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24 Sep 2016

Arthur Brown “Chisholm In My Bosom”1977 UK

Arthur Brown  “Chisholm In My Bosom”1977 UK
“I just felt an unstoppable need to tell you, on the subway home after work, that "Chisholm in my bosom” indeed is a highly and sadly underappreciated album. I’ve spent the last few weeks in it’s bosom, as it were, and I love it. It is soulful and inspired, especicially the title track. 20 minutes of folkified prog. Brilliant!“ 2013 …… 

Around the same time that Captain Beefheart was being pointlessly made over in an inevitably doomed attempt to render his music more palatable to mainstream audiences, similar moves were afoot to re-imagine Arthur Brown as a “colourful” AOR figure – less of an affront to delicate sensibilities than the demoniacal nuthatch of yore with his head on fire and his cock out. 

Amazingly, it worked: on record, at least. To say that “no one bought it” refers more to the simple fact of audiences failing to shell out for the relevant product rather than refusing to countenance the concept of Brown as a kind of hobo Robert Palmer. Chisholm In My Bosom has actually weathered the passage of time surprisingly well, given that it missed the zeitgeist by several light years on its original 1977 release. Let A Little Sunshine (Into Your Life) and Need To Know are definitive 70s AOR, the latter in particular, with its harmonised, lightly flanged guitar parts, somewhere between Killing Of Georgie-era Rod Stewart and The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver. 

Brown had never been in more supple voice; if Monkey Walk is like The Goodies fronted by a stripper vicar, the meandering 19-minute title track could also be an itinerant Astral Weeks….by Record Collector……. 

Three years on from the dismal Dance album, Arthur Brown resurfaced with what, from all advance warning suggested, was going to prove his long-awaited return to fame – and a reunion with former Crazy World ally Vincent Crane. Chisholm in My Bosom, however, emerged as little more than a gospel-tinged retread of its disappointing predecessor, while Crane himself was evident on just one track. The full reunion was still another two years ahead, and an altogether different album away. Hopefully, one scoured Chisholm in My Bosom in search of excitement, and found it in a terrific version of "I Put a Spell on You.” But, of course, Brown had already executed the definitive reading of that number a decade earlier, on the Crazy World’s debut and, while “Monkey Walk” and “Chisholm in My Bosom” themselves would both reward further listens, still the album itself is one that not only lays unplayed in almost every record collection that harbors it, it lies forgotten as well…by allmusic…… 

The second Arthur Brown solo album is somewhat more interesting then the previous album for the proghead, although one has the worst fears after the first few disco-funk tracks, but then comes a slow blues version (with Vincent Crane of Atomic Rooster on organ) of Screaming Jay Hawkins’s I Put A Spell on You, that does bring chills in the spine but although not like it does in his recent years concerts, where it has become the centrepiece of the show along with Fire. The following track is also of interest, but the first side finishes on a bluesy-soul piece that can almost pass for the real thing mostly because of the Crane- Brown pair! Any experienced progheads will now have noticed, that side 2 is occupied by a 23 min track, and you are wondering why I have not gotten to it yet!! Well of course part of the reason is teasing you to death by writing useless sentences such as this one to say absolutely nothing, dragging on, dilute the context of this review until suddenly I drop (actually Arthur should drop it, not me the poor reviewer) on you the Bomb!! 
Well no such luck, since there is no bomb to explode but it is no wet gunpowder either so a firecracker is a more fitting description. To call this track an epic is maybe pushing it a bit, but there are mellotrons, great synths, a good bass line and great singing and almost everything to please you, but this stays in a minor mode, Brown clearly exploring every corner of his imagination to be imaginative, but the usual madness that we were used to is not really present. But with this track, we are not far away from Kingdom Come, since two ex-members are among the participants, there are some real excellent moments , of course when the mellotrons appear - we are in 1977, sir and those were supposed to be un-hyp! 

