Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


The Arthur Brown Band


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Arthur Brown Band The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown album cover
4.07 | 216 ratings | 29 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prelude-Nightmare (3:30)
2. Fanfare-Fire Poem (1:53)
3. Fire (2:55)
4. Come And Buy (5:45)
5. Time / Confusion (5:18)
6. I Put A Spell On You (3:38)
7. Spontaneous Apple Creation (2:51)
8. Rest Cure (2:39)
9. I've Got Money (3:05)
10. Child Of My Kingdom (6:07)

Total time 37:41

Bonus tracks on 1991 CD release:
1. Prelude - Nightmare [Mono Version] (3:49)
2. Fanfare - Fire Poem [Mono Version] (2:01)
3. Fire [Mono Version] (3:01)
4. Come and Buy [Mono Version] (5:05)
5. Time/Confusion [Mono Version] (5:01)

Bonus tracks on 1997 reissue:
11. Devil's Grip (Single A-Side) (3:19)
12. Give Him A Flower (Single B-Side) (2:58)
13. What's Happening? (3:15)
14. Prelude - Nightmare [Mono Version] (3:49)
15. Fanfare - Fire Poem [Mono Version] (2:01)
16. Fire [Mono Version] (3:01)
17. Come And Buy [Mono Version] (5:05)
18. Time / Confusion [Mono Version] (4:57)

Bonus CD from 2010 remaster:
1. Devil's Grip (Single A-Side) (3:22)
2. Give Him A Flower (Single B-Side) (3:02)
3. Music Man (2009 Stereo Mix) (3:57) *
4. Fire (First Version) (3:05) *
5. Prelude/Nightmare (Alternative Mono Version) (3:49)
6. Fanfare/Fire Poem (Alternative Mono Version) (2:01)
7. Fire (Brown, Crane, Finesilver, Ker) (Alternative Mono Version) (3:01)
8. Come And Buy (Alternative Mono Version) (4:25)
9. Time / Confusion (Alternative Mono Version) (5:39)
10. Interview With Brian Matthew (1:16) *
11. Fire Poem / Fire (BBC Radio 1 Session) (4:01) *
12. Come And Buy (BBC Radio 1 Session) (2:38) *
13. Nightmare (soundtrack Recording From The Film The Committee) (2:54) *

* Previously unreleased

Total time 43:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Arthur Brown / vocals
- Vincent Crane / piano, Hammond organ, organ bass pedals, vibes, orchestral arrangements
- Nick Greenwood ("Sean Nicholas") / bass
- Drachen Theaker / drums (excl. 11,15)

- John Marshall / drums (11,15)

Releases information

ArtWork: David King (design) with David Montgomery (photo)

LP Track Record - 613 005 (1968, UK)
LP Track Record ‎- 612 005 (1968, UK) Mono
LP Polydor ‎- 658 102 (1968, France) Sub-titled "Revisited" and new cover art

CD Polydor - 833 736-2 (1991, UK) Includes both Mono & Stereo versions of tracks 1 to 5
CD Touchwood Records ‎- TWCD 2012 (1997, US) Includes both Mono & Stereo versions of tracks 1 to 5, plus 3 bonus tracks (also in Mono) previously unreleased on CD
2CD Esoteric Recordings - ECLEC 22178 (2010, UK) Remastered by Paschal Byrne with bonus CD and new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown Music

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown ratings distribution

(216 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is absolutely irresistible stuff from an incredibly influential band that has been largely forgotten. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown was built on the talents of manic showman Arthur Brown and his even more talented cohort organist Vincent Crane, two of the greatest (and ultimately unfulfilled) talents in the world of progressive heavy rock.

This album was released in 1968 and must have sounded like nothing else around at the time (come to think of it, it still sounds pretty damn unique!). Despite significant chart action (the single Fire was a #1, I believe), the group imploded after this one near-perfect album and while both Crane's Atomic Rooster and Brown's Kingdom Come went on to make great music, you can't help but feel that they were most complete with each other.

Brown's songwriting is steeped in Gothic horror, with mystical fire-based themes usually playing a strong part in his lyrics. As a singer he was part R&B raver, part crooner, occasional narrator and sometime blues shaman who specialised in proto-metal screams (that had a clear influence on Deep Purple's Ian Gillan). A theaterical live-wire on stage he wore helmets and robes (Peter Gabriel, anyone?) and wasn't afraid to set himself on fire for the sake of his art.

Vincent Crane was one of the first great organists in rock music and his musical contributions to The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown cannot be underestimated. Aside from co-writing most of the songs with Brown, he also did all the crucial orchestral arrangements on this album (that help give it a progressive flavour). Musically he was the main man in what was essentially a keyboard-based trio that was more than a match for the likes of The Nice. It has to be said that while bass player Sean Nicholas and drummer Drachen Theaker do provide Brown and Crane with sufficient support, neither one makes much of an impression on me (Incidentally, legendary prog drummer Carl Palmer joined The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown only after this album was recorded, playing on a live tour before departing with Crane to form Atomic Rooster).

Another small thing to be aware of ... My version of the album features 5 bonus tracks in the form of mono versions of some tracks here. Oddly enough they are stuck at the front of the CD, so make sure you skip them as the atmosphere that builds through this particular album is critical to its enjoyment.

The album itself begins with Brown's mock-horror anthem Prelude-Nightmare which features an atmospheric classical introduction which is "intruded upon" by some great heavy organ work from Crane. It is followed by the Gothic poem/song Fanfire - Fire Poem that echoed the kind of work Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek were doing accross the Atlantic with The Doors. Brown then sends the album into the stratosphere with Fire, a great pop single with some very nice classical runs from Crane and both brass and woodwind contributions from the orchestra.

The atmosphere of the album should already be well-established by the time you hit the classic fourth track Come And Buy, and if Brown's "God-brother, you lied" line that kicks it off doesn't send chills down your spine, you might well have missed the point. A mixture of mesmerizing melodies (highlighted by the chorus and the imploring "Why is it so cold in here?" line that recurs throughout the album), soulful crooning and an excellent orchestral interlude (which Crane would re-use on Winter, a brilliant track from Atomic Rooster's first album) make this one of the album's best progressive moments. The brooding, glockenspiel-heavy (!!!) Time/Confusion takes the album to an even darker, heavier place that fans of Vanilla Fudge will certainly be familiar with.

A fierce cover of Jay Hawkins' blues classic I Put A Spell On You is so fitting that the track could almost have been written by Brown and Crane. It helps that Theaker's drumming is rather tasty here, too. Unfortunately the album's filler material then starts to kick in. Spontaneous Apple Creation is the album's weakest track and it really sounds like an experiment gone wrong ... it may be creative, but it's damn irritating to listen to. It's followed by the mildy funky Rest Cure which has some nice moments on strings and organ, but still sounds like a track that Petula Clark could have cut! Thankfully the extravagant drum-roll that heralds a cover of James Brown's I've Got Money proves to be a sign that the high-octane manic style of Brown is back.

