Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND

Proto-Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Arthur Brown Band picture
The Arthur Brown Band biography
Formed in 1967 in London, UK - Disbanded in 1970 - Reformed in 2000

ARTHUR BROWN was one of the prime movers behind the Progressive underground in late 1960s England, famous for his outlandish stage act which included psychedelic robes and a helmet of fire! He was born in Whitby, England during an air raid in 1944, after a failed bid to study Law at King's College in London he studied philosophy at Reading University. After singing in various R&B groups, he formed his band THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN: this consisted of Brown (vocals), Vincent Crane (organ) and Drachen Theaker (drums), the latter of which would soon be replaced by a young Carl PALMER after the band's US tour. Emotional problems caused Crane to leave the band, and he later formed ATOMIC ROOSTER from the ashes of the CRAZY WORLD...

They cut their self-titled debut album in 1968, and is a unique work of art which makes great use of Brown's scorching vocals, bizarre lyrics (& poetry) and Crane's Hammond Organ. THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN is recommended to all Prog fans who are interested in the early, underground days of Prog or Hammond Organ-driven rock with a psychedelic/theatrical touch. It is also recommended to fans who wish to trace the origins of ATOMIC ROOSTER, out of which (along with THE NICE & KING CRIMSON) grew ELP.

: : : Rob Cook, NEW ZEALAND : : :

See Also: ARTHUR BROWN'S KINGDOM COME

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND forum topics / tours, shows & news


THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND forum topics
No topics found for : "the arthur brown band"
Create a topic now
THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "the arthur brown band"
Post an entries now

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND videos (2) | Search and add more videos to THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND

Buy THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND Music



More places to buy THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND music online

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.06 | 208 ratings
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
1968
2.41 | 22 ratings
Dance With Arthur Brown
1974
3.00 | 18 ratings
Chisholm In My Bosom
1977
4.00 | 3 ratings
Faster Than the Speed of Light (with Vincent Crane)
1980
3.43 | 7 ratings
Requiem
1982
3.13 | 22 ratings
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Strangelands
1988
3.00 | 1 ratings
Taro Rota (with Vincent Crane)
1997
3.40 | 11 ratings
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Tantric Lover
2000
3.00 | 12 ratings
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Vampire Suite
2003
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Amazing World Of Arthur Brown: The Voice Of Love
2007
3.50 | 20 ratings
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Zim Zam Zim
2014
3.08 | 5 ratings
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Gypsy Voodoo
2019

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 4 ratings
Order From Chaos : Live 1993
1995
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live At High Voltage
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Magic Hat with Rik Patten
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Bristol 2002
2015

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Radio Sessions: 1968 1972 1975
2016

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Nightmare
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fire / Rest Cure
1968

THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Strangelands by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.13 | 22 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Strangelands
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN was a short-lived act that initially only existed from 1967 - 70 but in its early three year tenure Arthur and friends released one of the seminal releases of the late 1960s that not only spawned a multi-national hit with the single "Fire" but was instrumental in ushering in the worlds of progressive rock as well as shock rock that would ignite the 1970s like Brown's famous metal headwear that took rock stage performances to a whole new level. This band was like a massive star that burned bright and then burned out quickly but left behind a legacy and an album that is still revered more than a half century later.

The original team that crafted the band's one and only self-titled release of the era consisted of Arthur Brown himself on vocals known for his outlandish stage charisma, Vincent Crane on Hammond organ and orchestral arrangements, Nicholas Greenwood on bass and Drachen Theaker on drums. The band was literally on "Fire" during 1968 with a hit single that peaked at #7 in the US and #2 in the UK as well as an early progressively minded rock album that contributed in redefining the possibilities of rock music. But all good things come to end, some shorter than other and by 1969 the members had grown restless and the band imploded. Crane would soon start Atomic Rooster while Greenwood would go on to join Steve Hillage in Khan, another band Jonesy as well as recording his own solo album.

The lineup lasted long enough for one classic album and no more yet Arthur Brown himself wanted to continue his CRAZY WORLD so he recruited a long list of guest musicians and set out to record what was suppose to be the second album under THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN moniker. The debut release offered the perfect mix of easy to follow blues rock melodies with pop sensibilities decorated with bizarre avant-garde intros, intermissions and extended passages. When it came to crafting his followup STRANGELANDS, Brown eschewed the easy on the ears pop sensibilities and went for the avant-garde jugular as he steered his musical style far away from the money-making machine that spawned his hit single "Fire." Turned out it wasn't the best move.

