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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 14 March 2016
Had this on vinyl way back in the day. It's a flawed masterpiece - but then a lot of the best albums are. Grief, what you could do with this today if you had the multi-track master... chuck it into your computer and spend a few weeks editing and mixing. So, one has to remember that this was made in 1973 before all the fancy audio tech we have to play with now.

As an aside - this is *the* first album to have a drum machine play all of the rhythm parts. The machine in question was call a "Bentley Rhythm Ace" and was made by the company that became the giant Roland Corporation - in many ways the Ace was the forerunner to the 808 and 909 drum machines that have dominated the electro house / acid /edm scene since the mid 80's to the present. It was pretty primitive though!

Some of the themes definitely got 'nicked' by Hawkwind.

Your not here for a music history lesson ..... :)

So, hey, as it stands, it has some brilliant moments and Arthur Browns voice is in superb form. Some of the motifs encased in this release are proper 'ear worms'.
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on 12 December 2015
i have missed vinyl albums love the sounds
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on 13 April 2016
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on 23 April 2015
bring back happy days
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on 18 November 2014
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on 13 April 2013
Ah, good old Barmy Arthur! Mad as a box of Frogs but twice as musical!
Where to start on this journey? Well, young Mr Brown rather tired of the limitations of drummers - inability to keep time, always down the pub, IQ of 5 - got in the services of an early Drum Machine here - the Bentley Rhythm Ace, and a darn fine job he does of it too, I must say. Better still keyboard player Victor Periano brings his Mellotron with him and plasters copious quantities of it all over. Nice.
Young Mr Brown himself happens to be one of the great VOICES of British Rock, if he'd given himself over to the chicken in a basket(case) circuit he'd have been a household name and the owner of a larger collection of Granny Trolleys than Tom Jones, but croonings loss is our gain.
Favourites for me are Time Captives and huge hit single that never was Spirit of Joy. But ask me another day and my choice will be different!
If you like your Rock then this is an essential addition to your collection. Trust me!

So, BUY! You won't regret it!
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1972's `Journey' was the third and final album from Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come project, and is in many ways the most coherent and accessible of the three. It also has a completely different sound from not only its two predecessors, but from anything else recorded in this era: it would be 10 years before any other recorded music began to sound like this.

When drummer Martin Steer left the band, Brown chose to replace him with the Bentley Rhythm Ace drum machine, which he learned to operate himself and even `played' onstage (the absence of a drum kit would have liberated a lot of space in the touring van, plus you don't need to pay a drum machine's wage or beer bill). The heavily synth-and-mellotron based music the band builds around the Bentley is excellent, with Andy Dalby's electric guitar adding real soul to the soundscape over which Brown's dominant, operatic baritone creates memorable music with majesty and power.

Highlights are the long intro-track `Time Captives' which features minor-key vocal harmonies over a powerful, arresting space-rock groove; the 3-part `Superficial Roadblocks' where Dalby takes over the lead vocal, and the surprisingly upbeat `Spirit of Joy' which would have made an excellent hit single. The whole album gels together well, and is light years away from its messy and chaotic immediate predecessor.

Arthur Brown took a hiatus from the music industry for several years following `Journey'. His personal journey has often produced interesting music (he's still touring in 2015), but rarely anything as groundbreaking or original as this 1972 oddity.
2 people found this helpful
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on 9 May 2010
This was Arthur Brown's third and final Kingdom Come album, and is entirely different in many ways from its two predecessors. It is a lot easier to digest for a start, there are more regular tempos and extended codas here. For the first time is an album based around the drum machine (operated by Brown) instead of a human counterpart. The reasons for this are unclear but it would certainly mean there was more room in the tour van and it didn't drink all beer like the real thing. Obviously these days it does sound a little quaint, but it's nowhere near as basic as it could have been, being the Bentley Rhythm Ace, a drum machine so great that a 90's band named themselves after it. Luckily the material built around it is superb, coherent and well executed and represents Brown's finest hour certainly since the debut Crazy World album.

As well as the drum machine, there are major developments on the keyboard front with those twin staples of all things cosmic the Mellotron and the VCS3 synthesizer at the forefront and there is an inevitable gravitational pull towards Hawkwind territory because of this. There is no doubt that this is out and out space rock, Arthur Brown style, and the opening suite works particularly well. `Time Captives' is a powerful and definitive opener, utilising the speed button on the Bentley drum machine to cover a range of tempos before settling down into the groove and the journey begins . The three pieces here have a fine cohesion, flowing into each other, with Mellotron and swooping synthesisers from new recruit Victor Periano, and Andy Dalby's ever present guitar providing the colours behind Brown's vocals and tempo changes. This cohesion continues into the extended `Roadblocks' and closer `Come Alive'. However the album as a whole becomes a little disjointed with the presence of the out of context `Spirit Of Joy' an ill advised attempt to write a `proper' song. Cosmic travellers do not need proper songs. On the whole this is a unique album even within the annals of the progressive genre. It would be years later before people would attempt to record using programmed drums again.

This reissue from Esoteric re-masters the audio to the highest standards and includes a bonus disc of out-takes and single sides, and includes a Peel session too, although from an off air source. Even this will have many wiping a deeply nostalgic tear, given that they have left Peel's comments intact on the recording.