The curtain closes with another true highlight in Child Of My Kingdom, a flowing piece that begins with a brief pantomime-style melody, moves in some moody verses with excellent piano playing from Crane, a frantic chorus, a jazz-blues instrumental section, and then some more delectable piano work that closes out this thrilling album on an eerie note. ... 88% on the MPV scale

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I dearly love this album, but it does have some serious flaws. The Great Spontaneous Apple Creation, Rest Cure, and I've Got Money are all really bad, and it seems as though Brown was struggling to find enough material to fill the record.

However, side one is beyond reproach. This crazy, fire, orchestral suite of songs will take you to places you've never been before. I can't even imagine what it would be like on drugs. The album closer, Child of My Kingdom sounds like it belongs here as well, and the cover of I Put A Spell on You is, in my opinion, definitive.

Throughout the record we are treated to the amazing playing of organist Vincent Crane, whose compositional assistance and technical virtuosity are what make this album shine far brighter than anything Brown has attempted since. Essential? No. But certainly a treat for the ears, especially if you like dark psych rock.

Review by The Wizard
4 stars Found here are the seeds of shock rock, a genre that was made unique by the theatrics of rock artist found in there live shows and dramatic recordings. Much of these theatrics had to do with pseudo-satantanic imagery which certainly shocked many conservatives, thus earning the title of shock rock. All of that can be traced back to the eccentric Arthur Brown, who screamed 'I am the god of hellfire' and would go as far to 'crucify' himself onstage and wear a helmet that would set a flame, while dressed in exotic garbs. Crazy stuff, crazy stuff. Sadly Brown is remembered mainly as a novelty act for his hit single 'Fire', an excellent song nonetheless. But Arthur deserves way more respect than that, since he was also very interesting musically.

As far as organ driven rock goes, this can't be beat. Vincent Crane pulls off some great riffs and melodies and plays like he's on fire. The music here is very melodic and full of hooks, making it very accessible. There is also light orchestrations, which give a symphonic edge. For that, many people also credit this record as 'proto-symphonic'. Luckily, the orchestrations aren't pretentious like stuff The Nice and Moody Blues were doing and don't draw away from the rock edge the album carries. Some of the songs are also structured in typical prog fashion, like 'Time/Confusion' and the epic 'Child of My Kingdom'.

Arthur Brown is also a truly amazing vocalist, singing like his arse is on fire at times. He shows a very strong soul influence, which adds another element to the albums diverse sound. Very often he screams in a proto-metal fashion, sometimes like he's in terror, which clearly influenced guys like Robert Plant and Ian Gillan. The way he sings in theatrical, he goes from a blues shaman (the blues covers are great by the way) to the god of hellfire to a tortured sinner, portraying each role perfectly with just his voice.

The atmosphere is dark yet comical, in a tongue in cheek kind of way. It's clear that Arthur isn't trying to be serious, and the sense of humor is a definite asset to the record. Sometimes it's kind of cheesy, but it's not meant to be serious, just good fun. Another fault is that often lyrics and melodies are repeated in other songs, which might annoy some people. The spoken word songs like 'fire poem' and 'spontaneous apple creation' are weak, but not at all cringe-worthy. While this album has it's flaws, it's still great fun and great songs.

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

Back in 1968 the smash hit single "Fire" sounded like nothing else at the time, i wore my copy out but only recently got round to buying this amazing album (better late than never!!). The original vinyl sounds fantastic if you can get hold of a good copy, though the reissued CD sounds ok. On it there are mono versions of the first five tracks which sounded rather different and lacklustre to me, especially "Fire". The stereo versions are quite different and sound normal, all the songs on the album still sound amazing. Produced by Who knob-twiddler Kit Lambert (Pete Townshend was associate Producer) and the keyboards and arrangement skills of Vincent Crane, this album holds a very special place in rock/prog history.

"Prelude - Nightmare" introduces the listener to Arthur Brown's wonderful vocals and Gillan- style screams, the fire/horror theme and story carries through with "Fanfare-Fire Poem", and the aforementioned hit "Fire" - "you're gonna BURN!!!!!". "God brother - you lie!"....."Come and Buy" continues the story starts with a slow plodding tempo which breaks into a typical 60's style rock rhythm, "come and see....come and buy..". This track has many interesting little motifs and signatures throughout, including a great brass section, very 60's sounding indeed. This is followed by a similar sounding "Time/Confusion", which includes half sung, half spoken vocals, backed by organ, strings and a glockenspiel, ends with a reprise of "Fire!" The next track is an all-time favourite standard of mine "I Put A Spell On You", there are some brilliant versions of this song, most notably by The Alan Price Set in 1966, the Arthur Brown version here is no exception, and includes some fine keyboard playing from Vincent Crane who you all know went on to form "Atomic Rooster". "Spontaneous Apple Creation" is another half sung/spoken song which includes some interesting lyrics about strawberries, three million people, confused devastation..... and apple creation! "Rest Cure" was released as the B- side to "Fire", a good song different to the mood of the album but fits in ok nevertheless. "I've Got No Money" is another track that seems disassociated with the theme of the album, but it's not a bad song. The last song "Child of the Kingdom" has a catchy piano "riff" if i may call it that, the song is a the longest track on the album and seems like a blues/jazz jam, and features all the musicians, including those who can whistle! It has some interesting keyboard effects here and there, and a very catchy chorus. Overall a very listenable album and for its musicianship, ideas and importance in prog rock history, an essential masterpiece!


Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After so many decades is almost impossible to understand the importance of ARTHUR BROWN, a Psychedelic musician that also fits in Proto Prog, Proto Metal and Proto almost everything. This lunatic dancing with a hat made of two candlesticks proclaiming himself as the "God of Hellfire" really altered forever the perception of music back in 1967 with his masterpiece called "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown"

His fantastic voice capable of going from 20 to 100 DB in less than a second has only parallel in David Byron, maybe the only problem is that once the monster was let free not even he was able to control it and his vocals scratched the limits of dementia, but at the same time this is his trademark, almost an animal out of control, simply amazing.

But this album is not only Arthur, because n his days the classically trained Vincent Crane had already gained fame as the wildest and loudest piano player. If you add Drachen Theaker, a very capable Jazz drummer who rejected an audition with Jimmy Hendrix to join Arthur and last but not least the excellent bass player Sean Nicholas who had already gained a name as session musician in UK you got a wild band.

This weird album is a mixture of everything, from R&B, Jazz, Rock, Psychedelia and experimental Rock, this guys were tears advanced to their pairs, in the album you can get not only music but also, narration, gongs, shouts, Symphonic passages (shorts though) and a trip to wherever you want to get.

