Psych and Prog

Arthur Brown “The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown” (1968)

Occasionally, screaming out of two scant seconds of dead FM radio silence, would be “I AM THE GOD OF HELL FIRE, and I give you FIRE!” Terrified, before the first phrase of the song’s riff was finished, I’d jump up and turn off the radio. Um, it WAS the mid ’70s and, being a kid easily creeped out, I truly believed Arthur Brown WAS the god of hell fire! He, and his big CREEPY voice… it’s possessing as it IS possessed…, was coming after ME! It haunted me, if ever I thought about evil things (um, clowns mostly) that song, that VOICE, provided the soundtrack. Eventually, I got over being honestly freaked out, it was just theatrics (RIGHT?!). Now “The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown” is one of my favorite ’60s albums. The A side is a wicked psychedelic concerto of swirling Hammond organ, thundering drums and Mr. Browns big BAD voice… which gives me shivers, still. –Nipper

Mighty Baby “Mighty Baby” (1969)

Most of the members of Mighty Baby began in The Action, a Scouse soul/R&B group, and slowly evolved, as their hair and beards grew and thier minds expanded, into Mighty Baby. Mighty, indeed!

This is a great album of solid easy groovin’ by English boys assimilating American psychedelic West Coast sounds. Full of heady, reserved guitar fills/leads, harmonies… and that Hammond! Sheesh! –Nipper

Gandalf “Gandalf” (1969)

This is late period, super dreamy sike from Jersey! Gandalf sounds a bit like if Nick Drake were in the Zombies, but where Nick Drake can be uplifting and the Zombies’ always turn your frown upside down, Gandalf instills a terse, creepy tense sense of melancholy. Though it doesn’t feel self conscious in it’s “moody,” they balance mood without overstating creepy and sad. Of course, I don’t know if they were trying to be dark, but it works…almost too well. That said, the band has said given the chance they mixed the album heavier, as they were heavier live, but due to label interference they weren’t invited to the mixing sessions…fine by me, this LP ought not be fixed. It ain’t broke. –Nipper

Kraftwerk “Autobahn” (1974)

A hugely important record that saw Krautrock outfit Kraftwerk switch direction and ditch the sound of the time for the sound of the future. It was to prove a great move as some of the records that followed this landmark LP were stunning. But what of Autobahn? Well it is always going to be talked about for the title track which was like nothing else of its time. Taking up the whole side of an LP but totally removed from most music coming out of the Krautrock scene and relying on a simple groove and trance-like quality to keep the attention. It’s still too long in my opinion and could have done with ten minutes shaving off but it is a classic for sure. This is of course the LP where the electronics start to take over and side 2 sees Hutter and Shneider really starting to experiment with mixed results. It is almost as they are learning about their new sounds and toys while in the studio. It doesn’t really work that well to be honest but does lay the foundation for the likes of The Man Machine & Computer World. –Jon