Brown, after stints studying law at Kings College London (where his results were less than stellar) and philosophy at Reading University headed to Paris, where adventures involving celebrities, the Paris underworld, allegations of white slavery and drug running brought their own heat.

Back in London Brown found himself living downstairs from Vincent Crane, and his Crazy World came into being, though stories surrounding Brown's adventures on the continent suggested that things in his neck of the woods had been more than a little unbalanced for quite some time. The trio was filled out by drummer Drachen Theaker, who'd allegedly failed to turn up in time for an audition for Jimi Hendrix and was stuck with Mr Brown instead.

Managed by Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp (who were also involved with The Who) and signed to Polydor a single, Devil's Grip, sank without trace due to a vinyl shortage and work started on a follow-up and an album. 

Which brings us back to the organ-driven Prelude/Nightmare, where an almost pastoral beginning (Prelude) takes you into an uptempo Nightmare, aptly named since after an innocuous verse, Brown's vocals take off, swooping and curling around Crane's surging keyboards over a brass section that wouldn't be out of place in an R&B setting. 

A brief Fanfare from the massed brass section takes the listener into a jazzy keyboard riff, which in turns into Fire Poem, allegedly written by Brown during his school years and it certainly reads that way once you take the vocal line out of the picture, but it's a nice lead in to Fire itself.

Listening again forty-two years later the fact that Fire was a substantial hit, even in places like Australia says something about the differences between Top 40 radio back in the day and the situation a little further down the track.

Come and Buy keeps the lyrical themes running, dropping the tempo for the verses and turning it up a notch for the twisting, turning, rolling, burning chorus. Nice vocal rave-up towards the end before Time/Confusion drops the tempo back, and while the lyrics to Time are fairly inconsequential cod-philosophising, it's the performance that, presumably, is what we're there for. 

Crane's keyboards lift the tempo for Confusion, with Brown screeching back to the Fire theme to round out Side One and, presumably the regular live set.


B© Ian Hughes 2012