Sunday, October 4, 2009

Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come - Journey (1973)

(UK 1970-73)
If you've been brought up on 1960s psychedelic rock, you've probably heard "Fire", the 1968 classic from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. That band featured Arthur Brown, of course on vocals, as organist Vincent Crane (later of Atomic Rooster) and drummer Carl Palmer (later briefly of Atomic Rooster before joining Emerson, Lake & Palmer, one of the biggest names in prog rock). By 1969, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown was no more. A second album was recorded and scrapped (but later surfaced years later).
So Arthur Brown formed a new band called Kingdom Come (not to be confused with the hard rock band from the 1980s), in which he explored more spacy progressive rock. Kingdom Come released two albums, Galactic Zoo Dossier (1971) and Kingdom Come (1972) before releasing Journey. I have these two albums, which were OK, but 'Journey' really took me by surprise. Brown stated in an interview with an English music magazine that the three albums were intended to present a thematic progression. The first focused on the state of humankind in the present, the second on the human animal itself and the dichotomy between the body and mind, and the third focusing on cosmic and spiritual matters.
.While the Hammond organ dominated the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, the dominant instruments on Journey were the Mellotron, ARP 2600 and VCS-3 synthesizers, with some great guitar work, and no real drums. Arthur Brown uses the Bentley Rhythm Ace drum machine on this album, which sounds like a cheap piece of crap toy (no wonder it took until the 1980s before drum machines were used regularly in recordings), but the totally amazing music makes up for the drum machine being used.
The album opens with "Time Captives" which starts off with the sound of Brown's drum machine, before eventually all the strange electronic effects come in. By the time the vocals come in, the music is totally in progressive space rock territory. The next cut is the instrumental "Triangles", not the most remarkable cut on the album, but the following cut, "Gypsy" totally makes up for that, because it's simply one of the best cuts on the album.
"Supernatural Roadblocks" starts off with some totally amazing use of Mellotron, of the type the Moody Blues could only dream of, before the the music starts. The next cut, "Conception" is largely instrumental, but you get treated with Arthur Brown's terrifying screams from time to time. "Spirit of Joy" is the closest thing to a hit on this album, and, unsurprisingly, the song was released as a single prior to the album's release. The last song, "Come Alive" continues in the same synthesizer dominater prog rock territory, with a great bluesy middle passage with vocals that oddly remind me of Frank Zappa.

A number of factors contributed to the end of Kingdom Come, including mediocre album sales, critical disdain, the revolving door membership of the band, and Brown's frustration with the music business in general. The band dissolved rather than officially breaking up, with Brown citing a desire to play simpler music and opt for a simpler lifestyle in general in later interviews. However, the music that Kingdom Come left behind is certainly worth exploration for progressive rock and psychedelic rock enthusiasts, and stands up well as a part of Arthur Brown's 40-plus year legacy.
After Kingdom Come broke up, Arthur Brown recorded again under his own name. I have his 1975 album 'Dance', but it was a real disappointment (except for a cover of "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place"). So, surprisingly, Arthur Brown gave us much more than The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and "Fire", as 1973's Journey proves. 'Journey' is another classic album, in my book (Some extracts were taken from a review by Ben Miller).
This rip was taken from CD remaster at 192kps and includes full album artwork, along with some publicity photos of Arthur Brown and Kingdom Come. I personally owned  the album back in the 70's but stupidly traded it in for cash - something I've always regretted.
Track Listing
01 - Time Captives
02 - Triangles
03 - Gypsy
04 - Superficial Roadblocks-Lost Time-Corpora Supercelestia
05 - Conception
06 - Spirit of Joy
07 - Come Alive
08 - Spirit of Joy [Bonus - Alternate Take]
Band Members
Arthur Brown: Bentley drum machine, lead vocals
Andy Dalby: Guitar, vocals
Victor Peraino: Mellotron, ARP 2600 and VCS-3 synthesizers, Theramin, piano, percussion, vocals
Phil Shutt: Bass, percussion, vocals
Arthur Brown Kingdom Come Link (78Mb) Link Fixed 04/09/2015

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