After this, Brown went off to India to find himself, which he presumably did, as he's mercifully still with us.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 September 2014
Kingdom Come's third and last album followed a major personnel shake-up and sounded radically different to its sometimes very silly - if often entertaining - predecessor. Keyboard player Goodge Harris, who played excellent organ and piano on their first two albums, was replaced by Victor Peraino, an American who majored in Mellotron and synthesizers and made a huge difference to the sound of the band. But more radical still was the replacement of drummer Slim Steer with the Bentley Rhythm Ace drum machine. There ARE earlier recordings that use a drum machine - J.J. Cale was quite fond of them and used one on parts of his debut album, Naturally. But no rock band had played live with a drum machine when Kingdom Come began doing so in 1972, and Journey is almost certainly the first rock album to use one throughout, and while the sounds it produces - with the semi-exception of the bass drum - don't closely resemble those of real drums, there was clearly quite a lot of flexibility to program the rhythms.

The album starts with a slow, metronomic bass drum thud - the last time in the whole record that you could conceivably think it might feature a live drummer. It speeds up and is gradually joined by the other instruments before bursting into synth-drenched space-rock anthem Time Captives - although Arthur actually sings "time captains" throughout. The following Triangles is a very oblique waltz-time instrumental, equally futuristic sounding if very different, then on Gypsy they close the first side of the original LP with a sublime dose of rocking prog, which borrows a couple of riffs from one of their earlier tracks and features some epic and beautifully arranged heavy guitar from Andy Dalby, still with that futuristic sound - the production is pleasingly uniform throughout, helping to make the album even more than the sum of its very considerable parts.

The 3 part Superficial Roadblocks kicks off the second half of the album with massed Mellotrons on both orchestra and choir settings and the lead vocal ably sung by guitarist Andy Dalby - like some of the other vocals on the album, it sounds like it's been processed through a Leslie speaker. Conception is another oblique little instrumental, this time overlaid with epic screams by Arthur Brown. This is followed by Spirit Of Joy, apparently one of the last tunes Goodge Harris contributed to before he left the band and written with the intention of having a "proper song". Its extreme positivity suits the title and its simple structure and tune make it unsurprising that it was chosen as a single - nothing else on the album could possibly have been a single A-side. It's a strong tune but has always sounded a little out of place here. Finally, Come Alive fades in on a 6/8 shuffle and like Gypsy features a lot of Andy Dalby's excellent guitar as well as some quieter sections.

When Journey was issued in spring 1973, it sounded like nothing that had preceded it. The drum machine and heavy use of synthesizers - and, it must be said, the excellent production by arch retro rocker Dave Edmunds, of all people - gave it a highly futuristic space-rock sound that went way beyond Hawkwind's use of synthesizers largely as sound effects. So futuristic, indeed, that it's interesting to speculate on how much this album influenced some of the post-punk and electro-pop acts 5 or 6 years down the line - you can certainly hear a pre-echo of Gary Numan on parts of Time Captives, except that the vocals are so vastly superior. But it's also of its time, with prog rock riffing and a spiritual dimension to some of the lyrics usually absent in the vastly different scene of the late 70s and early 80s.

This edition improves slightly on the sound of the 2003 Sanctuary reissue but despite growing an extra disc it only adds two tracks to that edition. Here, the first disc contains the original album and the second contains the A- and B-sides of a single, 3 "alternate versions" of songs on the album and 3 tracks from a John Peel session recorded in September 1972.

The single A-side was a considerably altered version of Spirit Of Joy - the slow intro was edited off, and the drum machine was replaced by an uncredited drummer. The B-side of the single, Slow Rock (named after a setting on the drum machine!) has never been reissued before. Over what sounds like an edit of the backing track of Come Alive, or at least an alternative take of it, Arthur sings a completely different lyric namechecking many of the glam and glitter artists and hit songs of the time and Andy Dalby plays a fine echoed guitar solo. This is by far the juiciest rarity here and most obvious reason for fans to buy this edition.

The three "alternate versions" - of Time Captives, Conception and Come Alive - have, along with the single version of Spirit Of Joy, appeared on all previous CD editions of Journey and were first issued on the 1976 compilation The Lost Ears. These are presumably discarded early mixes - while they are probably essentially built on the same takes as the final album versions, they are significantly different mixes and edits, with some different-sounding instrumental parts as well.

The John Peel session is taken from an off-air recording and is of bootleg quality, though certainly listenable; two of the tracks are followed by pertinent comments by John Peel. This version of Slow Rock is nearer the length of the full version of Come Alive and features some archetypal prog rock guitar and organ duelling, far more typical of the era; John Peel's comments indicate that Goodge Harris was yet to be replaced by Victor Peraino. The lyric, so far as I can tell with the murky sound, is different from either Come Alive or the single version of Slow Rock. Spirit Of Joy is considerably slower than either the album or single versions and, frankly, inferior, especially as it is much longer - over 8 minutes; the spacy breakdown in the middle is quite entertaining, though. These two tracks were previously issued on the 2003 Sanctuary reissue. Here we also get a previously unissued version of Triangles from the same session. The interplay of guitar and Goodge Harris's organ make this quite different from the album version. It's fascinating to hear these tunes being played by the different line-up and interesting to discover that Goodge Harris remained in the band into the drum machine era and Victor Peraino had been a member for no more than a couple of months when they started recording Journey.

All these extras are worth having to some degree, and some are excellent, but don't be fooled by the double CD into thinking this adds much to the Sanctuary version - it's only about 7 minutes longer.

But overall, this is a superb package and it would have been wrong to leave any of the extras off this reissue just because most of them had come out before.
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on 27 August 2017
Most brilliant space rock album ever & the use of the Bently Drum machine is inspired & way ahead of even Kraftwerk. The singing and lyrics are superb, as is the guitaring and keyboards. I heard this in Australia in 1973 & it nearly nocked off Roxy's For Your Pleasure as my favourite album (both are still in my top 20 albums list (after 40 years). This is a must have album & should be appreciated by P. Floyd and Hawkwind fans. Love it from start to finish! ;~)
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