robbie on drums and keyboardist Chad Allan, who was part of the original Guess Who in the early 60's under the guise of Chad Allen & The Expressions, they formed Brave Belt in January of 1971. As a trio, it fell upon Randy to handle the duties of laying down the bass tracks while they searched for someone to take over full-time.

They hired CF (Fred) Turner after their first album had all but been completed. Though his name appears on the jacket, Turner actually had nothing to do with the self-titled debut, which was released on Reprise Records that summer. Backed by the first single, "Rock & Roll Band", the album was met with relative indifference. While the band was on the road that fall, the second single hit the radio stations, but "Crazy Arms Crazy Eyes" didn't do much either.

By early '72, the band had migrated from Winnipeg to the west coast following their inaugural North American tour. They returned to Toronto's RCA Studios for the recording of the second album. With Randy again at the controls, the sessions were taking a heavier turn, with Turner contributing more, l-r Randy Bachman, CF Turner, Chad Allen, Robbie Bachmanwriting 4 tracks on his own and co-writing "Put It In A Song" with Randy. At the same time Allen was contributing less - though he did co-write "Dunrobin's Gone", the group's biggest hit along with Bob Ericson, and penned "Waterloo Country" and helped the Bachmans with two other tracks. The band's only song written solely by an outsider was also present, with "Long Way Round" by Charles Charles. But by the time Brave Belt II was released that summer, Allen's vision of the group, and the conflicts which arose from it, had led to his departure. He was replaced by a third Bachman, Tim and the group honed their chops touring pretty much non-stop in western Canada.

Frustrated at what he perceived to be poor support from Reprise, Randy began shopping around for another label while the band wrote material for their next record, which was steadily taking a heavier, grittier tone. They landed a deal with Mercury Records before the end of the year, but management was insisting on a name change, and Bachman Turner Overdrive was born. (canadianbands.com)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Both albums are underrated. "Crazy Arms" from the first is a classic and "Waterloo Country" and "Goodbye Soul Shy" from the second rocked as hard as BTO ever did.