ARTIST: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
TITLE: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: #7 US, #2 UK
SINGLES: Fire (#2 US, #1 UK), Nightmare
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They do cover I Put a Spell on You
LINEUP: Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane, Nick Greenwood, Drachen Theaker. John Marshall drummed on two songs.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Wild, out-of-nowhere hit by jazz-psychedelic-proggy group led by one of the most unique individuals in rock music.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There are so many rock and metal musicians that owe a debt to Arthur Brown, thanks to the makeup, the costume changes, the flaming helmet, and his heavy, spooky sound. Listening to the debut, they also learned a few things outside of trying to match “Fire”, too.
Brown and his band were a definite must see for a few years thanks to his dramatics, and the album definitely ups the drama as well. There’s spoken word pieces, insane cackles, Brown’s multi-octave voice, and the screams. All that in front of a mostly competent keyboard-based kinda-jazzy group led by Vincent Crane. (Crane was definitely competent, drummer Drachen Theaker was always on the chopping block to be replaced.)
This record is definitely a period piece (how could it not be) yet it’s an enjoyable trip back to the time where somehow this was a hit.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This group was a favored opening act for many bands in the UK and the US. However, in 1969, Carl Palmer was on drums because of Theaker’s fear of flying. Palmer and Crane soon left after the tour to form Atomic Rooster, which led to Palmer being poached by Keith Emerson to form…well..you know.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. There’s the mono mix appended, and a few early singles (which are more hippy-dippy than anything).
GRADE B: Oh, there’s pretention here and head scratching things, but it’s fun and Brown’s voice is pretty unique.