Considered to be the logical intermission between Brown's debut and his soon-to-be psychedelic prog band Kingdom Come, STRANGELANDS was recorded in 1969 and very much lived up to its album title however the good folks at the record company were having none of this this bizarre improved musical freakery that took metaphysical abstractness in the lyrics to unthinkable bizarre new realities and a stylistic shift from predict singable songwriting to avant-experimentalism that had more in common with free jazz than anything remotely rock and roll. The album was scrapped and remained in the vaults for almost 20 years after its initial recording in late 1969. The album wouldn't see the light of day until 1988 but has retrospectively been considered a belated prog masterpiece by some and utter dross by many more. In reality the album falls somewhere in between those extremes on the spectrum.

Although Arthur Brown himself was the attention getter with this shock rock stage performances of face paint which would inspire Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson and the entire genre of black metal that would come, on the musical composition side the band's debut was forged by a unique marriage of the disciplined classically trained musical approach of Vincent Crane who crafted music in a logical linear way and the more experimental free range approach of drummer Drachen Theaker. Theaker being the only musician to stay on board to record STRANGELANDS had more influence this time around and his avant-garde weirdness became the dominant force that Brown was more than willing to explore. Greenwood is said to have been the least musical explorative and in many ways kept the other three from getting too weird too fast.

STRANGELANDS retains the tones and timbres of the band's self-titled album of 1968 but instead of focusing on the melodies and pop sensibilities of the debut, this time around Brown expanded all those crazy avant-garde sounds that provided the intros, intermissions and extended freakery. The result was an album that featured a range of instrumental parts that played more independently as if each musician existed in his own world and the individual parts were somehow forged together like a musical chimera on the Isle of Dr Moreau. Rather than lush keyboards supporting a main melodic theme, now the keys went rogue into extreme psychedelic weirdness not unlike some of the trippiest Krautrock to come while the percussion forged by Theaker looked more toward the world of avant-jazz for bizarre otherworldly technical workouts closer to something from avant-percussionist Han Bennink than anything from the up til then rock paradigm.

While this album has the reputation of being complete musical gibberish, that is not the case at all. It may require a few listening sessions to unravel the musical complexities at hand but each musician has been assigned an expanded musical motif that extends beyond the typical for the day "coming together" for a unified musical motif. Operating much like the avant-prog excesses of Henry Cow that would emerge in a few short years, Brown was once again ahead of the pack with his relentless drive to innovate. Unfortunately few were willing to immerse their senses in music this dense and alien to their musical sensibilities however i personally don't really buy that because by 1969 several avant-rock release had emerged including Captain Beefheart's own "Trout Mask Replica" which STRANGELANDS is often compared to due to the fact that Theaker had personally known and played with the great Don Van Vliet, who inspired much of the approach.

Although it's impossible to decipher given the abstractness of this recording, STRANGELANDS is loosely arranged into four parts titled "The Country," "The City," "The Cosmos," and "The Afterlife," most of which feature multiple suites. The album was far more instrumental and the musical motifs took every liberty to escape the confines of any established musical paradigm. With acts like Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention and his pal Captain Beefheart, the avant-garde genie was truly out of the bottle and Brown himself had caught the bug. Ironically the only real connection to the debut other than the tones and timbres of the keyboards is the vocal style of Brown himself albeit this time around he excelled at a more exaggerated histrionic form of operatic theatricality. The album basically plays out as Brown pummeling the senses with philosophical metaphysical concepts while the musicians color the musical palette with improvisational impressions rather than belting out unambiguous bravado.

This is one strange bird right from the opening "Life Jacket" right down to the final cover of the 1950's song "Endless Sleep." Steeped in the excesses of Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica" with the musical fortitude of space cadet Sun Ra meets the free floating spirit of The Velvet Underground, STRANGELANDS more than lives up to its album title and is by all means an acquired taste if one can palette such things in any dosage. This album was really cutting edge and ahead of its time in many ways and although scrapped initially has been rediscovered as the album that showcases Brown's true mad genius that would, once tamed a bit, usher in his new stint with Kingdom Come whose three albums have become progressive rock classics in their own right. For those who love the most bizarre and demanding musical expressions to be found, this late 60s oddity is right up your alley.

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.06 | 208 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

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.

