Arthur Brown (real name Arthur Wilton) was born in Whitby, England, on 24th June 1944 and was undoubtedly one of the memorable figures of British psychedelia. His first vinyl excursion was a Reading University flexidisc which is now sought-after. The 'A' side, You Don't Know is bluesy. Even harder to track down are two tracks he contributed to a Soundtrack for a 1966 Roger Vadim film. The French title of the film was 'La Cure', although it was released in the States as 'The Game Is Over'. The Arthur Brown Set (backed by The Sharks) recorded two songs for Vadim, Baby You Know What You're Doing and Don't Tell Me, which were quite close to the sound of the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown a year later but with some soul/James Brown influence. The two songs featured on a French EP (Barclay 71 026) and a US Soundtrack album (Atco 33-205) and the sleeves feature slightly different pictures of Jane Fonda nude. The bulk of the music on the US album, though, was provided by the French musicians Jean-Pierre Boutayre and Jean Bouchty and is of little interest.
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown's debut 45, Devil's Grip, made little impression but the follow-up, Fire, became a UK No 1 in July 1968 and also climbed to No 2 in the USA. Even before this they had become a very popular attraction around London's underground clubs, like the UFO, in this era. They had a flamboyant stage act which often involved Brown appearing in a flaming helmet with bizarre facial make-up. Indeed, their act was so expensive to stage that Brown eventually became broke. Their (first) album was built around Brown's screaming vocal style and is certainly worth a spin. Also of interest was Rest Cure, the flip side to their international hit. They failed to consolidate on their sudden and phenomenal commercial success and, after the failure of their third 45, they split in the wake of a US tour. The second album they'd been working on remained unreleased until Reckless Records issued it in 1988.
Carl Palmer and Vincent Crane went on to form Atomic Rooster and Palmer later became a member of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Brown re-emerged in 1971 with Kingdom Come - another theatrical rock outfit. In 1975 he recorded a cover of The Animals' We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. Also, back in 1964/5, he recorded a R&B album with a London group called South West Five, which has yet to be released. He told 'Record Collector' in an interview in its September 1993 edition that it 'was mainly covers - James Brown, Bobby Bland, Ray Charles - but we did a few originals as well.'
ARTHUR BROWN vcls
VINCE CRANE keyb'ds
DRACHEN THEAKER drms
1 Prelude - Nightmare 3:28
2 Fanfare - Fire Poem 1:51
3 Fire 2:54
4 Come and Buy 5:40
5 Time / Confusion 5:11
6 I Put a Spell on you 3:41
7 Spontaneous Apple Creation 2:54
8 Rest Cure 2:44
9 I've Got Money 3:09
10 Child of My Kingdom 7:01
11 Prelude - Nightmare [Mono Version] 3:49
12 Fanfare - Fire Poem [Mono Version] 2:01
13 Fire [Mono Version] 3:01
14 Come and Buy [Mono Version] 5:05
15 Time / Confusion [Mono Version]
An Excellent album from the most unsung singer in musical history (If you'll excuse the pun). One of the best albums of the 60's especially from the progressive side of music. On the first side we have a conceptual rock record that is concerned with damnation, hell-fire and the soul. Then on side two their are more standard but still brilliant covers with some excellent psychedelia. Rather unusually for a record in my collection this album features very little guitar instead the lead instrument is Vincent Crane's (later of Atomic Rooster) excellent organ. The vocals here are of course some of the best ever as Arthur sings with a range and emotion that few can match. So if your interested in great music from the 60's give this a try.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! ULTRA-MEGA MONSTER ALBUM!!!!
Rip from CD 256@ (full artwork included)