The album really starts in the seventh song (The first six are mono versions of some tracks of the album). "Prelude/Nightmare" starts soft and symphonic, but once the bulbs of the organ are warm and Arthur has the voice ready, starts a concert of screams and keyboards solos with flute, wild drums and accurate bass but without ever loosing control simply brilliant, even the horns create a spectacular effect.

"Fanfare - Fire Poem" announces with a full wind section a narration that serves as an introduction to the central piece fire, or I'm crazy or this guy is playing with the words of the book of Revelations, everything seems under control until the killer end, pure and beautiful cacophony.

"Fire" is the best known track, even played by ELP because of Carl Palmer's involvement with this project, an incredible song, while other bands were creating the spirit of the 60's with the Farfisa Organ, Vince Crane was almost forcing his Hammond to the limit and giving Deep Purple a couple of free lessons about hard Rock with keyboards, the vocals go from controlled low ranges to extreme wild, the melody is really R&B but played with extra spice, radical changes, unexpected tempo, if this is not pure Prog, this guy was very close back in 1967.

"Come and Buy" acts as a relief (And God knows it's required), rhythmic and paused with a violin in the background give a feeling of control with a touch of mystery, but Arthur can't stop playing with his versatile voice, extremely beautiful and well developed song, pure Prog before Prog, at the end Vincent gets a bit carried away and lets himself a bit of freedom, another hit on the head of the nail.

"Time/Confusion" an almost dreamy and trippy song, the structure has it's roots in classical music but hard to identify the precise piece, in the middle turns into some sort of Jazzy Power Ballad with provocative vocals., this album keeps geting better and better, special paragraph for the drumming, Teaker is a human metronome, the final narration is really creepy but I love the feeling.

It's now the turn for Arthur Brown to remake the "Screamin Jay Hawkins" classic "I Put a Spell on You", even when the spirit of the song is respected, the wonderful interpretation of Crane in the Hammond and the vocals of Arthur are so unique that they manage to make probably the version with more attitude.

"Spontaneous Apple Creation" can't be described without loosing the sanity, a totally experimental and weird song full of sounds and narrations with a Jazz drumming that must be listened to be believed, I won't waste my time trying to review it, just will say it's weird and decades ahead of time.

"Rest Cure" is a return to normality, a typical song of the late 60's, not the highest point of the album, for the first time the music is predictable, but hey, not everything can be so out of hand, not bad neither great.

"I Got the Money" is an excellent Jazz song, if you heard Satchmo or any of the past glories playing in this style it wouldn't surprise me, of course Arthur's screams and the organ take us back to reality, a prove of how versatile this guys were.

The album is closed with the 7:02 mini epic "Child of my Kingdom", now I believe it's a sin to spoil the experience of the listener reviewing this song, I heard it without being told a word and I believe it's the only way to do it, I will just say it has everything and it's a perfect closer, one of the nicest piano songs I ever heard.

How to rate "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown"? Well, for me it's not hard, original, intelligent, ahead of it's time, not a weak moment, revolutionary and highly influential for everything to come later, so 5 stars is the only choice.

If you don't have it, you're missing not only an important piece of history but a masterpiece from start to end, despite the Psyche atmosphere, it's hard to believe somebody was so advanced in 1967 or 1968, make a priority to get it.

Review by Chicapah
4 stars I hate to date myself but I will for the sake of this review. (Oh, the sacrifices I make for prog!) Back in the golden vinyl age circa 1959 one of the first 45 rpm singles I ever acquired as a wee child was "The Happy Organ" by Dave "Baby" Cortez and I fell head- over-heels in love with the irresistible sound of the Hammond organ. Later on in the early 60s my evolving musical tastes led me to discover the growling, jazzy stylings of "The Incredible Jimmy Smith." So in 1968 when the roaring pulse of that instrument came blaring out of the radio on "Fire" I felt a great sense of redemption and relief in the thought that perhaps the rock and roll world had at long last caught on to the magic of the big B3. I'm not saying they were the first but if this band helped to inspire Jon Lord, Keith Emerson, Tony Kaye, Alan Price and hundreds more keyboard players to bring this awesome room-filler to the forefront of modern music then they certainly deserve to be honored here as proto-prog. Thank God somebody did it!

The liner notes on the back of the cover by Charles Fox of the New Statesman read "Arthur Brown could easily be the first genuine artist to come out of our local underground. He's disconcerting, even faintly perverse, but distinctly original and very, very English." It's hard to top that description because it goes a long way in describing the incendiary but short-lived phenomenon that was "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown." The fact that Kit Lambert (The Who's producer) was at the helm and none other than Pete Townsend was credited as associate producer lends a considerable respectability to this, their first LP.

The album starts with a dramatic orchestral score for a prelude, then Vincent Crane's Hammond guides you into "Nightmare" where you get your first exposure to Brown's otherworldly approach to singing. His persona as some kind of spawn from Hell is presented in full here with his wide-eyed exclamations that "it's cold out here" and that the "price of entry (back into the Hotel Hades, presumably) is sin." (His whole "I am the God of Hellfire" thing was pretty controversial stuff for the Bible belt, to be sure.) After a short Handel-ish horn fanfare you are treated to "Fire Poem" which is pretty much a spoken recital by AB over some hip, swingin' (Yeah, baby!), boppin' down Carnaby Street, cool jazz from Crane and the group. It's a perfect lead-in to the song that would put them on the map and eventually reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Fire." AB's infectious and impossible to ignore delivery over the band's tight track roiling underneath made this a fitting tune for the rebellious youth of the era and the pyromaniac's ultimate anthem for all time to come. And, of course, there for me and all the world to hear was Vincent's gigantic Hammond organ roaring like a lion.

"Come and Buy" has an intriguing musical atmosphere with strong dynamics but I can't help but picture Professor Snape at Hogwarts in my mind, snarling the opening verse to his cowering wizardry students. And later on in the number AB starts to sound like Tom Jones on acid. However, you've got to think that a young Ian Gillian was listening intently every time Brown went into his power falsetto and didn't hesitate to use it liberally on songs like "Child in Time" and other Deep Purple epics. A very moody piece in two parts, the combination of "Time" and "Confusion" follows. Halfway through the track a heavy dirge of an organ riff emerges from the fiery abyss to keep things from getting stale musically but AB (for the third time) repeats the two phrases I mentioned earlier and he starts to come off like your strange uncle who's had a few and thinks he's a evil sorcerer or something. Enough already.

