7.6.09

DAVID BOWIE : 1971 Outtakes

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I don't get people who don't "do" Bowie. I've loved his music for - literally - as long as I can remember. The first item of clothing I recall choosing for myself (bankrolled by mum, obviously) was a cheapo Soul Train-era Bowie t-shirt, purchased from one of those promenade "printed-while-u-wait" heatpress transfer joints that every seaside town seemed to have in the 1970s (did anybody notice when these emporiums of tat finally faded out, it seemed like I turned 'round one day & they'd all shut up shop?). Dutifully, I wore until it fell apart & was reincarnated as a duster by my industrious muvver*. I honestly cann't recall a point in my life that's pre-Bowie - I've been listening to his music as long as I've listening to music full stop, I think? So I 'spose it was only a matter of time before I posted something Bowie-related...

To be honest, it's been a case of finding something of sufficient audio quality & historical fascination value to share, rather than merely posting for the sake of it - there are plenty of inspiration-free 'gloids uploading his entire discography if that's what you've mistakenly arrived here looking for. Even though The Dame has always kept a notoriously tight reign on his archives, there are still thousands of hours' worth of live recordings up for grabs online, spanning his entire career. Following his split from manager Tony De Fries' Mainman organisation in the mid-70s, very little of interest appears to have leaked out from under the studio door - some great Scary Monsters-era demos (on the Vampires Of Human Flesh boot) are about as good as it gets. Material recorded prior to their parting of ways has seeped out however &, though sound quality is frequently an issue (i.e. much of it has been dubbed & re-dubbed so many times that it's been rendered virtually unlistenable), Bowie was evidently discarding terrific songs at such a staggering rate back that most of it is worth a listen.
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Of all the unreleased recordings I've heard, these 1971 masters are undoubtably the finest. Apparently sourced from the original EMI-sequestered tapes, 6 of these 7 songs have yet to be formally issued & the sound quality isn't far short of fantastic (way superior to other boots you might've found them on). Only "I've Got Lightning" (aka "Lightning, Frightening") has been granted an official release to date - as an additional track on Ryko's '90s reissue of The Man Who Sold the World - but with it's intro clumsily trimmed to eradicate a very minor faux pas. Of the rest, "Looking For A Friend" is a superior Stones-y re-recording of the scrapped Arnold Corns single; "Rupert The Riley" (2 versions included) & "Right On Mother" are a couple of brilliantly wonky pop ditties that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Hunky Dory (the former is actually fronted by Arnold Corns' vocalist Freddie Burrettii, but don't let Bowie's absence put you off, it's a bona fide corker); & "Tired Of My Life" is a very early dry run for 1980's "It's No Game" (suggesting The Dame is not averse to rummaging through her archives for inspiration on occasion). "Shadow Man" & "How Lucky You Are" (aka "Miss Peculiar") are the real standouts here however - it's difficult to understand why either of them were written out of Bowie's mid-70s oeuvre, they're both astonishingly good, fully-fledged songs. Though he revisted the former during the aborted Toy project in 2001 (that version slipped out on the b-side of Heathen's "Slow Burn" & "Everybody Says '"Hi'" singles) this original take immediately attains "Lost Classic" status. It's brilliant, basically - God knows why it didn't make it onto Ziggy.

New link! How Lucky You Are

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*Funnily enough, I've spent the last few years sporadically trawling the web in the hope of finding solid photographic evidence that that shirt actually did exist. Surely somebody else out there must've owned one & uploaded a period Polaroid of themselves wearing it somewhere online? Lo & behold, a couple of weeks ago I discovered a brand spanking new 'un on eBay - a batch of original transfers, long squirreled away, had come to light & were being offered up for auction by some enterprising soul. Seriously, ain't the internet grand?

12 comments:

  1. Most of Bowie's seventies out takes blow away his offical eighties output. A personal fave is 1984/Dodo from Diamond Dogs a belter and better than the released version.

    Have you checked the Bo' produced Astronettes album People From Good Homes another hobby project that's well worth a wallop

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  2. Yeah, totally agree, there's a BIG bland gap between Scary Monsters & Outside isn't there? I'd be very interested to hear some of the (apparently) numerous outtakes from the Outside era, but have yet to discover any ("The Leon Tape", etc). Must get 'round to hearing that Astronettes LP too, it does sound v.intriguing ("I Am A Laser", etc).

    Some great Bowie obscurities hidden away on yr site btw, Monsieur Mondo - many thanks for posting Lulu's "Watch That Man", it's almost impossible to find for some reason. Keep 'em coming! x

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  3. thisissoul6724.11.10

    Just had to comment about the "BIG bland gap". This means you're dismissing The Buddha Of Suburbia, Baal EP, and songs like Absolute Beginners, I Can't Read, Amlapura, Time Will Crawl, Miracle Goodnight, Nite Flights, Under Pressure, Blue Jean & Baby Universal.
    For sure the years 1981 - 1995 are hardly his Golden Years (ha!), but he still had his moments.

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  4. Fair point... BT/WN & the Buddah OST definitely have their moments. It's a still long, hard trawl from Let's Dance to Outside though, eh?

    I wonder if he'll ever make another record?

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  5. Anonymous7.2.12

    Nope...I,m afraid the golden one has apparently slipped beneath the waves ..now the only david we're left with is beckam (of the sylvian eyebrow)..im told he does possess golden balls though ...scant consolation and a dreadfull state of affairs...yours skipping through the wastelands...mr crowe

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  6. On reflection, I'm hoping he leaves thing as they are... his last couple of LPs weren't utterly repellent, but I wasn't too impressed by that (unreleased/leaked) Toy affair. It sounds like a sentimental ol' swansong to me, & that's definitely NOT how db should bow out. NO!

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  7. No problem sir, I LOVE these songs btw...

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  8. any chance of a re-upload on this great collection?

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  9. Thanks for asking Patrick, consider it sorted...

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    1. Thank you and best wishes for the new year!

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  10. Cheers Patrick, you too.

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