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Gypsy Voodoo by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.08 | 5 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Gypsy Voodoo
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars So very very much has changed in the 51 years since Arthur Wilton Brown better known as the flamboyant theatrical rock singer with a wide-range operatic vocal style in THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BORWN hit the Billboard chart's #2 spot with a freak hit single in the form of "Fire." Forever known in the pop world as a one hit wonder for his 1968 near chart topper, BROWN has existed as a much more inventive character in the underground and one who was innovative not only in his proto-prog rock musical compositions that graced the 1968 debut album THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN but also supplied an ample supply of shock rock values that would be adopted by the future world of heavy metal with not only his outlandish stage performances that found his metal headpiece spewing out flames but also with his unique approach of belting out an aggressive multi-octave lyrical delivery.

Despite a rather prolific solo career which included several solo albums as well as a few by THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN, Mr. Brown has never topped his debut performance that managed to outstage even the wildest characters of the tumultuous 60s but come 50 years later, this dude is still cranking out the music! And now in 2019, only two days after his 77th birthday, he who is also known as The God of Hellfire has released a new worthy edition to his canon in the form of GYPSY VOODOO which is the culmination of a career's worth of ideas all woven together with a new version of THE CRAZY WORLD band which includes a total of ten different musicians and vocalists. No members from the original rendition of the band are on board here, no Vincent Crane, no Nick Greenwood, no Drachen Theaker. This is a modern day ensemble and after all this is the ARTHUR BROWN hour so who cares about all those others!

While the decades have gone by and musical styles have changed, BROWN seems to exist in his own world where time stands still. GYPSY VOODOO sounds very much like the pioneer of Theatre Shock Rock with the groovy funky vibes of his glory years along with the blues based hard rock that made his 60s and 70s run so addictively fun! With ten diverse tracks GYPSY VOODOO finds BROWN in good spirit and although his vocals haven't navigated the oceans of time completely in tact, they still don't sound too bad for the most part with only some of his attempts to hit the higher range sounding a little raggedy. However on spoken word segments such as on "Fire Poem," he sounds exactly as he once did. With a refusal to join the new sounds of the 21st century it also sounds like BROWN conjured up a new batch of tracks right after his zany revered debut over a half of a century ago when comic books were a mere 10¢!

OK, so what can one expect from a character like ARTHUR BROWN so many years after his peak years that go back so very very far? Well, pretty much more of the same. GYPSY VOODOO is very much a tribute to himself and even includes a remake of the "Fire Poem" / "Fire" tracks that made him famous in the first place but not exactly to the same effect. The good news is that if you totally dig the melodic blues rock based songs that BROWN has always dished out then you are in for a treat. This album is chock full of brand spanking new tracks that sound as if they were created long ago and only now resurrected with the miracles of modern day technology to make them sound squeaky clean and free of the analog technology's limitations and while the remake of "Fire" doesn't exactly blow the original away, it is by no means a terrible exploit of his primo material either.

VOODOO GYPSY is a mixed bag for me. One the one hand, every single track here is a worthy addition to THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN but on the other hand, there's a sense of been there / done that and the album is dripping with nostalgia albeit in a good way. ARTHUR BROWN clearly found his voice long ago and has hardly deviated from it since and has not been tempted in the least to add modern day musical influences to his tapestry of spoken word, blues rock, electronics and psychedelia. Don't expect any metal, hip hop or Beyonce making a cameo. This is ARTHUR BROWN as the God of Hellfire has always been and much the better for it however i do wish that there was some sort of upgrade to the ARTHUR BROWN sound that would connect it to the present. While in no way bad, this album doesn't exactly blow me away either. Definitely recommended for those who crave retro 60s sounds with the benefits of modern day production but if you are expecting a totally new musical paradigm from Mr BROWN then you will be woefully disappointed.

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.06 | 208 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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.

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.06 | 208 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

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!

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Strangelands by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.13 | 22 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown: Strangelands
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

2 stars ...and along came Arthur, one of the most extravagant and brilliant musicians of the day. From the bluesy origins of the british boom he took the bold step into territory rarely tread before him. Mad as a hatter, obviously, but equipped with the most focused of minds, visionary and brave he set forth digging out a piece of the musical world that belonged to him and him alone.