Thankfully their driving version of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic "I Put a Spell on You" is next and it's the best cut on the album. Vincent's organ performance is magnificent and AB does some very admirable soul shouting. (I just about wore the grooves out on this track alone.) "Spontaneous Apple Creation" has a good bit of general weirdness and spacey effects going on behind AB's narration of a convoluted tale. There's not much to it but Drachen Theaker's jazzy drums are worth listening for. By now the label executives had to be asking Arthur "Do you have any songs that aren't about the devil?" and so we get the very out-of-place pop ditty "Rest Cure" that would have been better suited for someone like LuLu to cover.

Speaking of drums, the opening snare salvo by Theaker on James Brown's "Money" is yet another highlight of the proceedings. Again, AB comes through with a very soulful vocal to do the tune justice. The most progressive cut is the ender, "Child of My Kingdom" wherein they take you through various and sometimes odd musical phases. It starts with an eerie melody, then breaks into a jazzy piano swing, then moves to a "mod" chorus complete with unison whistling, then transitions into a blues shuffle and a barrelhouse piano solo. They jump in and out of these segments, making this track unpredictable yet compelling entertainment.

This eccentric, demonically-possessed album peaked at a lofty #7. Alas, Arthur Brown was never able to come within screaming distance of the charts ever again. He eventually moved to Austin, Texas and started a house painting company with former Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black. But his influence upon later shock rock performers and Vincent Crane's impact on progressive rock with his mighty Hammond B3 organ cannot be overlooked. It certainly got my undivided attention as an impressionable proto-prog teen. I now look at this album as a well done novelty piece more than anything else but for the progressive rock historian it's a definite must- have. 3.5 stars.

Review by jammun
4 stars Why is it so cold out here, so cold. Let me in...

Before Black Sabbath's 'satanic' first album, there was The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, which with the benefit of hindsight is one of the more frightening albums of the era. It's not often that one hears a singer begging to be let in to Hell. Sure that front cover is all psychedelic primary colors, but the back is all shades of gray and black.

What was Side 1 is a suite of sorts, the theme being sin and Hellfire and similar topics not exactly at the top of the average teenage mind at the time, which nonetheless did not stop Fire from being a successful single. Hence we all know (or should know) the famous I am the god of Hellfire... lyric of Fire, but what most don't know is that the song was merely a part of this great conceptual suite: Prelude/Nightmare, Fanfare/Fire Poem, Fire, Come and Buy, and Time/Confusion. This is pure proto-prog if there ever was such thing. The dynamics are impeccable: the slow awakening of Prelude contrasted with the staccato organ madness of Nightmare; the stately trumpet of Fanfare vs. the jazz groove of Fire Poem. Come and Buy and Time/Confusion are both surely dark beasts, that reprise lyrics/musical themes from Nightmare.

Beyond being Arthur Brown's first stab at rock immortality, this was also our first hearing (in hearing of) Vincent Crane's vision. Brown and Crane were made for each other: Brown's menacing lyrics and vocal histrionics, Crane's all-or-nothing Hammond music.

The music on the second side, though no less driving, is somewhat less compelling in that it consists largely of standard-fare R&B. Perhaps the high point is a cover of Screaming Jay Hawkins' I Put a Spell on You, which manages to merge the original Screaming Jay version with that recorded by ex-Animal keyboardist Alan Price that was released about this time.

Hugely overlooked, this album helped to spawn organ-driven rock, and Brown's vocals were surely an influence on singers as diverse as Ian Gillian and Rob Halford. No one can shreik quite like Arthur, however. For anyone interested in early incarnations of prog, this one is certainly recommended.

Review by 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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Even if I was quite young, I still remember the promoting clip which went along with ''Fire''. I must have seen it in '71 for the first time.This song is of course the highlight of this album and the organ riff will always be in the minds. All the ''craziness'' of the man was depicted in this three minutes smash hit.

But this delectable style was already available on the opener ''Prelude-Nightmare''. A fully psychedelic rock track with loaded Hammond organ. Brown is actually also showing the whole of his vocal range during the more complex and disjointed ''Come & Buy''. A six minutes mini rock-opera with heavy organ and bass; and the ''crazy'' feel that prevails on several songs here (''Time - Confusion'').

This is an excellent preview of the later work of ''Atomic Rooster'' (except the vocal department of course). The cover of the great ''I Put A Spell On You'' which has been immortalized by Creedence, offers a different angle here of course. No gorgeous guitar but a superb and heavy organ play. A very good version even if it is a bit odd on this album.

The rest of the album is somewhat weaker (''Spontaneous Apple Creation'') and is filled with less psychedelia and more rhythm & blues / funk (''I've Got No Money'') which is not quite my cup of tea. And the jazzy-spacey ''Child Of My Kingdom'' can't really compete with the early songs from this album either.

The music played here was quite pioneering in '68 and their stage performances were sought after. There will be unfortunately no follow-up album from this line-up. But we'll get the Rooster to console.

Three stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An album that blew the doors off the flower power hippy wagon.

The flower power movement flourished in 1968 but Arthur Brown drove a spike through its heart and danced on the grave. This debut is a staggering wall to wall triumph. Arthur Brown's vocals are as hot as the flaming headpiece he wore and as dark as the Pagan black make up around his eyes. I am blown away by the musical virtuosity on this album that ranges from minimalist piano to crazy Hammond staccato stabs ? Vincent Crane, prog legend who became the spirit of Atomic Rooster (eg: Vug) after this, just pounds the hell out of those keys. The drums by Theaker are erratic and spontaneous, deliciously sporadic beyond compare. Nicholas' bass is masterful, especially on 'Come and Buy'. It is a genuine master act with enormous influence, drawing back the curtain to invite the prog chariot in.

I listened to this bizarre treasure ad infinitum as a child in the 70s and it was chilling then and equally chilling now. Nostalgia led me to this album after so many years and I had forgotten how brilliant it is. I had never forgotten certain sections such as "Come and Buy"s haunting melody, 'when you see a fire burning inside your mind's eye', or "God-brother you lie" which always used to scare me. Returning to it now, some 30 years later is a cathartic and almost emotionally draining experience. It all came flooding back to me as if I were back in my bedroom with the blind drawn and the crackling vinyl spinning once again. Brown's vocals are immense and theatrical on every track. The mood swings are as diverse as the time signatures and styles. Let's look at the track list. Forget the mono throwaways and get into the stereo section. It is best to listen to this end to end in stereo. Loud.

"Fanfare - Fire Poem" is an orchestral intro to the whole thing and is a pastoral prelude to the zaniness to come. Suddenly a freakout of Hammond and manic screaming is unleashed and we are on our way to psych prog heaven.

