Anyone familiar with British singer / performer will want to check out this new CD box. Brown who had had a #1 hit in the UK and Canada [#2 in US] with the song “Fire” in 1968. His stage show included his ‘fire hat’, and he wore black make-up around his eyes, an idea that would later be taken on by Alice Cooper, and later Kiss. When his ‘Crazy World Of Arthur Brown’ [which would feature organ player & co-writer Vincent Crane [pre Atomic Rooster] and drummer Carl Palmer] split up, he started the ’70s with a new band – Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, which featured the great guitar work of Andy Dalby for the band’s 3 albums. 1971’s Galactic Zoo Dossier featured such tracks as “Space Plucks”, the heavy instrumental “Gypsy Escape”, “Metal Monster”, and “Sunrise”. Much of this is not your standard rock or prog writings or arrangements of the ’70s, there’s lots of variety, lots of unique theatrical deliveries, humor, but really amazing performances from the band, including organ, and Brown’s vocal delivery ranging from near spoken, and soft pieces to his powerful and emotional vocals on the likes of “Sunrise” .
This stuff is not to be entered in to lightly – you can’t just play it once and categorize it, as there is so much going on musically and lyrically. The follow up album was 1972’s self titled Kingdom Come, which appears simpler with a colorful and word-free cover, and fewer and short song titles. The album is highlighted by “Love Is A Spirit”, and the comical “Traffic Light Song” [that guitar hook reminding me of James Gang’s “Funk #49”], and closing with the 8 and a half minute spacey ballad “The Hymn”.
The 3rd and final album was 1973’s Journey. This would be even more experimental and a bit lighter overall than it’s predecessors. Journey would be the first album in history to use a drum machine [performed by Brown]. Plenty of experimental and diverse keyboards [less organ], with 3 tracks clocking in over 8 minutes, there’s definitely less vocals throughout this album, but best pics for me are the last 2 cuts “Spirit Of Joy” [the single, and which would be covered by Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden], and “Come Alive”.
Not sure how these albums sold in the day, but it’s a nice collection of a major period in Arthur Brown’s amazing career. Brown has one of Britain’s most powerful and unique voices, and would’ve been an interesting fit for a number of heavy or heavy blues based bands [see Atomic Rooster, Fleetwood Mac]. He would go on to record many more albums, and appear on other’s albums [see Alan Parson’s Project, Klaus Shulze, Hawkwind, Bruce Dickinson]. In more recent years he is still performing [pre CoVid], and has appeared on stage with Alice Cooper, the Hamburg Blues Band, most recently toured North America as part of the “Royal Affair” package [w/ Yes, Asia, etc..].
Esoteric Recordings is pleased to announce the release of a new boxed set featuring all of the albums recorded by the legendary
ARTHUR BROWN & KINGDOM COME issued between October 1971 and April 1973. The band came together in 1970 following
ARTHUR BROWN’s failed attempt to form a new band upon the disillusion of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown in 1969. Based in rural
Dorset, Arthur had undertaken rudimentary recordings with the bands The Puddletown Express and Rustic Hinge before forming a
new, more satisfactory band KINGDOM COME.
The initial group came together with a line-up of ARTHUR BROWN (vocals), BOB ELLWOOD (guitars), DAVE AMBROSE (bass),
ROB TAIT (drums) and PETE BAILEY (percussion) to record a lengthy jam session in the studio. This tape was impressive enough to
lead to a contract with Polydor Records and the album GALACTIC ZOO DOSSIER was the first album by the band. Issued in October
1971, the album featured Arthur Brown joined by ANDY DALBY (lead guitar / vocals), MICHAEL “GOODGE” HARRIS (keyboards),
DESMOND FISHER (bass), JULIAN BROWN (VCS3 Synthesizer) and MARTIN STEER (drums). The band’s debut album was a conceptual
work loosely based upon the subject of humanity living in a zoo and subject to cosmic forces. As a group, Kingdom Come took the
mantle from where the Crazy World of Arthur Brown had left off, presenting a highly theatrical show which utilized the VCS 3
synthesizer and presented a form of experimental rock music which was far ahead of its time. This led to them becoming a popular
act on the festival circuit (their memorable appearance at the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre was captured in the documentary film of the
For the band’s next album, 1972’s KINGDOM COME, Desmond Fisher departed and was replaced by PHIL SHUTT. The album
was another conceptual work and built upon the impact of their debut. Soon after the album’s release Martin Steer and Goodge
Harris also departed the band. American musician VICTOR PERAINO joined the group on Mellotron, VCS3 and Theramin and Brown
opted to utilize the Bentley Rhythm Ace drum machine instead of a drummer, bringing a new electronic direction to Kingdom Come’s
highly inventive Space Rock. This incarnation of the band recorded their final and finest album in the Autumn of 1972, the highly
influential JOURNEY. Issued in April 1973 the album was a superb conceptual work and featured such legendary material as “TIME
CAPTIVES”, “SPIRIT OF JOY” and “COME ALIVE”. Despite the excellence of the album, KINGDOM COME disbanded soon after the
album’s release leaving an impressive legacy.
This new remastered boxed set features the albums “GALACTIC ZOO DOSSIER”, “KINGDOM COME” and “JOURNEY”, along
with the archive disc “JAM – THE FIRST SESSIONS 1970” and “AT THE BBC 1971-1972” a twelve track CD featuring sessions recorded
for the BBC between March 1971 and September 1972, nine tracks of which are previously unreleased. The set also adds thirteen
bonus tracks (two previously unreleased on CD) taken from studio out-takes and a rare single. Also included is an illustrated booklet
with new essay featuring an exclusive interview with Arthur Brown and a replica poster. “ETERNAL MESSENGER” is a fine tribute to
Arthur Brown, a unique and visionary musician.
• A DELUXE 5 CD BOXED SET FEATURING ALL OF THE ALBUMS BY ARTHUR BROWN & KINGDOM COME
• FEATURING THE ALBUMS “GALACTIC ZOO DOSSIER”, “KINGDOM COME”, “JOURNEY” & THE ARCHIVE RECORDINGS “JAM – THE
FIRST SESSIONS 1970” & “AT THE BBC 1971-1972” (FEATURING NINE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS)
• ALL NEWLY REMASTERED
• WITH THIRTEEN BONUS TRACKS, TWO NEVER ISSUED ON CD, DRAWN FROM STUDIO OUT-TAKES & RARE SINGLES
• INCLUDES AN ILLUSTRATED BOOKLET WITH PHOTOGRAPHS, NEW ESSAY WITH EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ARTHUR BROWN
AND A POSTER.
Matt Ingham at Cherry Red Records