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The Arthur Brown Band - The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown  CD (album) cover

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN

The Arthur Brown Band

 

Proto-Prog

4.07 | 135 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Jeeee-zuz! dat is one cah-razay werld!

Not familiar with The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown? Can't say I blame ya, but you definitely should lend an ear to this proto-shock-progger. While the band would be incredibly short lived thanks to members breaking off to form other various projects (such as Atomic Rooster, Khan and Love) this first album would be a monumental release in the world of psychedellia. The band would release later projects, without Crane (Atomic Rooster) at the helm of arrangements the band would find a loss of power and ultimately shaky future releases. This album, however, is a true (if often forgotten) gem that still manages to turn heads with it's quirk. It really could be argued that Brown was one of the original shock rockers with his stage antics as well (with Brown dancing around stage in a space helmet or in full drag), not to mention that this would be set in stone when Fire would eventually be sampled by undoubted shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

So, is Brown's Band just like a 60s Marilyn Manson? Well, you wouldn't be far off. Heavy on the organs (to my knowledge there's not even a guitar on the album) and the bass teamed with Brown's unnatural screaming, this one makes for a very crazy sounding record indeed. Looking back from the present day, Brown's voice can easily be compared to Ian Gillian of Deep Purple for his high shrieks, although Brown also takes his voice down low for the more malevolent songs. Again, there's a mix between pure evil and pure strangeness as far as the songs go, with some of the tunes like the opening trio being very evil and making reference of the devil, while others are just plain quirky.

If you're looking for a conventional 60s rock album... you're far from it here. Even if an associate producer for the album was Pete Townshend. What we have here is crazy organs and crazy vocals, perhaps exemplified the best by the hit single from the album, Fire with it's famous opening lines (''I am the God of Hellfire! And I bring you...!'') along with some of the slower (but no less strange) songs like Time/Confusion and Come And Buy. Really, it's the second side that sticks more to the conventions. Where side 1 was completely bizarre in every way (and that's a good thing), songs off of side two like the catchy (and somewhat calming) Rest Cure and the cover of I Put A Spell on You are easier to get into when you're not used to the acid soaked freakoutedness of some of the less conventional 60s psych scene. Child Of My Kingdom is the longest tune on the record, and the last one as well, with some fun whistling and a strong melody this is likely where the band's proto-prog tag comes from - one of the biggest standouts on the album as well.

As for the cd remaster of the album - I'm completely befuddled by it. It's the same track listing as the original album, but the first 5 songs are the mono version of the originals, after which the album starts again one track one, but in stereo. I suppose if they really wanted to include the mono versions there's no harm in that, but why put it at the beginning and not the end? In any case, when you want to listen to this cd, you might as well start it at track 6 because starting it at 1 is mostly pointless.

This does not deter from the original album though. As an important start to the career of many musicians and an excellent slice of 60s heavy psychadellia drenched in organ this one is definitely an excellent grab if you can find it. 4 spontaneous apples out of 5! Worth a listen or several, strangely attractive - this is one that grows on you.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |

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