Arthur Brown

Dance

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By the mid-'70s, Arthur Brown had spent some six years operating so far below the radar that many people who remembered his "Fire" chart-topper could easily be excused for thinking he'd vanished altogether. Of course, aficionados knew he'd been busy elsewhere, scouring the progressive underground with Journey and Kingdom Come, and fans of those projects were nonplussed indeed when Brown suddenly reappeared in the mainstream, turning up on the Saturday morning British TV pop program Supersonic to plug his latest single. Resplendent in gold wellies, Brown drew the Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" to new heights of dementia -- the single itself was ultimately a flop, but the performance was killer, and all ears were open for the album that followed, Dance. Unfortunately, they quickly closed back up again, as the LP was revealed not as the long-awaited second coming of the "God of Hell Fire," but as a lackluster mingling of, indeed, dancey rhythms and dirgey ditties, a dry, dull collection that swept every last iota of Brown's past reputation aside in search of an elusive commercialism. Brown himself had promised beforehand that he intended what would later be considered a "world music" album, absorbing dance rhythms from across the globe, but that plan appears to have dissipated once he got into the studio, and only one further track demanded the listener's attention, as Brown linked with Toots & the Maytals for the tumultuous "Soul Garden." Elsewhere, however, there are few highlights and even fewer tracks you might return to later. Quite simply, alongside its equally ill-conceived follow-up, Chisholm in My Bosom, it is the sound of desperation grinding against redundancy.

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