Another stanchion of the London underground scene, Arthur Brown had huge success with the single "Fire" b/w "Rest Cure." Released in June, it rose to the top of the UK charts, while reaching No. 2 in the US that September. The single was a tough act to follow, perhaps even overshadowing the rest of his career. But let's not sell the man short. Brown's real contribution to rock music was theatre: his on-stage antics-from fire helmet to crucifixion-set the standard for most every act to follow. Plus, Brown's musical partner, Vincent Crane, was nothing short of genius. The Who's Pete Townshend and Kit Lambert produced their debut album, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. As covers of Screamin' Jay Hawkins and James Brown songs attest, the R&B influence is obvious, but the album's highlight is the five-song "opera" that comprises the first side of the record. Alternating from swinging pop to psychedelia, Crane's swirling organ playing and songwriting act as perfect counterpoint to Brown's distinct voice. Crane was no flash either. Having a formal musical education from Trinity College, his arrangements are first-rate. There's sophistication on "Child of My Kingdom" that transcends his age at the time, and his virtuoso performance certainly rivals any contemporary; perhaps even setting the standard for the organ. The album was extremely successful, reaching the UK No. 2 and the US No. 7. A young Carl Palmer replaced original drummer Drachen Theaker shortly after the album's release, yet after a second US tour, the band broke up, with Palmer and Crane forming Atomic Rooster. Brown's attempt to resurrect the band failed, but he would soon catch the progressive bandwagon with Kingdom Come.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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"Always ready with the ray of sunshine"