Arthur Brown recently celebrated his 80th birthday with the release of his brand new album Long Long Road. The legendary British singer may be best known as some sort of one-hit wonder for his classic 1968 hit “Fire”, released as The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Over the decades he released many albums that may have missed the mainstream charts, but he built a loyal following of those who appreciate his often experimental directions , sounds, mystique, theatrics, and his distinctive, powerful voice. He’s been a huge influence on many, most notably Alice Cooper (who took up the make-up and theatrics) and Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. I would think Rob Halford would’ve been a fan as well. Interestingly, Brown – who’s also big on blues here delivered a killer version of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi” several years ago that is well worth searching out… But anyway…. at 80, Arthur Brown can still perform, his voice is still powerful, and he (along with collaborator Rik Patten) can still create great new and interesting music.
Musically, the keyboards and other instrumentation here have that psychedelic feel, progressive, (as said) bluesy in places, and lyrically imaginative and often timely, as with the light and feel-good title track. Simply some awesome songs here, wide ranging, yet all flowing together nicely. “Once I Had Illusions” (part one & two) – 2 separate tracks, with the first version being lighter instrumentally and more haunting, the second take being more heavy blues guitar based – both outstanding! The title track (as mentioned) is easily likeable song, as is the lighter blues of “I Like Games”. There’s also the slower paced blues-psych rock of “Shining Brightness” (reminds me a bit of “Roadhouse Blues”), lead off track “Gas Tanks” which rocks hard with heavy guitar & organ, and a lighter break with a bit of piano and flute, and the Hammond driven “Going Down”.
I do not know how Arthur’s previous latter day solo albums compare (some catching up to do), but seeing as this one seems to be getting a good deal of attention, I think this one is a career high point – And at 80! The man still has it, and not just the voice, writing abilities, and the whole theatrical act, but he still seems to have the drive and passion as it shows in the new album, as well as the accompanying videos, and his forthcoming tour schedule. Great cover shot of the mask / fire helmet.
from Press Release / Bio:
WHO IS ARTHUR BROWN?
Pretty much everyone into rock music knows ARTHUR BROWN. Be it via listening to or watching The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” or spending time with The Alan Parsons Project’s classic debut album “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”, most people have encountered Arthur – even if they might not have realized it.
Yet when it comes to THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN’s iconic, career-defining 1968 transatlantic hit single ‘Fire’, everybody knows that this is Arthur – the self-proclaimed God of Hellfire!
But, we are getting ahead of ourselves, when we really ought to start with Arthur’s new full-length masterpiece “Long Long Road”.
Wild, vibrant, and crammed with rich musical textures, his new album is quintessentially ARTHUR BROWN, and can easily be construed as the apex and summary of a fascinating career that has spanned no fewer than seven decades.
Scheduled for release on Arthur’s 80th birthday on June 24, “Long Long Road” effortlessly shifts from progressive rock and soul to pristine blues rock, with the much-loved singer summoning his full vocal range with a mature mastery that comes only with the experience of a lifetime.
Make no mistake; ARTHUR BROWN is a true rock legend – luckily, one whose star still burns very brightly, making audiences’ jaws drop whenever he takes to the stage.
Born in 1942, this outstanding vocalist and pioneering performer has recently been experiencing a renaissance. Arthur’s ground-breaking work over several decades was honored at the 2019 Prog Awards, when he received the Visionary Artist Award. In 2021, Arthur was given an HRH Legend Award that celebrates the best of British rock music. Prior to these, Classic Rock magazine bestowed a “Showman Award” on Arthur in 2005. This renewed attention by fans, media and peers in the autumn of his artistic endeavors can be recognized as a long-overdue tribute to an iconic musician, similar to that enjoyed by JOHNNY CASH late in his expansive career.
ARTHUR BROWN‘s legacy has been long appreciated by fellow musicians, writers and dedicated rock fans far beyond the vast shadow cast by his gigantic number 1 hit single ‘Fire’. The iconic track from his 1968 album “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” still maintains its mesmerizing power with audiences and peers today. At the same time, it could be argued that the omnipresence of ‘Fire’ has partly obscured Arthur’s many outstanding accomplishments over the 54 years since its release.
To understand the massive impact and influence of ARTHUR BROWN‘s wild stage persona, flamboyant theatrical performances, and charismatic multi-octave voice, one only needs to listen to these rock icons:
“Without Arthur Brown there would be no Alice Cooper.” ALICE COOPER
“Now there’s a man who was ahead of his time.” ELTON JOHN
“Arthur Brown was a big influence of mine… Arthur Brown has the voice of death.” Bruce Dickinson, IRON MAIDEN
“Arthur Brown is as much a dancer as he is a singer.” Pete Townshend, THE WHO
“I owe a lot to Arthur Brown; he gave me the confidence to come out of my shell, so to speak. In other words, let it go, banish my inhibitions, forget about formulaic deliveries, loosen up and be myself.” Ian Gillan, DEEP PURPLE
ARTHUR BROWN is widely recognized as a pioneer of shock rock and progressive rock, and a significant influence on heavy metal. His live performances include iconic classics, dance, poetry, visuals and a subliminal soundtrack of new electronic music. Whenever he plays, Arthur still brings the dramatically elegant and always extravagant style that he established as the gold standard onstage.
During his long and distinguished career, Arthur has been the lead singer of various groups, most notably THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN and KINGDOM COME, along with a cameo in the cult film “Tommy”, in which his dramatic vocals were backed by ERIC CLAPTON and THE WHO. Collaborations include the debut album of THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, DAVID GILMOUR, THE PRODIGY, BRUCE DICKINSON, THE STRANGLERS, KULA SHAKER, DIE KRUPPS, and many more.
With each note on “Long Long Road”, ARTHUR BROWN makes the impressive statement that he remains as authentic, challenging, creative, and compelling as he was at his career’s fiery beginning. This record is not a swansong, but the thrilling beginning of the final phase of an utterly singular career.
1. Gas Tanks
2. Coffin Confession
3. Going Down
4. Once I Had Illusions (Part 1)
5. I Like Games
6. Shining Brightness
7. The Blues and Messing Round
8. Long Long Road
9. Once I Had Illusions (Part 2)
Arthur Brown – vocals, guitars, piano
Rik Patten – multiple instruments
Recording at Sonic Scoops Studios UK
Produced by Arthur Brown with Rik Patten
Arrangements by Arthur Brown and Rik Patten
Mix & engineering by Rik Patten
Mastering by Marc Urselli
Artwork by Laurie Avon
Photography and imagery by Harvey Waller
Layout & design by Jean Valnoir Simoulin
“Long Long Road” is available as a box set including a 48-page hardcover 2CD artbook, a gatefold 180g orange marble vinyl-LP, a bonus 7″ vinyl single, a wall flag, 4 30×30 cm art prints, and a certificate of authenticity personally signed and hand-numbered by Arthur Brown. The 2CD artbook is also available separately and includes liner-notes by Arthur Brown, enhanced artwork and photography, and two exclusive studio recordings. “Long Long Road” is furthermore available on black 180g vinyl LP, on transparent red 180g vinyl LP, and as a Digipak CD.