Mott the Dog: Arthur Brown – Monster’s Ball

A very apt picture perfect album cover for Monster’s Ball.

5 Stars

The short way of describing this album is Arthur Brown Sings Halloween Hits.

But there is so much more to this glorious romp, so much fun. There is also a fine selection of cover songs nothing obvious, but delving back into the 50’s and 60’s.

This is an Arthur Brown album for sure, but a firm hand on the tiller is provided by Alan Davey (Ex Hawkwind and so much more.) who has kept the production seat warm and co-written with the originals. Like Alan Davey’s marvelous Hawkestral albums this fits the bill perfectly.

The list of guest musicians brought in, is quite sumptuous. Some of their inclusion here leaves you in no doubt that sadly these recordings have been made over years, stretching back to at least 2015. But that should not stop you from enjoying this fine collection featuring the talents of Roye Albrighton, Ian Paice of Deep Purple , Steve Hillage ,James Williamson of Stooges fame, Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge, Gilli Smith, Alan Davey himself, Nik Turner, Brian Auger, Carmine Appice, Rat Scabies from the Damned, Shuggie Otis, Jordan Rudess plus many more . It comes out as the glorious soundtrack of a ride on a Ghost Train.

2 Arthur Brown in full flight hanging onto the witches’ broomstick.

But of course the Star of the show is the man himself Arthur Brown, Also known as the God Of Hellfire from his first hit Fire which launched his career, (There is a fine new over the top version of Fire in here too as the central axis to the album.) the prototype for Alice Cooper, Kiss, and all the other bands that have slapped on the makeup and jumped on the Shock Rock wagon. But at the age of 80 it’s still Brown’s commanding voice that dominates proceedings. It’s as fine now as it has ever been an operatic voice, with a full range of emotions.

The arrangements of the songs is well thought out , Tom Wait’s Whistlin’ Past The Graveyard , starts out full of sleaze before building to a full hard rock work out ,on which you can feel Brown leaping and yelping about .

The album opens with a completely rearranged Lucifer Sam from Pink Floyd’s early daze. The bass thunders along, before Uncle Arthur comes in to explain proceedings like a weird professor from Hogwarts on sabbatical. A total freak out.

Screaming Ball starts with demon organ, and a chilling guffaw from deep within Artur Brown’s soul. Then it just rocks, ripping guitar solo with an uptempo beat, a ghouls disco rampage.

Story time with Arthur Brown. Jackanory at Halloween.

Cream’s I Feel Free gets the full treatment. Bucket of Blood will have the monsters leaping from their coffins, watch out for your toes to be stepped on. Zombie Yelp is a Brown original, so good it fits in delightfully with its setting amongst so many scary classics. The collage of vocals and saxophone is a true high point.

Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard is just so suited to Arthur Brown’s talents I am actually surprised he hasn’t recorded this before.

The new version of Fire is a proper rebirth, faithful to the original, but delightfully souped up, with the vocals given full leash.

Everything and Everyone is Rockin’ at the Monster Hop with Arthur Brown name dropping all his friends, Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, Wolfman and his Zombie Gang.

Curse of the Hearse is such a great title. For those of you that like blood curdling screams the opening here will satisfy all your needs. The song howls on through.

Just say Ahhhh.

Mad Witch is a great obscure cover to give a fresh ride on its musical broomstick.

The Vampire is a chant exposing those who like the taste of blood.

Late Last Night opens in epic style with some cultured guitar, before you are read a sermon, giving a nice Progressive Rock feel to the tune.

The album closes with a bonus track of Jordan Rudess tribute to the late great Keith Emerson on Karen Evil #9. 1st Impression Part 2. A fine way to heavily bring proceedings to a close. Keith would have been pleased.

So 2022 has seen two fine releases from Arthur Brown. First we had the luxury of an all new studio album in Long Long Road. (Reviewed somewhere else in these pages.) and now we also have this fine romp. A Diamond year for Arthur Brown fans.

Arthur Brown in all his glory.

Lucifer Sam (Originally by Pink Floyd) Featuring Ian Paice and Steve Hillage
Screaming Ball (At Dracula’s Hall) (Originally by The Duponts)
I Feel Free (Originally by Cream) Featuring James Williamson and Rat Scabies.
Bucket O’ Blood (Originally by Big Boy Groves) Featuring Nik Turner.
Zombie Yelp (Arthur Brown) Featuring Roye Albrighton, and Mark Stein,
Whistlin Past The Graveyard (Originally by Tom Waits) Featuring the Sinclair’s.
Fire (Arthur Brown) Featuring James Williamson, Carmine Appice, and Brian Auger.
The Monster Hop (Originally by Bert Convey) Featuring Shuggie Otis.
Curse Of The Hearse (Originally by Terry Teene)
Mad Witch (Originally by Dave Gardner)
The Vampire (Originally by Archie King) Featuring The Coffin Daggers,
Late Last Night (Originally called The Boogie Man by The Cadillacs) Featuring Steve Hillage, Roye Albrighton, Gilli Smith, and Joel Vandroogenbroeck!
Karn Evil #9 First Impression, Part 2 ( Based on the version originally by Emerson, Lake and Palmer) Featuring Jordan Rudess.

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A rather startled colorful Arthur Brown.

I told you setting your head on Fire during your signature song would not help the hairline.
Arthur Brown with his Angel, but still with a Monster.

And unaccredited on lead guitar.
The dramatic Halloween picture for the cover of Monster’s Ball.