REVIEW

 

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
BBC Sessions1968 [no label 1CD Torrent #74932]

History long ago recorded that the Crazy World of Arthur Brown's relegation to one hit wonderdom was one of psychedelia's most unjust occurrences. But it was also, in the most iconic of fashions, the most perfect solution to the band's own dilemma - how could you ever follow up a record like "Fire," and would you even want to? Dimly, one recalls the band turning up on Top Of The Pops (or some similar late 60s pop show) to promote their follow-up single, and even as a child, there was a sense of… why bother? And the band clearly agreed, breaking up before they'd even got their second album off the ground.

Their debut LP, of course, joins "Fire" among the key documents of 1968, and this set attempts to compliment the long player, by rounding up much of the remainder of their output that year. Beware, however, for the title is misleading. Only the opening five tracks hail from a 1968 radio session, their April appearance on John Peel. Two more hail from an appearance on the Tom Jones TV show the following year. 

But the remainder is drawn, scrapbook fashion, from period b-sides ("Devil's Grip" and "What's Happening"), a Puddletown Express demo, Brown's 1965 charity flexidisc, and even a couple of Kingdom Come tracks, which journey about as far from the original Crazy World as you could imagine. 

Of course, there's nothing wrong with any of the music, but with several of these cuts having already reappeared, remastered, on Brown's own Fire anthology, BBC Sessions 1968 is more a lost opportunity than a much anticipated missing link. - Dave Thompson

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April 13, 2007