This is an album I picked up in the early-mid ’80s on one of my trips around Toronto with my Uncle Jim, who lived in Rexdale. He knew where all the shops were, and on a few occasions we’d go up and down Yonge Street, and then off to various other shops within walking distance. So, at that time you could still pick up albums you weren’t familiar with for a dollar or 2, a small gamble but I picked up a lot of gems this way. I had the first Crazy World Of Arthur Brown LP (via my uncle, from a few years earlier), so I was a wee bit familiar with Arthur Brown, but judging by the cover and titles Dance With Arthur Brown would be something very different.
This was Brown’s first post-Kingdom Come album, and although it could still be deemed experimental, Dance With seems a bit more radio accessible for the time, as if Arthur was attempting to get in to the mainstream. It featured 11 tracks, a pair of covers, and a few that would’ve made interesting singles. In fact there were 3 singles. Now signed to Gull Records (part of the Motown group) may be a sign of Arthur’s new direction, with elements of soul, r & b, gospel, all can be found on this album. Gull also released the first few Judas Priest albums during this era. Dance With was preceded by a single in late ’74 – “Gypsies” bw/ “Dance”. The A-side was a non-LP track, penned by Naaman (anyone?). A shame this one is not on youtube, though Arthur Brown’s re-recording of it is, as he re-did the song for his 2007 album The Voice Of Love (as The Amazing World Of Arthur Brown). The single was produced by Brown, himself, but the album would be produced by the legendary Rodger Bain who was better known for the heavier bands he produced like Black Sabbath and Budgie. Dance With featured a number of players, notably guitarist Andy Dalby (from Kingdom Come), and keyboardist Pete Solley (ex Paladin, Snafu), as well as a few backing singers – Fuzzy, Stevie, and Mutt! Stevie was Stevie Lange who later appeared with a number of acts in the 70s , notably The Sweet, Graham Bonnet and Elton John, while Mutt (Lange) went on to produce tons of bands over the next few decades, notably AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Foreigner. Anyway,…. Dance With Arthur Brown came out in May of ’75, it received mixed reviews (of the few I could find), Although there’s no face-paint, costumes, or cosmic cover art, the cover is a bit humorous with 2 torn photos of Brown dancing with a female partner in formal wear (from a different era), while the back cover includes all the songwriting and performance credits, and a regular photo of Brown and lyrics to just 3 songs.
Gull released 2 further singles, in a few countries – “We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place” b/w the non-LP track “Here I Am” in July of ’75, and then “Out Of Time” b/w “The Lord Will Find A Way” (penned by bass player Lee Robinson). The 2nd single seemed to only be issued in New Zealand and Australia. I actually like both of these covers, as the production seems lively, but find it odd that the album’s 2 covers were the only singles, as there were a few others that would’ve made excellent choices, such as “Helen With The Sun” and the title track (as a A side!). And I hear saxophone on “Out Of Time”, but don’t see it in the credits…(!?) The rest of the album includes a few styles, such as “Crazy” with it’s cabaret approach, “Soul Garden” with it’s reggae beat, and closing “Is There Nothing Beyond God?”, which – with it’s 1 line repeated throughout is kind of a chant put to some decent guitar, bass and drums.
Both Dance With Arthur Brown and it’s follow up Chisholm In My Bosom (which I don’t have.. yet) seem scarce (and pricey) on CD. Both were released together in 1995 on See For Miles Records (UK), in ’95, and since then only in Japan. A proper release of both of these albums – complete with bonus tracks, would be nice after so many years, and while Arthur Brown is getting long overdue press and praise with the release of the Eternal Messenger (An Anthology) CD box last year And his brilliant new album Long Long Road.