Chisholm In My Bosom is definitely a much better album than the previous Dance With, but unfortunately it is still too unfocused (the short tracks on side have nothing in common with the title track) for its own good. Should you choose to investigate this album, be prepared some major ups and down …by progarchives….. 

Arthur Brown is one of those incredibly talented artists who had a brief burst of fame many years ago, and has effectively had to live off it ever since. Arthur’s is, of course, Fire, recorded with his Crazy World in 1968; you’ll probably have seen the insane b+w promo video for it with Arthur’s flaming headpiece. There was much more to Arthur Brown than Fire, though. In the early ‘70s he put together Kingdom Come, to play a weird, twisted form of progressive rock quite unlike anyone else. Their first album, Galactic Zoo Dossier (****) is good, but they improved upon it with Kingdom Come. 

This is definitely one of the oddest prog albums you’ll ever hear, with Arthur expounding on school, religion, his bodily functions etc., mostly at some length. The music takes no prisoners, either, with some wonderfully dissonant organ passages in the brilliantly-titled A Scientific Experiment Featuring “Lower Colonic Irrigation”, among other highlights. The Mellotron isn’t mentioned specifically, but is presumably played by Goodge Harris, with strings slapped all over The Hymn, an otherwise (relatively) straightforward number, and a few chords in Water, but not really enough to consider it a 'Mellotron album’. 

Journey, however, is another matter. Arthur only retained the services of his guitarist and bassist, bringing in American keyboard man Victor Peraino, and electing to use the Bentley drum machine, actually a Bentley Rhythm Ace, later to give its name to a British dance-orientated act. The music is (slightly) less odd than on Kingdom Come, but makes up for it with its weird, mechanical feel, and the large amount of Peraino’s Mellotron present. There’s nothing on the first two tracks, but Gypsy is smothered in strings and flutes, before Superficial Roadblocks roars in with brass and choir providing the main chordal backdrop. This track has to be one of the most Mellotron-heavy ever, with an unaccompanied choir section on Corpora Supercelestia. Spirit Of Joy features that rarest of M400 sounds, the Mellotron Hammond (along with some strings), only distinguishable when Peraino attempts some organ 'chops’. 

Peraino went on to front his own version of Kingdom Come, producing another Mellotron Monster in No Man’s Land, but try as he might, he couldn’t quite reach the heights of lunacy reached by either of these albums. The last I heard, these were both still available on bizarrely-packaged Voiceprint CDs, with loads of unlisted bonus tracks, and Arthur’s story in the booklets, but told in the wrong order… Still, it’s just good to actually be able to find them at all, and hopefully introduce another generation of listeners to the hidden delights of these strange albums. Barking mad, brilliant and wholeheartedly recommended musically. Oh, and Journey’s a Mellotron classic. Buy. …. 

Line-up / Musicians 

- Arthur Brown / vocals 
- Andy Dalby / guitars 
- Rick Kulack / guitars 
- Eugene Dilibero / guitars 
- John McBurnie / guitars 
- Robert Kirby / keyboards 
- Vincent Crane / keyboards 
- Goodge Harris / keyboards 
- Mike Storey / keyboards 
- Phil Curtis / bass guitar 
- D Harper / bass guitar 
- Norman Wattroy / bass 
- Phil Cranham / bass 
- Charlie Charles / drums 
- John Lingwood / drums 
- Steve Holly / drums 
- Morris Pert / percussions 
- Robin James / percussions 
- Tony Uter / percussions 
- Jacquie Sullivan / backing vocals 
- RJ Lange / backing vocals 
- Bobbie McGhee / backing vocals 

Songs / Tracks Listing 

1. Need To Know (3:36) 
2. Monkey Walk (4:32) 
3. Let A Little Sunshine (Into Your Life) (3:30) 
4. I Put A Spell On You (4:11) 
5. She’s On My Mind (3:26) 
6. The Lord Is My Saviour (3:43) 
7. Chisholm In My Bosom (23:00)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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