Brown, Arthur (The Crazy World of)


Band members               Related acts

- Arthur Brown (aka Arthur Wilton) - vocals (1968-)
- Jeff Crane - drums (replaced Drachian Theaker) (1968-)
- Vincent Crane (RIP 1989) - organ (1968)
- Doug Henningham - keyboards (replaced Vincent Crane)

  (1968)
- John Marshall - drums (replaced Carl Palmer) (1969)
- Henry McCulloch - keyboards (1969)

- Scott Morgan -- (1982)

- Sean Nichols - bass (1968-)

- Ian Ota -- (1981)
- Carl Palmer - drums (replaced Jeff Crane) (1968)
- Pete Solley - keyboards (replaced Doug Henningham)
- Dennis Taylor - bass (replaced Sean Nicholas) (1969)
- Drachian Theaker (RIP 1992) -- drums, percussion (1968)

 

 

- Asia (Carl Palmer)
- Atomic Rooster (Carl Palmer and Vincent Crane)
- Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Carl Palmer)
- Love (Drachen Theaker)
 

 

 

 


 

Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Company: Track

Catalog: SD-8190

Country/State: UK

Year: 1968

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $20.00

 

Here's a simple equation that serves as a decent career summary for Arthur Brown: 

English + musician + eccentric = Arthur Brown

Today Brown's largely unknown, particularly to American audiences.  If they recognize his name at all, it's almost certain as a result of his sole American hit; 1968's "Fire".  That's unfortunate since over some three and a half decades, Brown's generated an extensive recording catalog; most of it unknown to all but hardcore collectors. 

Having been expelled from the University of London, the mid-'60s found Arthur Wilton (aka Arthur Brown) pursuing a law degree at Reading University. Having formed a band to play parties and local clubs while earning some spending cash, graduating from college Brown dropped out of music and went into teaching. Having spent a couple of years working 9-to-5, in 1967 Brown decided teaching had been a mistake. Deciding music was his true calling he recruited keyboardist Vincent Crane, bassist Sean Nichols and drummer Drachian Theaker for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Featuring an eccentric combination of comedy, theatrics and rock and roll, the band quickly garnered exposure on the London club circuit, including the trendy UFO Club. Among fans, The Who's Pete Townshend took an active interest in the band, eventually convincing executives at Track Records (the Who's label) to sign Brown and company to a recording contract. 

Produced by Kit Lambert with Townshend lending a hand, "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" stood as one of the year's strangest offerings. The combination of Brown's ranting vocals, Crane's fire breathing keyboards, combined with an-over-the-top stage show was unlike anything else on the market. Featuring a hodge-podge collection of musical genres, the album found the band taking stabs at a broad spectrum of styles, including psychedelia, hard rock, jazz, Sinatra-styled crooning ("Come & Buy"), and even R&B (a wild cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell On You"). Elsewhere, while it wasn't billed as such, the first five tracks actually served as a concept piece. Artistically fearless, Brown and company took enthusiastic shots at every genre; indiscriminately mixing the ingredients on freak-out tracks such as "Prelude - Nightmare" and "Fanfare - Fire Poem" (geez, talk about a bad acid trip ... ). While not always successful, there was no denying the set's bizarre appeal. Released as a single Brown's frenzied performance on "Fire" b/w "Rest Cure" (Track catalog number 45-2556) provided the band with an unexpected American hit. In support of the fluke hit, the band undertook an American tour, their theatrical presentation - Brown frequently performed with a painted face while wearing psychedelic clothes and a flaming helmet, generating a wave of media attention. The hit and supporting tour propelled the parent album to #7. As an interesting side note, Brown's wild stage show and over-the-top image set him at odds with many conservatives; some who even branded him satanic. That was ironic since Brown was an admittedly deeply religious Christian, who worked Christian themes into much of his catalog (check out tracks such as "Time/Confusion" and "Child of My Kingdom").

"The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Prelude/Nightmare (Arthur Brown) - 3:28 
2.) Fanfare/Fire Poem (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane) - 1:51 
3.) Fire (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane - Finesilver - Ker) - 2:54 
4.) Come and Buy (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane) - 5:40 
5.) Time/Confusion (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane) - 5:11 

(side 2)

1.) I Put a Spell on You (Screaming Jay Hawkins) - 3:41 
2.) Spontaneous Apple Creation (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane) - 2:54 
3.) Rest Cure (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane) - 2:44 
4.) I've Got Money (Arthur Brown) - 3:09 
5.) Child of My Kingdom (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane) - 7:01 

Unfortunately, success took its toll. First Brown was hit with a copyright lawsuit; subsequently losing most of the royalties associated with "Fire." Adding to the group's problems, while at a party Crane was dosed with LSD. Left severely impaired, Crane had to drop out of the group and seek psychological help. (His replacement for the rest of the tour was Doug Henningham.) 




