I think it’s safe to say that you never quite know what you are going to get from Arthur Brown. From The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown‘s psychedelic debut album and its 1968 landmark single ‘Fire’ (who can forget that Top Of The Pops appearance?) or his totally spacey concept led releases with Kingdom Come through to his work with Hawkwind and their associated members amongst many other collaborations right through to his recent rock centred releases Long Long Road and Monster’s Ball both release in 2022. However back in 1975 I don’t think anybody was expecting his first solo release to be quite like the rather appropriately titled Dance. Originally planned as a showcase for various forms of dance music from around the world by the time of its release Dance had become something less focused and more of a hotchpotch of genres which led to a slightly bazaar mix of styles.
This latest seventeen track remastered edition opens with the single release from the album, a bouncing version of the Animals ‘We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place’ a promising start before the progressive ‘Helen With The Sun’ takes on a similar direction to Bowie’s ‘Wild Is The Wind’ (which was released twelve months later). ‘Take A Chance’ does exactly that as Steve Yorke funks up the bass and Brown’s screaming vocal is carried over George Kahn’s saxophone. The real curveballs begin when ‘Crazy’ hits the speakers with its big band vibe which is followed by the light reggae beats and castanets of ‘Hearts And Minds’ a sound that returns later with ‘Soul Garden’ which contains the full roots treatment from Toots and the Maytals who supply backing. The title track has a slow salsa groove with Arthur in full Tom Jones mode. Jagger/ Richards ‘Out of Time’ made famous by Chris Farlowe is next to get the full blown Brown treatment and he is certainly up to the task especially with the addition of E-Street style sax courtesy of Khan. ‘Quietly With Tact’ seems a little light weight despite Kingdom Come bandmate Andy Dalby’s attempts to lift his co-write (with Leslie Adey Kingdom Come’s lighting tech) from the doldrums with some spirited guitar. You can almost hear Brown scratching his head thinking “what style haven’t I covered yet?” before he breaks into the throws of ‘The Lord Will Find A Way’. All driving bass and gospel choirs in fact bar the Hallelujahs we get the full package including James Brown screams. ‘Is There Nothing Beyond God’ is a much more simple refrain which returns to the reggae theme to close out the album proper. As a bonus on this new edition you’ll find the short BBC Radio One In Concert from 23rd April 1975 which contains six tracks from the accompanying album best of which is the bands live version of ‘We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place’ in overdrive and a typically quirky version of ‘Crazy (About My Baby)’.
Notwithstanding the patchiness of Dance Brown has always been and still is ahead of his time, an innovator and although nowhere near a prolific will possibly be viewed alongside the likes of Zappa, Rundgren and even Bowie in years to come. With copies of the eleven track Dance CD selling for upwards of £20 online this is a great time for Arthur Brown fans to pick up a copy (with bonuses) for a great value price. Over the years Arthur Wilton Brown has appeared besides a wide range of musical friends Ian Paice, Carl Palmer, Bruce Dickinson, Rats Scabies, Nik Turner and Steve Hillage amongst them and many of those musicians joined him on his most recent release (Monster’s Ball). Besides continuing to release challenging studio material The God Of Hellfire is still out there wowing audiences with dates booked well in to 2024. Catch him if you can.
- Reviewed By Peter Brockwell.
- Dance: Expanded & Remastered Edition is released via Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records on 27th October 2023.
- Official Website / Facebook / YouTube
- Track List:
1. We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place
2. Helen With The Sun
3. Take A Chance
5. Hearts And Minds
7. Out of Time
8. Quietly With Tact
9. Soul Garden
10. The Lord Will Find A Way
11. Is There Nothing Beyond God
Bonus tracks – BBC Radio One In Concert 23rd April 1975
12. We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place
14. Crazy (About My Baby)
15. Take A Chance
16. The Lord Will Find A Way
17. Is There Nothing Beyond God