"Fire" is quintessential to early prog and is ferociously original acid soaked psychedelica par excellence. Although this blitzed the pop charts, sitting uncomfortably aside the Beatles "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", it was quirky enough to stand alone and wielded the power to confuse and bedazzle music listeners who had heard nothing else like it in the 60s. 'I am the god of hell fire and I bring you... Fire!' Gene Simmons adored this and Alice Cooper used the makeup, both were clearly influenced, but the pantomime vocal shrills and screams and manic laughing must have made an impact on the likes of shock rockers King Diamond or Marilyn Manson, who has actually sampled this track. ELP and Ozzy Osbourne even played a cover version. Why? It is pure twisted brilliance, well ahead of its time and yet sounding so current today. Crane slams his Hammond down the throats of the passive puerile trash bands of the late 60s and they had no choice but to bow in submission. What an indefinable blast of power this track was and still is.

"Come and Buy" slows things down and Brown's vocals are calm and unnervingly sinister; threatening to break into torturous shrieks, but alarmingly restrained. He focuses lyrically on 'the sun that sweats and burns at midnight, burns you alone' and the theme of fire is constant. The playful childish melody only adds to the ethereal macabre interplay of Gothic grandeur.

"Time/Confusion" is a very slow and a somnambulist piece lulling the listener into a haunted dream. There is a jazz fusion section that erupts and then a narrative voice forces us to wake up and take notice. This is a sleeper track for me, all but forgotten until recently, but is still compelling music.

"I Put a Spell on You" is the darkest version you will hear and I saw this performed live on a TV special on rock history last year drawing me back to this legendary album. Crane's shimmering Hammond organ is relentless and macabre and never better.

"Spontaneous Apple Creation" is impulsive and unstructured, yet absolutely mind blowing psych nonsense that makes less sense than the film 'Mulholland Drive'. Listen to that rhythmic psych rap narration to a contorted 'Psycho' violin: 'When the world was travelling faster and faster and colours became just a blur..and the buildings were falling plaster and plaster and things just weren't what they were'... Then AB breaks into a melodic catchy melody: '... what can save mankind from man when the blind, the blind overran from the scene of confused devestation, came the great spontaneous apple creation...' There you have it and you had to be stoned to understand it. I don't want to even try to explain the rest of this nonsense. It means what it is. But it's experimental and off kilter to the max focusing on the demonic Hammond and some of the spaceyest effects you are likely to hear.

"Rest Cure" is an intriguing cover version of the classic but this is faster and darker with Brown as mesmirising as ever. It remains the weakest track on offer however.

"I Got the Money" is a blast of jazz lunacy, based on various maestros' version, but this is the definitive freak out version; acid prog sung with such conviction but like all AB compositions is structured with the tongue firmly planted in the cheek. It is hilarious at times listening to the ferocity of this band. They played like their lives depended on it. The final track is "Child of my Kingdom" which is simply stunning, from the quirky childish intro to the very calm but foreboding vocals in the verses. The chorus speeds up and is absolutely going to stay with you for days, that melody is catchy to the point of delirium. I can still hear it now. 'I won't be leaving you, leaving you child... but I'll be driving you, driving you wild'. The piano is beautifully executed with virtuoso precision, the time sig changes constantly and draws the listener in. The jazz break down in half swing time is very endearing. I adore this.

"Child of My Kingdom"' is pure prog. Switching to many paces, sigs and including a diverse range of jazz fusion breaks; the track simply motivates along with the coolest riffs and even includes whistling in unison. It ends the album on a high note and sealed the deal for me. I was thinking of giving this 4 stars but after listening to this over and over, it has made such an indelible impression on me I cannot give anything less than the full score. It is THAT good.

Overall, "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" is a 'must-have' piece of prog history. A thematic, bombastic, sporadic and deliciously dark but humorous guilty pleasure. Nothing more needs to be said. Grab this treasure at your nearest opportunity.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Arthur Brown is definitely an important figure in the development of the theatrical movement within rock music that have inspired artists like Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson. Still this rising artist never managed to top the unexpected success that was achieved with the release of his debut album The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Even though some of his later Kingdom Come albums might have been considered critical masterpieces the public will most likely always remember Arthur Brown as the God of Hellfire!

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown was an unusual rock album since it lacked the traditional sound of an electric guitar that otherwise dominated the music scene at the time. Instead the band relied on two other factors to keep the creative energy flowing. Arthur Brown was quite an elaborate poets at heart and delivered some of his work on the debut album while Vincent Crane supplied just the right Hammond organ textures to underline the band's front man. The collaboration is indeed a success on the band's original compositions.

Unfortunately, just like many other debuts of its time, the Arthur Brown Band just didn't have enough material to fill out two sides of an LP and had to rely on two pretty uninspired covers of I Put a Spell On You and I've Got Money. The former must been one of the most overused tracks of its time with cover versions available by everybody from Audience, Jeff Beck, The Animals, Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater Revival and many more. While James Brown's I've Got Money just doesn't add anything new to the classic composition especially since Arthur Brown is basically replicating the original without adding anything new or interesting to the mix.

It's quite unfortunate that the band couldn't transfer the excellent atmosphere that they created on their original works onto the cover material since it definitely knocks The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown down a notch for me. This recording is nonetheless an interesting product of its time well worth seeking out if just for the fun factor and/or shock value!

***** star songs: Prelude - Nightmare (3:28)

**** star songs: Fanfare - Fire Poem (1:51) Fire (2:54) Come And Buy (5:42) Time/Confusion (5:12) Spontaneous Apple Creation (2:55) Child Of My Kingdom (7:02) Rest Cure (2:44)

*** star songs: I Put a Spell On You (3:43) I've Got Money (3:10)

Review by friso
4 stars Arthur Brown - The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968) * review rewritten

Cult-hero Arthur Brown's only album that is actually really good was his debut of '68. His appearance and style made him the first shock-rock act and he can also be attributed to be one of the first artists to make fun of the hell and the devil on stage. Lyrics like "Why is it so cold out here, let me in!, -"The price for your entry is sin" are classic examples of how the rock musicians would eventually get 'hell' out of the realm of scary things.

I wouldn't lay to much weight on this aspect of 'The Crazy World of Arthur Brown', because the album has way more to offer then it's lyrical exploration. The compositions of Brown are actually very catchy and his vocal performance stands out as original, energetic and at times mind-blowing. The electric guitar is absent, but the heavy organs of Crane (who would later form Atomic Rooster) are both great sounding and a document of it's time. The wind-sections on some songs add a slightly big-band jazz vibe at times, which works very well with these songs. The song 'Fire' ("I'm the god of hellfire, and I bring you!") became a hit, but all songs of side one are of the same quality. The 'Fire Poem' is a great psychedelic track with spoken words by Brown that make a perfect intro for 'Fire'. 'Come and Buy' has vocal-jazz influences (think of Sinatra) and is very original. On side two Brown's version of the obscure classic 'I put a spell on you' is very well sung. The psychedelic/spoken (or screaming) word track 'Spontaneous apple creation' is really funny and remains funny after more spins. 'I've got money' is a cover of the James Brown song (keep on laughin'). The last track 'Child of my kingdom' is easily overseen, but it's one of the strongest tracks of the album because of it's epical and devoted style.

