One of the greatest UK psychedelic era albums of all time, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN, will be rereleased on an expanded 2 cd set on March 23. This excellent original 1968 album in beautifully remastered digital stereo will be included along with alternate mono versions of the songs, singles, and a 1968 BBC radio broadcast. This is an incredible must have package.
Originally released in 1968 0n Track Records with Pete Townshend of The WHO as the associate producer, Arthur Brown's outlandish album hit peaked at #7 on the Billboard albums chart, and the single, "Fire" peaked at #2 on the Billboard singles chart. His outlandish vocal style and macabre stage shows probably helped to influence later rockers such as Alice Cooper and others.
The original 1968 album was a dark and twisted, nightmarish vision indeed. Alternating between deep voiced dark and demonic vocal styles, and a ear-piercing high pitched screaming style , this psychedelic "Punch & Judy" issued one of the strangest and greatest and darkest masterpiece albums of the 1960's. Unfortunately, none of his later efforts seemed to really capture all of the magic of this original first effort. THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN captures this artist at his greatest moment.
His dark hit single, "Fire" opens with that famous shouted catch-phrase of his, "I am the god of hellfire", and a heavy use of flaming helmets and other fire use caused him to once be removed from a tour with Jimi Hendrix. Further, Arthur Brown was forced to put up bonds to perform in other venues because of the fire risk to theaters and stages. Sometimes, an occasional fire accident did occur causing the loss of a little hair. In 207, another little fire accident happened as well when Arthur Brown lost some hair and a musician of his also caught fire.
Musicians associated with Arthur Brown's original band such as organist Vincent Crane and Carl Palmer(who later formed Emerson, Lake & Palmer) eventually went on to form Atomic Rooster. And Arthur Brown had a later association with the out there UK act, Hawkwind.
But this original 1968 album has so many high points beyond the success of the single, "Fire". His cover version of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins song, "I Put A Spell On You", was another very macabre masterpiece, but became a less successful follow-up single to "Fire" for some odd reason. But it's a very memorable version of that song, and may well be the best version of that song ever recorded. "Nightmare", "Come And Buy", "Spontaneous Apple Creation" and other songs all stand very well on their own as well. "Nightmare" is really good, and another fantastic vocal performance by Brown as well.
While not really comparable to the same dark musical vision presented by The Doors, Arthur Brown's own very dark music, heavy macabre vocals and creepy keyboard based songs on THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN should really appeal to fans of The Doors nonetheless, for his own unique visions of very dark and disturbing concepts and stylings. If you like dark music, this album is for you.
All in all, this is one of the greatest rock era albums ever recorded. It is an absolute must in any well stocked collection of 1960's vintage psychedelic rock albums. By all means buy yourself a copy. Cd Universe is offering preorders on this classic album at just $20.99 right now. That isn't bad at all for such a fantastic album expanded with so many musical rarities and goodies.
The Bottom Line: ++++(four stars out of four, excellent)