Album Review: Arthur Brown- Dance (2023 Expanded Reissue)

Aaron ConnMusicLeave a Comment

Arthur Brown Dance

Arthur Brown DanceTwo years after their set devoted to his career with Kingdom Come, Cherry Red Records have come back to the career of Arthur Brown. His 1975 solo effort Dance has recently been remastered and reissued in an expanded form. While the music is different from Brown’s music before, this reissue of Dance has all the bells and whistles: with bonus tracks and a new booklet of liner notes, it’s another solid release from Cherry Red.

A Little Bit of History
By 1975, Arthur Brown had been in music business for a little less than a decade. In 1968, he and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown had a smash hit with the single “Fire.” Despite the success, the original Crazy World band would split a year later, leading to Brown forming a new band called Kingdom Come. With Kingdom Come, Brown would release three studio albums. During this period of time, Brown was dabbling in both the waters of psychedelic rock and progressive rock. After Kingdom Come’s split in 1974, Brown decided to go on as a solo artist. With that, Dance would be the first of several albums Brown would release under his name only.

The Album
With a title like Dance, one might think that the album is a disco album. This is not quite the case: disco wasn’t quite at it’s peak until the late 1970s. Comparing Brown to some of his peers, Dance has sound and feel of David Bowie’s Young Americans album. Given the success Bowie was having with going soulful, some artists were following the same route. Along with that, Brown’s wasn’t quite conventional either. So Dance can be seen as his pop album.  The results? Mixed, at best.

The album starts off with a funk ridden cover of “We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place.” While the original Animals rendition was (and is still seen as) an anthem during the Vietnam War, Brown’s version is confusingly on an album released in a soon-to-be post Vietnam War. Despite the bizarre decision to cover this song, it’s a decent rendition of the song. Still, the track spells out the rest of this album: Dance is a really a hodgepodge of an album: it’s a collection of conventional pop and soul tunes done by an eccentric singer.

Dance starts off pretty decently with its first side. The seven minute “Helen With the Sun” is a space rock epic that could’ve been recorded with Kingdom Come while “Hearts and Minds” sounds like something Cockney Rebel could’ve had a hit with.  Then there’s the R&B flavored “Crazy”, which is another highlight given its quirky nature, complete with saxophones. The weakest spots on Dance, however, can be found on the second side. While it starts off solid with the psychedelic soul of the title track, the album goes downhill from there: there’s the blandness of “Quietly With Tact,” the reggae ridden “Soul Garden” and the gospel driven “The Lord Will Find a Way.” There’s even an awkward cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1966 hit “Out of Time.”  While Brown deserves some kudos for trying something different, it’s just not particularly memorable or special.

Conclusion
Along with the original album, this expanded Dance reissue includes six bonus tracks- all of which are from Brown’s appearance on BBC In Concert in 1975. Along with this, there’s a booklet with liner notes written by Steve Pilkington. While the album is certainly not one of Arthur Brown’s best albums, Cherry Red have given avid music listeners the ultimate Dance experience. This is a release for die-hards only. If you are a die-hard Brown fan, you will enjoy this. If you’re new to the man’s career, don’t start with this one.

 

Album Rating: 5/10
Overall Release: 6/10

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Aaron ConnAlbum Review: Arthur Brown- Dance (2023 Expanded Reissue)