Genre: progressive

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Journey

Company: Passport

Catalog: 98003

Country/State: UK

Year: 1973

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: 

Available: 2

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $25.00

 

 

Actually credited as 'Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come', anyone expecting to hear something along the lines of 'Fire' was probably disappointed by 1974's "Journey".  This time around the Brown and company opted for a surprisingly aggressive set that mixed progressive moves such as the extended opener 'Time Captives' with extended instrumental segments.  With the focus on synthesizers (courtesy of keyboardist Victor Peraino), various electronic production enhancement and an irritating Bentley Rhythm Ace drum machine, to my ears heavily orchestrated tracks such as 'Gypsy' and 'Superficial Roadblocks' just never seemed to get going.  Luckily, when spotlighted, Brown's eccentric voice and mannerisms remained instantly recognizable.  While rather far and few between, the album managed to cough up a couple of redeeming moments.  'Spirit of Joy' and 'Come Alive' boasted fairly conventional rock structures (the latter had some nice guitar from Andy Dalby), while Brown's blood curdling screams on 'Conception' were pretty cool - they certainly upset the family cat.  Kind of a curiosity to me, but while the liner notes credit Dennis Taylor as producing the set, Taylor only handled two tracks. Turns out that Dave Edmunds (credited with 'remixing' the album) actually produced the remaining five tracks at his Rockfield Studios.  (In case anyone cares, the America cover courtesy by David Powell is far more attractive than the UK version.)

 

"Journey" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Time Captives   (Arthur Brown - Andy Dalby - Phil Shutt - Victor Peraino) 

- 8:13

2.) Triangles   (Arthur Brown - Andy Dalby - Phil Shutt - Victor Peraino)  - 3:20

3.) Gypsy   (Arthur Brown - Andy Dalby - Phil Shutt - Victor Peraino)  - 9:10

 

(side 2)
1
.) Superficial Roadblocks   (Arthur Brown - Andy Dalby - Phil Shutt - Victor Peraino)  - 6:56

     a. Lost Time

     b. Superficial Roadblocks

     c. Corpora Supercelestia

2.) Conception (instrumental)   (Arthur Brown - Andy Dalby - Phil Shutt - Victor Peraino)  - 2:06

3.) Spirit of Joy   (Arthur Brown - Andy Dalby - Phil Shutt - Victor Peraino)  - 3:15

4.) Come Alive   (Arthur Brown - Andy Dalby - Phil Shutt - Victor Peraino)  - 8:45

 




Genre: progressive

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Dance with Arthur Brown

Company: Gull

Catalog: GULP  1008

Country/State: UK

Year: 1974

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $15.00

 

Produced by Roger Bain and released by the small Gull label, 1975's "Dance with Arthur Brown" was bound for instant obscurity. That's unfortunate since the set found Brown in good form. While certainly not as demented as his debut, the album still exhibited it's share of English eccentricity. Perhaps the biggest surprise came from how good a singer Brown was. Anyone who knew him from the crazed "Fire" was bound to be surprised by the energy he brought to material such as the blazing cover of "We've Got To Get Out of This Place," the ballad "Helen with the Sun" and "Take a Chance." While catchy and commercial, much of Brown's own material ("Crazy" and "") was simply too English for American audiences. Elsewhere, Brown's two religious numbers ("The Lord Will Find a Way" and "Is There Nothing Beyond God") were among the oddest tracks. Needless to say, the set vanished without a trace.

"Dance with Arthur Brown" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) We've Got To Get Out of This Place (Barry Mann - Cynthis Weil) - 
2.) Helen with the Sun (Andy Dalby - Sue Dalby) - 
3.) Take a Chance (Arthur Brown) - 
4.) Crazy (Arthur Brown) - 
5.) Hearts and Minds (Arthur Brown) - 

(side 2)

1.) Dance (Arthur Brown) - 
2.) Out of Time (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards) - 
3.) Quietly with Tact (Andy Dalby - Sue Dalby) - 
4.) Soul Garden (Arthur Brown) - 
5.) The Lord Will Find a Way (Lee Robinson) - 
11.) Is There Nothing Beyond God (Arthur Brown) - 


Genre: progressive

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The Lost Ears

Company: Gull

Catalog: SDGU 2003/4

Country/State: UK

Year: 1976

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: double album; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $30.00

 

Clocking in at an some 90 minutes (at times it seems endless), 1976's "The Lost Ears" was a 22 track, double album retrospective.  While the album included material covering the 1968-72 timeframe, the primary focus was on Brown's previous efforts with Kingdom Come.  The results were understandably mixed.  Highlights include the sci-fi epic "Time Captives, "The Hymn" (one of Brown's prettier melodies) and "Spirit Of Joy".  At the other end of the spectrum, the instrumental "Gypsy Escape", "The Traffic Light Song" and "Conception" (Brown apparently trying to howl like a wolf), were seemingly included to highlight the artist's more eccentric sides.  While the majority of material was pulled from previously released sources, it worth noting Brown remixed most of the collection.  Elsewhere the set included three previously unreleased Puddletown Express efforts ("Space Plucks (including Dem Bones)", "So High Up Here" and "Through the Planets").  The liner notes included entertaining excerpts from a 1976 interview Brown granted Melody Maker's Chris Welch.   By the way, the hit ("Fire") isn't here.  (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve.)