Conclusion. For collectors of proto-prog and '60 psychedelic rock classics this album is highly rewarding. The vocals, compositions, originality, pleasant craziness and pure catchyness are all winners for me. I must say I wasn't too fond of it before I heard it on a vinyl. The digital versions seem to lack the ability to really produce what was intended, so it seems. Four stars for this great '60 psych album.

Review by Warthur
5 stars The explosion of creativity let off when Vincent Crane and Arthur Brown pooled their creative talents didn't leave behind much when it blew over, but this single album is one of the best of both their careers. Wild, uncontrolled, alternatingly crooning and shrieking, putting the listener in mind of both a terrified sinner and the very devil himself... and that's just Crane's organ, though Arthur's vocal performance is just as good. With side one being a theologically-themed epic on the subject of damnation and side two being a fine set of Brown/Crane originals and finely picked soul covers (when was the last time you heard a James Brown track on a prog album?), the album's unique fusion of Brown's deranged-yet-philosophical lyrics and Crane's dark organ work would never be matched.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was a very significant album at the time of it's release in 1968 because there was nothing out there quite like it. Sixties psychedelia gone beserk. Fronted by a man who was larger than life and a lot left of center.The crazy world of Arthur Brown indeed. It was produced by Pete Townsend and featured the legendary Vincent Crane on the organ. Interesting that Carl Palmer would join this band not long after this was released and toured with them for this album. He and Crane would then leave and form ATOMIC ROOSTER which was just a stepping stone for Palmer who would shorlly thereafter be in ELP.

"Prelude-Nightmare" has this orchestral intro before the organ comes in followed by the bass, drums then vocals. Arthur gets theatrical before 2 minutes (get used to it) as Crane lets it rip on the organ. Horns come in late. "Fanfare-Fire Poem" opens with horns then this groovy led organ melody takes over. Spoken words join in. It becomes very intense.

"Fire" was the hit single. A catchy organ / vocal led tune. "Come And Buy" is a mid paced relaxing track with vocals. It picks up 1 1/2 minutes in with fast paced vocals then it settles back as contrasts continue. Arthur gets theatrical 5 minutes in.

"Time / Confusion" is a mellow tune with vocals. It changes 3 1/2 minutes in to a more upbeat sound. I like it. "I Put A Spell On You" is kind of bluesy and is a cover.

"Spontaneous Apple Creation" is all about Arthur with the spoken words then singing then his fast paced spoken words. "Rest Cure" is one of my favourites. Piano late. "I've Got Money" opens with drums as piano and vocals join in before a minute. Arthur gets...theatrical.

"Child Of My Kingdom" sounds great when it settles 30 seconds in with piano, drums and reserved vocals. It does pick up after a minute. Some whistling in this one too.This is my favourite track.

A must for fans of sixties psychedelia. My rating is based on how innovative this was at the time. I must admit I much prefer his later stuff with KINGDOM COME.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars Had the group sustained itself longer, this could have been the progressive rock version of the Alice Cooper Band (maybe without the tongue-and-cheek sense of humour). Both bands have gained notoriety for their frontmen's stage antics, and I believe both Brown and Cooper have great voices and great bands backing them. The similarities stop there; Cooper has had a longer career in the realm of garage rock/heavy metal while Brown sort of fizzled out, but Arthur Brown (on this album at least; I have yet to discover Kingdom Come) had a pseudo-jazzy psychedelic soundscape lurking in the background. But what an experience this album is.

The big accomplishment CRAZY WORLD OF... made is the novelty hit ''Fire'', and that hit best explains the album in a nutshell. Arthur Brown might as well be the very first heavy metal singer as his range is incredible hitting shrieks that could be considered Halford-esque. And he sings likes he is on the stage; there's great drama in his voice that makes ''Fire'' believable. Add those on top of the rich Hammond organ sound (courtesy of Vincent Crane of Atomic Rooster fame) and you get a sense of why this group is in the PA database. The rhythm section is pulsating, driving and not overtly technical. (By the way, Carl Palmer does not play on the album; he was a member of the touring group)

''Fire'' gives you the biggest taste of what the album is like as ''Nightmare'' and ''Come and Buy'' are of similar form. ''Fire'' actually has a prelude that reminds me of the Doors' track ''Horse Latitudes'', only better (spoken poetry over wild music). ''Child of My Kingdom'' is jazzier than the other tracks and is worth its seven minutes of airtime. The second half of the album is generally safer and more different than the first half including the poppy ''Rest Cure'' and the two cover tracks (''I've Got Money'' and ''I Put a Spell on You''). But then there's still ''Spontaneous Apple Creation'', the weirdest track on the album by far (and you thought ''Fire'' was out there...).

CRAZY WORLD OF... is more than a 60's novelty band. There are some great psychedelic cuts on the record belted out by one of the most underappreciated singers in music. It's one of the wackiest experiences in music and deserves at least a mention in the vast space of prog rock.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars The essence of early prog

The music on "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown" features minimalistic eclecticism, something that I admire in music and look up to as a musician myself. This album laid the basis for all organ-driven prog to come - Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Carl Palmer played in this band before joining Atomic Rooster, and than creating ELP), Egg, Triumvirat and so many more. Furthermore, this was the first shine of a great keyboardist Vincent Crane. This album is highly influenced by jazz, sould, gospel as well as classical music with an ambitious taste of theatricality, reminiscent of Screamin' Jay Hawkins or a British star Screaming Lord Sutch. Psychedelic elements are also at the first plan. Arthur Brown's concept was all about the beggining of time, gods and mythology. All of this dipped in a bit of psychedelic acid. The frontman recalls: "Seing into people's eyes, I saw all the universes. I saw them being born, saw them die. I would say it was the nearest I came to being able to see god". And this is what it's all about. Excellent, excellent work. "Prelude/Nightmare" opens the album with intelectual-sounding, romantic symphonic bits turning into the proper "Nightmare". And really, this is the essence of the album - has it all: conceptual lyrics, soul feel, a strain of classical music at the beggining, organ virtuosity. Those elements repeat on "Fanfare", "Fire", "Come And Buy", pretty much most of the tracks. Really good stuff. Even though it is kind of monotonous, it definitely is an outstanding experience!

Arthur Brown's music was all about being eccentric. He unconciously sparked something that would influence what we know as progressive rock. Although this is not full-blown prog, this should find itself on a shelf of every prog fan. 9/10!