The first album was a sort of compromise between blues and progressive rock which turned out really well. I suppose the album made quite an impact with it's theatrical vocals and scary, to be frank, compositions. Yet I cannot feel that the album was anything but a compromise where Brown constrained himself beyond his strength to make an album that would appeal to parts or any of the audience. Why? Simply because the next album he recorded, yet never saw released back then, was a chaotic piece of musical tapestry far beyond any normal mind. The album was in fact abnormal. The only sane thing about it is it's title, Strangelands, which encapsulates everything the album is. Strange and set in a strange land.

To listen to this album you need to be prepared for something beyond complex. There are no songs or epics in the normal sense. What you get is a bunch of musicians painting a canvas of distorted, twisted and deranged motives, with colours able to scare you. Sort of like a horror movie twisting your brain. You will not find structure. Well, that's not completely true. I will explain.

The Arthur Brown band of 1969 is the equivalent of modern day Mayhem, the norwegian black metal band. The reason for this statement is the immaculate ability to walk the ever so thin line between utter chaos and some sense of structure. Buried between the chaos you do find traces of order, proof of the true visions and musical skill possessed by the band, or both bands in this case. That is the scary part, the slight presence of order in a chaotic setting. Sort of like a workplace for orchs, really. Amidst all that chaos and devestation they do manage to build something that's both functional and impressive, given the circumstances.

With all that said, I must bear witness and let my personal feelings fly high, which, all things concerned is the purpose of reviews, and proclaim that this is not particularily enjoyable. I find it intriguing and interesting but not enjoyable. There are no real paths to follow and no real songs to endear me. The only real reward is after the album is over is the feeling of being impressed by how anyone is able to produce something like this. That is impressive but does not transform the music into anything other than noise, albeit with a sugar coating. (Though the coating must have gone off.)

I recommend you, if you like Arthur Brown, to give it a spin or two since it is a sort of progressional phase. "Galactic zoo dossier" was totally different and "Kingdom Come" (my favorite) is a sort of blend between the latter and "Strangelands". Purely an interesting note in the annals of Brown.

Conclusion: I'll give this album two stars, based only only on the fact that it is an impressive piece of work. That's all.

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.06 | 208 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by Xonty

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-based verses with Arthur Brown's unique vocal style, similar only to that of Ian Gillan of Deep Purple. The following track "Fanfare - Fire Poem" employs more musical styles and texture to the album. The fanfare evolves into an excellently lively organ playing as Brown recites an extraordinary, deliciously psychedelic poem leading you into the classic track "Fire". This track probably needs no description as you've probably come across the song before but just in case, "Fire" is really the essence of the album crammed into 3 minutes and presented to you as a catchy psychedelic tune with multiple hooks throughout.

From here onwards, the album sort of starts to go downhill or is not really as consistent as before. "Come And Buy" is more steady going song and acts nicely as a break from the earlier musical chaos. The melody is also quite relaxing, with the occasional upbeat section, although the lyrics aren't as adventurous as I would have liked in some places. "Time" further brings down the album into a calmer state into a wonderfully psychedelic dream, with more loud occasional interruptions to keep the listener interested. This segues into "Confusion" where familiar tunes are heard. Nothing too different is heard here.

Starting Side 2, an excellent rendition of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" is heard. The band really make it their own, and create a brilliant atmosphere through the wall of sound. The Great "Spontaneous Apple Creation" follows with a bizzare intro, more creative poetry and chord progressions. Intriguing effects are used to fill the air along with vivid drumming. Overall quite an odd song but fits in nicely to this album. "Rest Cure" is another more mainstream attempt as heard on "Fire" (of which it is the B-side of). It makes a great upbeat fun song onto the album but upholds the adventurous standards as heard previously.

"I've Got Money" - a James Brown cover - has incredibly soulful sections which the whole of the band contribute to greatly, especially as the keyboard chords build up to the chorus. "Child Of My Kingdom" was a little bit of a letdown, not as memorable as the previous songs but still good. The song carries some nice Canterbury Scene-esque verses, with honky-tonk keyboards and steadily rocking rhythms. Interesting little tunes fill in any empty sections in the solos towards the end, without making them too clustered, and in effect creates a well structured ending to the album.

A(+) - One of the greatest and most underrated gems of the psychedelic era. Must be heard by anyone who likes the song "Fire" or bands like Deep Purple.

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.06 | 208 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

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 face painted in different colours and a pink star signs the name of band and record.