"The Lost Ears" track listing:
1.) Internal Messenger (Arthur Brown - Finesilver - Ker) - 4:27
2.) Space Plucks (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane) - 3:12
3.) Trouble (Dalby) - 
4.) Brains Stanshall - Kingdom Come) -
5.) Night of the Pigs (Arthur Brown - Kingdom Come) - 4:00
6.) Creep (Arthur Brown - Kingdom Come)
7.) Creation (Arthur Brown - Mitchell - Taylor - Theaker - Rickell) - 
8.) Gypsy Escape (instrumental) (Taylor - Harris) - 11:30
9.) Love Is a Spirit (Arthur Brown) - 3:56
10.) The Experiment (Kingdom Come) - 8:38
11.) The Hymn (Kingdom Come) - 6:01
12.) The Traffic Light Song (Kingdom Come) - 2:40
13.) Spirit of Joy (Harris - Arthur Brown) - 2:50
14.) Time Captives (Arthur Brown) - 7:07
15.) Conception (instrumental) (Arthur Brown - Dalby) - 2:00
16.) Come Alive (Kingdom Come)- 8:20
17.) Sunrise (Arthur Brown - Kingdom Come) - 6:52
18.) Triangles (Kingdom Come) - 3:20
19.) Metal Monster (Harris - Arthur Brown) - 1:47
20.) Space Plucks (including Dem Bones) (Arthur Brown - Vincent Crane) - 5:46
21.) So High Up Here (Arthur Brown - Mitchell - Taylor - Theaker - Rickell) - 2:30
22.) Through the Planets (Arthur Brown - Mitchell - Taylor - Theaker - Rickell) - 3:52



Genre: progressive

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Speaknotech

Company: Republic

Catalog: --

Country/State: UK

Year: 1982

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: picture disc

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: 5501

Price: $40.00

 

 

In the early 1980s Arthur Brown moved to Austin, Texas where he ended up starting a house painting business with former Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black.  Brown remained active in music initially toying with the idea of recording an album under Peter Gabriel's tutelage, but ultimately decided against the project.  In 1981 he started recording with producer Craig Leon and local musicians Scott Morgan and Ian Ota.  Prior to releasing the album Morgan was brought in to remix the tapes.  Released by the small Austin-based Republic Records, "Speaknotech" (Speak No Tech), was suitably eclectic.  Complete with low tech Atari game console-styled synthesizer burps and gurgles, Kraftwerk-ish tape loops and various oddball sound effects, tracks like 'King of England', 'Conversations' and 'Strange Romance' made it clear Brown had been listening to more than his share of early-1980s American and English new wave and synthesizer bands while adding his own unique lyrical and vocal imprints on the results.  Picture David Byrne as a middle aged, oddball Englishman and you wouldn't be that far off the general sound and aural atmosphere on this one.  Weirdest of the weird - a truly bizarre cover of Buddy Holly's 'Not Fade Away', the spoken word narrative 'The Morning was Cold' and the oddball title track where Brown recalled something that Roxy Music might have done as a joke.   Imagine Holly reincarnated as a Martian new wave act ...  While the LP's sound hasn't aged all that well, like much of Brown's catalog there's something fascinating about the resulting low tech meltdown.  Ever been driving somewhere and slowed down to check out a bad traffic accident?  The carnage is horrible and you pray that nobody involved was seriously hurt, but by the same token you can't take your eyes off the mess.  That was actually a surprisingly decent analogy for vast parts of this release !   Yeah this one is way strange !!!

 

"Speaknotech" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) King of England   (Arthur Brown - Craig Leon) - 

2.) Conversations   (Arthur Brown - Craig Leon) - 

3.) Strange Romance   (Arthur Brown - Craig Leon) - 

4.) Not Fade Away   (Hardin - Petty) - 

5.) The Morning was Cold   (Arthur Brown - Craig Leon) - 

 

(side 2)
1
.) Speaknotech   (Arthur Brown - Morgan) -

2.) Name As Names   (Arthur Brown - Craig Leon) -

3.) Love Lady   (Arthur Brown - Craig Leon) -

4.) Big Guns Don;t Lie   (Arthur Brown - Craig Leon) -

5.) Take a Picture   (Arthur Brown - Craig Leon) -

 

In 1997 the Voiceprint label reissued the collection in CD format (catalog number VP124CD) along with five bonus tracks:

 

1.) You Don't Know (1965)

2.) Old Friend My Colleague (1990)

3.) Lost My Soul In London (1990) Joined Foreaer (1990)

4.) Mandala (1987)

5.) Desert Floor (1987

 

 

 

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