Rock Around the Worid November, 1976   19

In an attempt to make the numbeirifaine Int#frusic more dillestible, we've developed the RAIW Exposure Index.

Basically, it's a combination o Idiferages from an a4min'sr"chtirt position, radio airplgy, and retail action; too -   ,

often, the only peoifte ho see,   are peopk-'m the business who 0 them alltOo frequently, while the fan

, 4   - , 4 4 <, . ,   e .., ,

on the street doesp   ISM impugn to get any use from them.

With t      Poltire Index, that's changed. Operating under a hrmula that oes like this; El -- (Average
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chart sition for month) - 0 (% radio stations playing the record - % refail,,res reporting heavy sales   -the record), it becomes possible 0 ,tettra number one record.

It's a little lay go4fir where youtcombinittitvmgpchipping and putting with the low score

Here, you combine avg. chart position, radio airplay and retail action, mid thelowest E4 `iyine. aearton . . .

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(being a series devoted to albums. both foreign and domestic, that were either neglected upon release, never released in this country, or are noteworthy because of the early musical associations contained therein)

Arthur Brown is the most attention-riveting performer I have ever witnessed. His very presence demanded constant, strong reactions. The only other performer who has come even

close to this level of center gravity is Peter Gabriel. but Peter doesn't project the innately powerful being of Arthur Brown. Arthur (born Arthur Wilton on 24. June, 1944--the same date as Jeff Beck, by the by). grabbed the record industry by the jugular in 1967 with 'Fire,' a song,of such intensity and anarchy that it was impossible to ignore. 'Fire' roared up the charts quickly, and a resulting album today remains a paid-up member of the "Legendary Record Club." Every track on it oozes with ominous atmospheres, subterranean funk and Druidic incantations; there simply was nothing to compare it to.

Arthur Brown was taken under the wing of the '0o, where great interest abounded. Pete Townshend and Kit Lambert co-produced the 'Crazy World' album, while Roger Daltrey was greatly taken by Arthur's five-octave vocal range. Last year, Roger told me he considered it tragic that Arthur wasn't more well known, and that it had been his admiration for Arthur that helped get him a part in 'Tommy.'

Arthur responded to this attention with an
album that could literally frighten/disgust peo-
ple. (My mother could never take this one when

I played it at home.) The Crazy World that Arthur assembled was definitely not short of talent. Vincent Crane held down the keyboards, defined the sound, and arranged the orchestral pieces; later he would form Atomic Rooster. Carl Palmer was the hyperactive drummer (a mere 19 at the time). who used to squirt lighter fluid on his cymbals and light them before moving on to ELI'. and journeyman Nicholas Greenwood played bass. Together, they provided a sturdy musical framework from which Arthur could hang his demonisms.

The album opens with a dirge-like refrain from the string section and passes into 'Nightmare,' a high-speed, organ-dominated (as are most songs) number that introduces the awesome voice of Arthur Brown. Soaring, swooping, screeching, imploring, his lyrics and delivery always equal instant spine-freeze. 'Fire Poem' follows a short Fanfare with a story that sets the stage for 'Fire.' The song explodes out of the grooves as easily today as nine years ago. By then, they've gotcha. and the rest of the album simply overwhelms you. 'Come And Buy' offers a bargain basement from Lucifer, and '1 Put A Spell On You' does Screamin' Jay

Hawkins proud; Jay, by the way, was a very large influence on Arthur, both in philosophy and stage presence.

'Fire Poem' and 'Spontaneous Apple Creation' feature sparse instrumentation supporting Arthur as he incants words in a kind of off-beat poem. On stage. this worked most effectively, as it allowed Arthur to preach to his audience. His stage show was brilliant, years ahead of its time. Combining smoke, fire, ultraviolet strobes, multi-colored strobes, and various sound effects, the Crazy World resembled a mobile asylum. Arthur developed this system with a visionary named Les, who later created light shows for Pink Floyd, Genesis and presently Camel. On New Year's Eve, 1967, I saw this group of theatre misfits literally frighten half an audience into leaving the hall-rapidly. They were overpowering, no mercy shown. The audience wasn't there to be entertained-they were there seemingly by directive from Arthur Brown, like vassals. A unique power.

There never was a second 'Crazy World . . album. Tour pressures split the band in early 1968; in a way, given the emotional pitch of the first album, perhaps it's just as well.

- Jim Kozlowski

"The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" Track SD 8198

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