Arthur Brown sings, speaks, Vincent Crane plays keyboard and organ, Sean Nicholas plays bass and Drachen Theaker drums on this disc. The best songs on this album are "Come and Buy", a deep song with poetic lyrics, "Fire" a mighty melody and a gorgeous organ background, "Child of my Kingdom" which is magic, long and has some nice whistleling, "Prelude/Nightmare" where we first meet Browns voice and "I put a spell on you" which is a psychedelic hit. "Time/Confusion" is like a psychedelic rock lulluby and also fantastic.

Sometimes Brown reads and sometimes he screams and the full album is theatrical. His voice are so clear and distinct. What's most obvious in this music is the dramatic organs that show how you can do progressive music.Beside of that we have Brown thatrical voice that is something totally different with earlier pop song heroes. This is a new voice with integrity and power and music which can be considered pure art.

This album combines a dated but wonderful sound of the sixties I love with something very new and forward-looking and that makes it so essential. I like The Web's record from the same year "Fully Interlocking" and there are similarities I like between those two otherwise quite different gems. I recommend you this music because it's the roots of prog and it is prog.

 Chisholm In My Bosom by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.00 | 18 ratings

BUY
Chisholm In My Bosom
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Anyone looking for musical insanity? Yes? Well, maybe you ought to check out the Galactoc zoo dossiers instead, because Chisholm in my bosom isn't really that insane. Is it any good, then? The album possessess certain qualities and undoubted charm, that's for sure.

The first six tracks on the album are all listenable at variyng degrees. Nothing special or overly brilliant, just enjoyable pop-rock. The greatest effort and the track which makes the album worth every penny is the title track. It is not as crazy or wild as the earlier stuff by Arthur Brown but it is a lovely track, brilliant in it's own right and a delight to listen to.

For the last few days I have dedicated my attention to this particular track. It has got some wonderful progressive elements which strikes great chords with me. The lyrics are amusing, the vocal melodies great and the instrumentation fabolous (as expected). The british quirkiness is there, alongside a feel of inspiration, though maybe slightly forced.

Anyway, you could skip the first six tracks of the album, as far as I am concerned, and head straight for the title track. Get on board and make that journey towards Chisholm. I dare say you won't be disappointed.

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.06 | 208 ratings

BUY
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by ExittheLemming

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 crushed velvet diapers. Arthur has always been an entertainer first, an artist second and an apologist for the worst excesses of his beneficiaries a distant third. It's only within the cosmiche cul de sac of 'Prog' that the description 'psychedelic soul singer' would be considered a pejorative one. This is unequivocally popular music albeit with subject matter, imagery, structural and textural innovation hitherto unprecedented at the time of it's release.

Spoiler warning: people whose taste you routinely abhor as crassly venal and shallow will 'dig' this record just as much as you do but for different reasons. Deal with it and move on esoteric hippy snobs. My dad is 81 years young and he loves this album hugely (his only reservation being that yes, the singer is certainly 'doolally' and that no, he wouldn't, even though he is on fire)

Arthur asks: what does Pop music want to be when it grows up? His question went largely unheeded but received the best response to date perhaps by Genesis, who on both Get Em Out By Friday and Supper's Ready share that quintessentially English take on rock with a vestige of R'n'B soulfulness (via the Gabriel tonsils) together with the storytelling elements provided by theatre that manage to avoid kitschy camp until the Lamb surrendered the keys to the Shari Lewis panto wardrobe.

Such is the convoluted, fractious and contradictory nature of how this album came into being, it might serve us well to consider several factors in its appraisal. Like most people, I cling to the comforting idea that my favourite records of all time are the painstaking result of innovative and visionary thinking, attention to detail and unswerving integrity. Well cherubs, we can spit all those pacifiers straight out of the cot now methinks. From what I can glean from a variety of competing sources, the only clear-cut consensus on offer here is that it's a miracle this dissolute, unwashed, inept, petulant and naive conglomerate of talents produced an enduring masterpiece as opposed to something that sounds like a fire in a pet shop. Producer Kit Lambert rejected the original band recordings featuring Brown, Crane, Theaker and Greenwood and opted instead to re-record the entire project in a variety of London studios using alternate personnel of his own choosing. These included John Paul Jones, Jon Hiseman, Aynsley Dunbar and John Marshall (Soft Machine) plus the addition of orchestral parts prepared by hired arrangers. It seems that Lambert and 'associate producer' Pete Townshend had also rejected the original orchestral arrangements submitted by Crane and despite what some Crazy World band-members lament as cheesy 'Danger Man' music in their place, I find the brass, flute and strings to be unfailingly inspired, commensurately subtle or dramatic when required and lend proceedings an elegant sheen that sits in perfect counterbalance to the gritty R'n'B grunt of the band. If such prevarication were not dispiriting enough for what was a new and untried group, the last straw must have been that 'executive decision' by Track Records to revert back to the original band recordings for the final release after much needlessly expensive delay. Organist Vincent Crane grew up very quickly at around this time and came to see Lambert's cynical modus operandi at close quarters: keep the band in debt so they can't leave.

