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Kingdom Come - Journey

Review: 187
Date: 30 Jul 04

 


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians:
Spacemen on this Journey
Arthur Brown - Bentley the Drum Machine and Vocals
Andy Dalby - Electric Guitar
Phil Shutt - Bass and Percussion
Victor Peraino - Melotron, Piano, Synthesizer, Theramin, Percussion, and various other wind and bubble makers

Tracks Listing:
Time Captives
Triangles
Gypsy
Superficial Roadblocks
Conception
Spirit of Joy
Come alive

 


After just one album and two hit singles (the first of which was the number one hit 'Fire', the other one 'Nightmare', which was just as disturbing, but fared less well), the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown imploded in the middle of their first American tour. During their stage show Arthur Brown used to arrive on stage with his head on fire, wearing long flowing gowns weaving round the stage like some demented dervish. He was backed on stage by Vincent Crane on keyboards and Carl Palmer on drums, who at the demise of the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown went on to form Atomic Rooster. Carl Palmer only lasted one album with the Rooster before going on to the diamond studded drum stool with first 'Emerson, Lake, and Palmer' and then 'Asia’. Vincent Crane obviously brought in replacements and found his own way to rock ‘n’ roll stardom with Rooster.

For Arthur Brown it was two years in litigation before he was allowed to carry on his career, but when he did it was in stunning fashion under the group banner name of Kingdom Come. First there were two wonderfully eccentric albums in "Galactic Zoo Dossier" and the self titled "Kingdom Come" with its glorious tales of traffic lights, whirlpools, and teachers; both were released in 1972. Before the following years "Journey", arguably Brown's finest hour.

To say that the line-up fluctuated somewhat is a bit of an understatement. From the first album only Andy Dalby on lead guitar was still in the band, and when fourth drummer Chris Burrows left after the first album, the band dispensed with a drummer altogether. All the rhythm work was done by Bentley, a homemade drum machine, which Brown operated both in the studio and on the live stage. This was not a fact the band tried to hide in anyway as by the time this wonderful album was recorded, Bentley had been moved up to the very front of the mix. (If only Spinal Tap had thought of this, perhaps one day they will. It would make a wonderful headline, "Electric Drum machine killed in bizarre gardening accident”.)

Having an electronic member in the band made perfect sense. It was not possible that any of the others came from planet Earth. You only have to listen to the eerie keyboards of the man who actually spoke less than the drummer Victor Peraino to verify this.

The bass playing of Phil Shutt is hypnotically heavy throughout. Andy Dalby's guitar playing was always the perfect foil to Arthur Brown's crystal clear vocal delivery. When you listen to the songs on this album you cannot help but wonder why Arthur Brown is not mentioned in the same breath as other leading English vocalists such as Paul Rogers and Joe Cocker.

To see this band acting out their songs on the live stage at the beginning of the seventies was a sight to behold, giving real meaning to a stage show. The band would arrive on stage with all their faces painted gold. Then Arthur Brown would wind up Bentley, thumping out a slow heavy beat, which would be the sign for the opening of 'Time Captives'. This song always opened the set in the band’s later years, and on this album. As the beat starts to speed up, Phil Shutt picks up the beat before being joined by Andy Dalby and Victor Peraino, leading to Arthur Brown’s unworldly vocals.

The songs that follow do not disappoint with the musicianship of the finest order. In the genre of Progressive Space Rock, this ranges up there with the finest. (Pink Floyd's Meddle and Hawkwind's Warrior On The Edge Of Time come to mind as other fine albums of their ilk.)This album bears repeated listening, because the closer you get your ears, the more you discover. If you would like to listen to something out of the traditional rock avenues, may I suggest a trip into the eccentric thoughts of Arthur Brown and his spacemusos on this fine collection and take a 'Journey'.

 

Launched by Mott The Dog
Re-entered by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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