Arthur Brown, “Zim Zam Zim” from Zim Zam Zim (2014): One Track Mind

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How many rockers who scored hits in the ’60s are still making music today? Paul McCartney? Eric Clapton? Bob Dylan? Put the one and only Arthur Brown in that category.

The God of Hellfire who rocketed to fame in 1968 was never able to follow up on his combustible The Crazy World of Arthur Brown debut LP and it’s No. 2 hit “Fire,” but he never completely went away, either. We last caught up with him in 2008 when he released the much calmer but much overlooked The Voice of Love, credited to “The Amazing World of Arthur Brown” (emphasis mine).

Earlier this year, Brown’s next album finally arrived. Zim Zam Zim comes with the original “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” moniker, which signals the old, wild ‘n’ wooley Arthur Brown is back — and indeed, he’s full of more piss and vinegar than on Voice, but it’s more of the Tom Waits variety.

Brown’s melodramatic voice is the constant, amidst an album that’s slightly askew and yet oddly bewitching in a different way on each track. It’s all tied into Brown’s spiritual quest, and he’s found his fulfillment in the “formless depths of Zim Zam Zim.” He makes that known on the title track that initiates this album, where his “Fire” persona comes alive amid of a throng of saxophones and jungle chants.

He never mentioned the word “fire,” but you can feel the heat nonetheless.

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