Anyone who had attended the earlier 'Vincent Crane Combo' playing a gig in Brighton featuring Arthur circa 67 would have been privy to a phenomenon distinctly at odds with the music we are being asked to consider herein:

'It was very jazzy at that point' witness and future Crazy World drummer Drachen Theaker recalls. 'It was basically Vincent doing his set with Arthur squawking over it, coming on in a variety of different costumes and behaving like a maniac!' Crane had his reservations about this new teaming, but concluded: 'I felt compelled to work with this mad bastard, because he had a rapport with and control of the audience that was quite remarkable'

For me, this ability to intuit and manipulate (for benign purposes) a room full of potentially implacable, indifferent or discerning souls is a hard won skill that only entertainers of the calibre of Arthur Brown, Alex Harvey, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Ray Davies, Peter Gabriel and Alice Cooper could pass muster. Crane's admission here goes right to the heart of Prog's innate weakness i.e. it was mainly populated by long winded instrumentalists who couldn't string two words together.

Brown's sorcerer's apprenticeship was served during a residency at the Moulin Rouge in Paris where he entertained, amongst other luvvies from the transiently fab and groovy 'A' list, Ornette Coleman and Salvador Dali. It was during this wood-shedding period that Arthur devised and refined many of the performance techniques and ideas that were to provide such an irresistible momentum to his already burgeoning reputation. The flaming head-dress, mummer play/death mask face paint, multiple costume changes and theatrical props all became inseparable from the live experience that concert goers were immersed in by the Crazy World entourage. (not to mention that curious elbow flailing dance of his that resembles a much taller and skinnier Chubby Checker with Irritable Bowel Syndrome) If you want to catch a glimpse of what the Crazy World of Arthur Brown sounded like before the patronage of Kit Lambert and Pete Townshend then cast an ear to Strangelands, that abandoned and mercifully unreleased 2nd album that betrays it's lineage of free-form/jazz w.a.n.k extemporisation be-getting total freedom for those not remotely equipped to deal with same. Say what you like about Kit Lambert, but he had a nous for polishing unrefined talent despite not possessing a sliver of musical ability in his entire junkie soul. The 60's is not wanting for similarly flamboyant partying svengalis like Oldham, Epstein, Stratton-Smith et al and it's hard to imagine the longevity of a body of work by the counter culture without the intervention of those its creators habitually considered as irredeemably 'square' on first acquaintance. Pop group managers and midwives have some unlikely common ground: they often have perfectly justifiable cause to slap the baby. I know it's just pure speculation but I've long harboured the suspicion that the discipline, brevity, accessibility and imagery harnessed by this music was the result of a bartered compromise between the competing agendas of Brown/Crane and Lambert/Townshend. Art v Rock - not even Mrs Schoenberg wanted to f**k Schoenberg

Left to their own whooshy and sparkly devices, many a blurred visionary from the late 60's would have quickly disappeared up their own backside without the tutelage and business acumen provided by the aforementioned reviled 'suits'

It's unlikely that Mr B would have been afforded more than a passing asterisk in the margins of popular music shorn of the global smash hit represented by Fire. Denied that launchpad to what should have been a stellar trajectory fell considerably short of allowing Arthur to escape the wearying and stifling gravitas of our forbidding planet. Sued for stealing the melody from an avowedly drippy love song created by Messrs Finesilver and Kerr called Baby, You're a Long Way Behind (how hideously apt, like a chainsaw franchise suing a beaver) Arthur and Vincent lost most of their royalties as a result and waved goodbye to unforetold riches and welcomed home the ageing bulimic calf. I've never yet managed to locate a version of the purported original, so it begs the question: how many songs that have come to be considered emblematic of an entire decade were written in F minor?

