Truth

Biography by

Them had an exceptionally complicated history for a 1960s group, and although there were more than a dozen lineup changes while Van Morrison was in the band, the story remained just as complex after he…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Them had an exceptionally complicated history for a 1960s group, and although there were more than a dozen lineup changes while Van Morrison was in the band, the story remained just as complex after he left. There were several Morrison-less Them albums, and two spinoff bands with direct connections to the Morrison-era Them. One was the Belfast Gypsies, who'd actually started in 1965, though their LP didn't come out until 1967. The other, Truth, was even more obscure than the Belfast Gypsies, not even getting to release an album while they were together. But Truth did feature one musician who'd played for a while in Them while Van Morrison was still around, guitarist Jim Armstrong, and a singer, Kenny McDowell, who'd been on the first two post-Morrison Them LPs (as Armstrong had as well). Like the late-'60s version of Them, Truth didn't sound much like the Van Morrison-era Them, but did make some worthwhile music more influenced by American psychedelia than the British Invasion. The Truth story started in mid-969, when Armstrong and McDowell had returned to Belfast after leaving Them. They were enticed to come back to the United States by a Chicagoan who paid for their tickets, as well as supplying rent and a rehearsal space. Just as the post-Morrison Them had taken root in the States back in 1967, this new band based themselves in Chicago; the group filled out by bassist Curtis Bachman (who'd played in various Chicago rock bands, including the Buckhinghams at a couple of points), and drummer Reno Smith (who'd played with soul singer Baby Huey). The foursome got a good reception on the Chicago circuit, devising original material combining psychedelia, raga-rock, soul, and pop. Truth did some recording in 1969-70, for the soundtrack of the obscure film College for Fun and Profit, and were briefly joined by another ex-Them member, Ray Elliott, who played on three tracks that weren't released until the mid-1990s. By this time, they were managed by Aaron Russo (who later managed Bette Midler and the Manhattan Transfer), who got them a deal with Epic. The band went to Belfast in early 1971, but somehow, the Epic deal fell apart; they weren't summoned to record until September 1971, by which time the group had scattered to several different countries. Fortunately, more than an hour of Truth recordings from '69-70 were preserved and issued on the 1995 CD Of Them and Other Tales. Featuring almost exclusively group-written material, it shows them to be an interesting, versatile late-psychedelic era act with a light touch, including some outstanding guitar work (occasionally in a heavily raga-influenced style) from Jim Armstrong.