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Brave Belt II

Brave Belt

℗ 1972 Reprise Records MS 2057

℗ 2011 barin.livejournal.com BR LLH 08845 2

Brave Belt • 1972 • Brave Belt II

The second album by Guess Who exiles Chad Allan and Randy Bachman might be more appropriately titled Brave Belt Turner Overdrive, as C.F. Turner joins the group after two subtle guest appearances on the 1971 debut Brave Belt. Conversely, and sadly, Chad Allan appears on only two songs, and writes or co-writes four titles here. One of the best tracks on the disc is "Another Way Out," one of those co-writes between Randy C. Bachman and Chad Allan, the original Guess Who founder/singer who hit with Shakin' All Over in 1965, four years before "These Eyes" would re-launch the band. That Brave Belt II is a significant record historically goes without saying. Heavy percussion on Bachman's "Never Comin' Home" and Allan's "Waterloo Country" add nuances that were almost impossible with the Guess Who. This strange hybrid of Canadian country music and American hard rock is a real experiment, and though not totally successful, it has its moments. The vocal on "Waterloo Country" has the effect of a bull in a china shop. It is fitting as the final track, pointing in the direction that would bring Bachman Turner Overdrive fame and fortune.

The opening track, on the other hand, Bachman's "Too Far Away," sounds like someone put lyrics on music from his RCA solo disc, Axe, tracked two years prior to this. Interesting. J. Geils Band-type backing vocals show Bachman playing with all sorts of ideas. Next to "Dunrobin's Gone," the light, British pop sounding Chad Allan tune, the differences between the two become obvious and unsettling. But had Rob Bachman, C.F. Turner, Randy Bachman, and Chad Allan put together a band more along the lines of the original, early Guess Who, both albums by Brave Belt may have found a huge audience. C.F. Turner's diesel vocals on his "Can You Feel It" is pure Bachman Turner Overdrive and sounds out of place here, but it is that dissension which makes Brave Belt II a fascinating study, and surprisingly listenable. The three styles embraced by this group (pop, country, hard rock) converging on the Bachman/Allan/Bachman composition "Summer Soldier" is the best example of this band's identity crisis. — Joe Viglione.

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