Word to the wise Prog kinder: when listening to this record you should dispense entirely with those spurious 'mono version' tracks that clutter up most CD versions of this release. Program yer CD spinner to play from the sexy stereo Prelude Nightmare right through to Child of my Kingdom, pour yourself a measure of success, unleash the hush puppies, take your ears off the hook and simply luxuriate in one of the finest 40 (ish) minutes of your life you can enjoy as a willing and fully clothed accessory to crimes against inhumanity.

What strikes many as odd or unusual about this album is the complete absence of guitar and that the iconic single Fire is but just one part of a song suite spanning the entire first side of the original vinyl LP. This had the working title Tales From The Neurotic Nights of Hieronymous Anonymous and that Townshend and Lambert declined to use such was probably wise. They correctly surmised that discerning and inquisitive listeners i.e. you lot, would trace the line if provided with just the dots. Joe Blow on the other hand, does NOT find descriptions of - thematically linked albeit discrete song/spoken word sections that portray an individual soul's descent into the infernal region a.k.a hell y'all- particularly inviting or helpful. Joseph B would be perfectly justified in considering such a menu item to be 'the veggie choice' offered by those who describe a spade as a 'manual earth moving implement'. Here is where we meet the kernel of genius at the heart of Arthur Brown and it is hewn from the same stuff as that of the seemingly incongruous Roger Waters from Dark Side of the Moon i.e. both articulate very elusive and unpalatable ideas in such terms that they can be understood by anyone provided they have a pulse (the price of your entry is sin) The intellect is not required here to appreciate a moral fable that circumvents entirely the subsequent demarcation of the arts into hierarchical consumer 'brands'. There are those in our midst who naturally fear such deviant atavism as how else can they either champion or pour scorn on such music that stubbornly refuses to belong to any particular aisle in their upmarket ubermarket?

One of the pitfalls of mainstream success is that the particular is much more often confused with the general e.g. if a demographic think you are the devil and have come to devour their toddlers, drink granny's blood, molest her kittens and defecate in the local church fount, who are we to disabuse them of this deluded but lucrative notion? Alice Cooper, who I love to bits, has exploited this phenomenon in the pursuit of a very long and rewarding career.

Thus in the stubborn and unyielding popular consciousness, Arthur will forever be inextricably linked with the demonic iconography of what has since mutated into a particularly obtuse niche of the market place where confirmation bias is a plus (go figure hirsute paleface) Like anyone who exemplifies a strident humanitarianism wedded to an unstinting belief in the inviolability of the individual spirit, Arthur would be saddened by the idea of 'Satan' having been reduced to Rawk's favourite cartoon fetish villain. Let's be clear: the hero depicted in Arthur's tale is NOT a moral monster called to atone for his transgressions or a life of feckless debauchery. The unnamed protagonist is Everyman, he is one of us, an ordinary chap who has in parts, an innate and learned moral compass, is flawed but tries to be a good guy, doesn't shove his values down anyone's throat and probably sends his Mum flowers on her birthday. The real sin or crime that Arthur warns us about so brilliantly and thrillingly is that of unthinking conformity, consumerism (Come and Buy) self serving belief systems (God brother, you lie) and pretty much like everyone in our orbit, we would prefer your sincerity to your virtue. I would even forgive the Welsh (provided they emigrate).

I do have serious reservations however about the lazy association of Gothic that is thrown like careless confetti in the direction of this wondrous marriage of soul and psyche. I mean, it's got some spine tingling Hammond devilment on it which in places mimics a liturgical feel yes, but I can't see Arthur's corpse paint from where I'm sitting and as drummer Drachen Theaker stated:

It was a wild act, but it wasn't that wild musically. We were just an R&B group underneath. It wasn't like the Pink Floyd, because we took our cue from the whole US mid-sixties soul music invasion. What made it psychedelic was Arthur's acting ability and the fact that Vince and I just overplayed to death at gigs. We made a hell of a noise for two people

Crane agreed: Arthur was a soul singer then. We did psychedelic soul music and that's why you've got things like 'Money' on the album. A lot of people used to think he was coloured

Did you know that Chuck Berry's record sales declined when his predominately white audience came to realise he was black?. Is the opposite true for Arthur Brown? Even spookier is that the so-called God of Hell-fire was forced into semi-retirement during the 70's to become a (gulp) carpenter. Although it's true that the Crazy World of Arthur Brown presaged Prog, it should be abundantly clear by now that the good will 'oft be interred' with the formers bones (even those painted on for Top of the Pops)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

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