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars Arthur Wilton Brown may not be a household name compared to the likes of other 60s pioneers such as The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix or even Led Zeppelin, but has probably had just as much influence on countless other artists who followed in his footsteps after he set the world on "Fire" (as well as his head) with his pioneering proto-prog, proto-shock rock and proto-metal wizardry that he conjured up with his very first artistic expressions in THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN. This was the band name as well as the name of the self-titled debut which remained the band's only album until a reunion would find new life starting with 2000's "Tantric Lover" (excluding the archival release "Strangelands" in 1988). The rest of his output was released under his own name with some guests appearing on the bill along the way. While musically paving the way for many more to follow, this charismatic shock jock of horror is more remembered for his live eccentricities that earned them the title as one of the most shocking performers of the psychedelic rock scene.

While starting out somewhat normal growing up in Whitby, England and studying philosophy and law in Leeds later in life, the 60s offered BROWN the chance to nurture his wild side as he became one of the most outlandish and flamboyant figures to have emerged from the psychedelic rock era which included his famous head dressing that he would ignite and perform fully aflame during his live performances. This outrageous behavior is what got him noticed and still remembered some half century later, but during the day it also got him in a lot of trouble with self-inflicted injuries, property damage run amok, apocalyptic shocking material and to top it off was booted off the Jimi Hendrix tour for his reckless shenanigans. Not content to simply light his head on fire, he would also strip naked and let it all hang out so to speak, a feat that got him arrested in Italy and banned from even setting foot on stage in other parts of the world. THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN seemed like the perfect descriptive moniker for this unhinged lunatic.

All of these wild man antics naturally caught the attention of record companies as well and BROWN signed on to Pye Records where he and bandmates Vincent Crane (Hammond organ, piano), Drachen Theaker (drums) and Nick Greenwood (bass) would record and release their one and only self-titled album in 1968. The album received a bit of a boost due to The Who's manage Kit Lambert sitting in as producer with Pete Townsend on associate production. The album was a surprise hit on both sides of the Atlantic when the first single "Fire" catapulted to the #1 spot in the UK and shot all the way up to the #2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 not to mention significant success all over the planet. The album musically was based in the catchy pop hook laden psychedelic rock of the era with an energized with a groovy bass line, bombastic organ soloing and BROWN's four octave vocal range including an over the top falsetto that would give birth to the heavy metal style of Rob Halford in Judas Priest, King Diamond in Mercyful Fate and Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden.

Stylistically THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN album was laid out like a rock opera which included a more commercial side one followed by a slightly more experimental side two. The album was basically built around the concept of the first single "Fire" laid out in poetic prose and ambitious musical delivery, although the full rock opera effect was truncated and tamed due to the technological limitations of the day, the band more than made up for this lack of album ambitiousness with their lavish live settings where BROWN engaged in numerous costume changes and donned his famous face paint appearance that would also prove influential with artists such as Alice Cooper, Kiss, King Diamond and the entire black metal world that would essentially adapt the entire BROWN playbook and adapt it to the modern day. The album, while not a fully fledged opera, nevertheless provided a prototype of progressive rock hot on the heels of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's" album and remains one of the key pivotal albums in ratcheting the rock paradigm into more sophisticated levels of musical mastery.

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN album is flawless in how it creates the perfect atmosphere with the keyboard rich opener "Prelude / Nightmare" which finds a dreamy flute being replaced by a groovy bass driven rock beat and heavy organs offering a spooky overtone to the classical virtuosity that Crane dishes out. For the most part BROWN sounds a lot like Frank Zappa in vocal tone but had the ability to drop to extremely low bass notes and then whizz up the scales to hit high falsettos and blood curdling screams. He had the perfect intuitive drive of how to alternate singing, narration or just knowing when to just scream his ass off. There are even moments that sound like Robert Plant well before Led Zeppelin was even in its infancy. Some tracks are connected with orchestrations with some such as "Fanfare / Fire Poem" creating a tension building interlude that connects the opener to the powerhouse single "Fire" a track so catchy and built on unexpected changes that an unsuspecting public was defenseless against its persuasive charm. The album was primarily written by BROWN and Crane but includes two covers in the form of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" and James Brown's (no relation!) "I've Got Money."

The intensity of this CRAZY WORLD period was too much to sustain and like a super nova star simply exhausted its fuel supply not too long after getting started. Due to all kinds of mishaps and creative differences, the band completely fell apart during the tour. Firstly, Theaker was morbidly frightened of airplanes and could not tour. He was replaced by Chris Farlowe and then Carl Palmer but everything else turned south very quickly and the band called it quits. But like a super nova that explodes, it created the star seedlings to spawn new life elsewhere. After disbanding, Carl Palmer would join Vincent Crane to form Atomic Rooster, Theaker would join Love and then Rustic Hinge while Nick Greenwood would join up with Steve Hillage to form Khan. BROWN himself would create Kingdom Come as well as pump out a few solo albums during the 70s. The influence of this one shot band though would extend to the present day in the trifurcated tree that extends into progressive rock, shock / glam rock and heavy metal. No small feat for a short lived but over the top act that was only in operation for a mere few years. The band is legendary but the album is a mesmerizing as the tracks offer many moods, tempos and dynamics to keep it enthralling throughout its entire listening time that offer a mature mix of psychedelic rock, R&B and pop with classical touches.

While perhaps the overall sound is dated as it could never be mistaken for anything other than the time period it was created with it's somewhat cliche organ sounds, psychedelic rock constructs and album layout, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN does exactly what it is supposed to and takes the listener back to the year 1968 and delivers a collection of ten tracks that still sound as interesting as they must've back then. While rooted in the psychedelic rock sound of the era, this album implements interesting creativity in the nooks and crannies that must've driven the record company CRAZY! If BROWN hadn't been constricted by external forces this album may have been far more progressive, far more outlandish and the CRAZY turned up several notches, but even as it stands, this is a brilliant display of the late 60s underground scene that just happened to spawn a surprising top 10 hit around the world. The 2010 remaster is well worth the price of admission with a bonus CD that includes the B-sides of the singles as well as demos, mono mixes and a few extras. Even today, 50 years later after its release, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN sounds fairly unique with BROWN's eccentric vocals standing out. This is a true classic.

Review by DangHeck
4 stars This is one of those supposedly special enough Proto-Prog albums that was nearly inescapable for my fellow millennial Prog fans (presuming their journey was comparable to mine). Released 1968, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was of the darker psychedelic persuasion, contemporary to bands such as Spirit, The Electric Prunes, Ultimate Spinach, 13th Floor Elevators, and Arzachel (Nicholas Greenwood, here, would go on to join two members of that band, Dave Stewart and Steve Hillage, forming the excellent Khan). Crazy World would spawn one other band of early Prog fame, Atomic Rooster, featuring Vincent Crane and eventual drummer Carl Palmer (later of ELP). Just prior to joining Crazy World to replace original drummer Drachen Theaker, I just learned, Palmer was in Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds, Farlowe being the eventual vocalist of Atomic Rooster (first appearing on Made In England, 1972) and previously (briefly) Colosseum, which stylistically is all making a helluva lot of sense. It's been nearly 10 years since I've last listened to this album, and I am so much readier than before. Although I will have listened through (most of) the 2010 Remaster, this will be a review for the original 10-song album.

"Prelude" in all its eeriness opens up our album into "Nightmare", a boisterous organ-led number (as most are). Arthur Brown's voice is absolutely insane, and to think this was released in '68 is a whole other thing. For those unfamiliar with him, his voice is a deep, rich and dramatic baritone, but at times he utilizes this effectively piercing falsetto. Huge opener. Orchestral arrangements, as with the woodwinds on "Nightmare" and the horns on the next, "Fanfare / Fire Poem", were handled by Crane. This is of course then the intro, of sorts, to the signature Arthur Brown tune that has been solidified in history, "Fire". This song is far richer than I remember. It's easy to recall the chorus and of course his bold opening statement ("I am the God of Hellfire!"), the latter becoming a calling card of sorts, but this song is a big'n. It's dark and layered, especially thanks to the excellent horn arrangement here.

Our apparent theme continues on the dark, soulful "Come & Buy" (a play on words, no?). The rhythm section is so grooving, and the composition, here (as is the varied trend throughout) written by Brown and Crane, is phenomenal. It's so well fitted with a larger orchestral ensemble than tracks before. It's easy to hear the effect Brown had on bassist (Sean?!) Nicholas Greenwood. A stark juxtaposition is found in the softer, introspective "Time"... And all seems to hush before "Confusion". This second half of this two-parter is more intense, yet still softer in tone. And thus ends the first side. Dark and looming forces preside here...

Next we have the Screamin' Jay Hawkins' tune "I Put a Spell on You". And we all know it, I'd think. This will definitely help to bring you back to the reality of Brown and Co.'s influences. Their rendition is, of course, quite dark, but ultimately a super classic feel, and how could it not be? Rapid string-plucks introduce our next, "Spontaneous Apple Creation", and such a wild feeling was produced in me. And here, I had mentioned before Arzachel as contemporaries (and sure, they are), but I have to wonder to what degree Vincent Crane influenced the early sound of Dave Stewart on organ (he later going on to form the Arzachel-offshoot Egg as well). Just some wild sounds that are rather surprising to hear this early on (just a year before Arzachel).

Our final moments ease into the shockingly upbeat "Rest Cure", certainly the least progressive number of the whole: Blue Eyed Soul as performed by a dramatic, seemingly crazed Englishman. Greenwood has a stronger nearly melodic performance on bass here. If you know Khan, you know he's got a lot to offer in this field. I guess it makes sense with a title like this, but "I've Got Money" continues in the wildly upbeat and positive feeling of the last. Not super exciting compositionally, but still a fun track. Finally we have the 7-minute "Child of My Kingdom", which feels perhaps like what he was prepared to accomplish with Kingdom Come. Ultimately, much of this tune is R'n'B. Just feels like a comparably weak overall ending to an otherwise fantastic album. And that all to say that there really isn't a weak song, a song on here that I would deem less than "Good"; thus the undeniable strength of the start won me over to a firm 4/5 stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown's debut is definitely one of my favourite psychedelic albums. An incredibly colourful and dreamy pre-prog album, yet still bold and well structured. The album starts off with "Prelude - Nightmare" with luxurious chords and tunes which pushes onto the keyboard-base ... (read more)

Report this review (#1020839) | Posted by Xonty | Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The record "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" from 1968 is a powerful record. It is early and inspired many musicians afterwards. In this music I mostly hear progressive rock but Browns mighty voice also discovers lands that later were showed in the hard rock and metal genres. Its cover shows a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1012364) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Lost Soul Music Despite Brown's perennial citation as Godfather to the infant Prog, I'm not so sure he can continue to explain away the lingering cot deaths suffered by the likes of Yes and ELP or even that flushed denial behind which a Crimson prince's defence rests from charges of filling cru ... (read more)

Report this review (#882127) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Wednesday, December 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars REVIEW OF 2xCD DELUXE EDITION (Esoteric 2010) Esoteric have truly excelled themselves with this definitive, deluxe edition of what can only be regarded as a cornerstone of proto-progressive rock. The career of the `Crazy World' was a short one, "you're gonna burn!" sang Arthur on the Number ... (read more)

Report this review (#276636) | Posted by beebfader | Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Anybody who remembers this album knows how to have a good time. I will just immediately mention that while I like the entire album, Spontaneous Apple Creation and Rest Cure are pretty weak tracks (bringing a 5 star down to a 4), and the final track is good, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#201466) | Posted by himtroy | Monday, February 2, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4.5 Stars Really This is an amazing album..... It is hard to believe it came out in 1968...... Sometimes it sounds a little like the Doors.....I am not expert enough to know whether Arthur Brown did it first or whether Jim Morrrison did.....but the poetry....and crazy organ music are definit ... (read more)

Report this review (#165212) | Posted by digdug | Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The best album about fire ever made :) I was suprised to see this album in ProtoProg genre. For me it's very psychcedelic and should be reviewed next to Hawkwind releases. First thing I would like to say about this album is that I like mono versions better than the stereo ones. They are slightly ... (read more)

Report this review (#104959) | Posted by Deepslumber | Saturday, December 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you fire!" Arthur Brown will forever be immortalized for his single hit "Fire," but the rest of this masterpiece is left forgotten by the public. Brown's astounding concept album illustrates the journey to and experiences of hell. This album was ... (read more)

Report this review (#88207) | Posted by Arrrghus | Friday, August 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This bizarre duet of organs and inhuman wails, with some drums and a bass guitar filling in underneath there somewhere, remains one of the classics of late 60s psychedelic rock. Deleted fairly swiftly on LP, this quirky oddity of rock and reason was released on CD in 1991 and is still readily ... (read more)

Report this review (#84123) | Posted by Frankingsteins | Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album completely kicked my 12 year- old ass back in 1968. And to think that the track "Fire" was in regular rotation on AM radio and was somewhat of a "hit" is unbelievable when I think about it today. Being that it was released in 1968 this might be considered proto-prog by some folks, ... (read more)

Report this review (#34078) | Posted by | Thursday, February 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is well, crazy. The instrumentation is fantastic, the lyrics are borderline sadistic sometimes, and it has it's moments. It isn't nessacary unless you like 'historical' prog. But it is a lot of fun to listen to, even dancable! ... (read more)

Report this review (#34077) | Posted by | Saturday, January 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.