David Jones no more….

 

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This week was when David Jones officially changed his name to David Bowie, with the release of his first solo effort, after abandoning his previous group The Mannish Boys. This name change was of course to avoid confusion with Davy Jones from the Monkees.

“Can’t Help Thinking About Me” was released on 14th January, 1966 on the PYE record label, backed with the song “And I say to Myself”

If you own this original single, you probably already know that the UK vinyl release averages  £600 and  the UK  & the US  Promo copies value around £1000.
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As the previous material he’d done with Mannish boys, this song didn’t chart but “got great critical acclaim” …in other words it was a flop. Bowie would not have any chart success until “Space Oddity” would peak at #5 on the British Singles charts in 1969.

The song was produced by Tony Hatch, who had also produced Petula Clark’s hit “Downtown.”  Hatch also performs on the track.

Here’s David and his band dusting off “Can’t Help Thinking About Me”.  This was from a long-awaited appearance on VH1’s “Storytellers.”

I was at this show, and the energy was great, although honestly some of the storytelling felt a bit forced and he seemed to be “reaching” at parts of it. Regardless the performance was incredible.

Check out the exchange with the ever quick witted Reeves Gabrels regarding the lyrics from the Tin Machine era…

 

 

 

 

 

Paul’s picks of the year

There’s a lot of great new music out there and here’s some full lengths and singles that caught my attention this year.

In no particular order here are but a few of the records that stood out to me this year…

KellindoWhen Flowers Could Dance” single

 Listen Here.

Kellindo Parker’s debut single has already gotten a lot of attention, and if you have seen him live either solo or  with Janelle Monae, there is no question—we’re going to be hearing a lot more from this talented guitarist. Look for his full-length this year. I call his music Glam Funk because it sounds like Bowie jamming with P Funk. This tune is more on the Glam side of things, and that’s no complaint here.

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Thom Yorke –Suspiria Soundtrack 

 

Being a fan of the original film and corresponding soundtrack by Italian Prog-Rockers The Goblin, I was pleasantly caught off guard at how much I enjoyed the remake (re-telling?) of the original film.  Likewise, Yorke did a brilliant job with this.

ACTORS Self Titled

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I am usually wary of bands that recall the sound of some of my favorite post-punk bands. In this case, the hints of early New Order and Sisters of Mercy didn’t drive me away, probably because they’ve done something of their own with the sound.  Start with the haunting video to We Don’t Have to Dance and then explore the rest of the album…

Reade Truth – Wires Everywhere-Full Length

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Well, anyone who knows me won’t be surprised that this is on my list after listening to this album.  I’ve always been a fan of the darker side of techno and Reade doesn’t let up on this anticipated release.  Check his band camp site to give this a listen.

Various Artists–Babylon Berlin Soundtrack 

Technically, this came out in Nov 2017, but I’m going to let it slide and count it for 2018. The 3LP vinyl set is brilliant.

Featuring music by Bryan Ferry and his Jazz Orchestra, the standout track is this gem:

If you haven’t seen the mini-series check it out.  Some amazing work.

Bryan Ferry OrchestraBitter Sweet (Full Length)

The packaging is absolutely fantastic. Musically,  I’m particularly impressed with what he did on “Boys and Girls” which is one of many of my absolute favorites.  I thought it was clever how there’s that hint of the famous riff from “Carmen” in there, when the original had that unmistakable drum click reminiscent of from Pink Floyd’s “Time” .  To me it showed a bit of thought, like “what song or riff would have influenced this track instead of “Time” had the song been written in the Jazz Age”. Perhaps that’s me reading more into it just because I am such a big nerd music  listener. Hahaha
“New Town” and “Limbo” are also favorites here, so I was excited to see both represented,   Of course, “Bitter’s End” sort of evoked that jazz era I always thought at least, so that’s a natural fit.
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Gorillaz-The Now Now – Full length

Fujiya & “Miyagi-Subliminal Cuts” -single

Big Joanie-“Fall Asleep”(single)

This single has really gotten under my skin.  They are great live—I caught them as a support for Parquet Courts and loved the live set.

Chaka Khan -“Like Sugar” (single)

The video is amazing too.  This was THE song of the summer of 2018 for me

The Internet – Hive Mind (full length)

Featuring this hit Come Over this band gives me hope for R&B/Hip Hop

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Calexico The Thread The Keeps us (full length)

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The Orb “Rush Hill Road” Single

Since the debut “Little Fluffy Clouds” decades ago, Dr Alex Patterson has consistently delivered great tunes.  Rush Hill Road gets back to his dub-tacstic roots

David BowieNever let me Down (reimagined 2018)

Jungle-For Ever-Full length

I loved their debut a few years ago, and the first single, Happy Man really caught my attention.  Great full length listen.

Lizzo-“Boys” Single

This is just good fun  and what’s not to like about Lizzo?!

 

Today’s Vinyl Shopping

Found  a few great eclectic gems at my local record stores Lucky Star Records, and Analogetontraeger

 

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I was very excited to find a reasonably priced “North By Northwest” soundtrack.
Probably one of my favorite film composers, Bernard Herrmann created a lot of great Hitchcock scores, and this is one of my absolute favorites.  If you have attended the enthralling “Sleep no More” theatrical experience in NYC, they use a lot of Herrmann’s music in that.

 

This next one was also a great find: The legendary Hamilton Bohannon.

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“Insides Out” features side one with more dance, early Disco tunes, while side two is a more uptempo lounge, jazzy.

Bohannon began touring with Stevie Wonder when he was only 13 years old, and due to songs like “Disco Stomp” featured on this album is often credited as one of the grandfather’s of the Disco ‘Four on the floor” sound. He was a huge influence on the Talking Head’s spin off group The Tom-Tom Club led by Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz, and has been sampled by the likes of Jay Z, Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dog, just to scratch the surface.  He performed and recorded with many Motown legends : Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes and Smokey Robinson.

If you don’t know his music, and love disco/dance music, then you have to go to the source and check him out.

You probably know this tune of his (although it’s not on the above mentioned album):

 

A lot of my vinyl shopping these days is either replacing classic LPS of artists whose vinyl I either sold when I switched to CD format, or was sadly part of the few crates stolen in a storage area when I was in between apartments.   The next batch is representative of that. In fact, I think for Aerosmith I went right from 8-Track to CD.  The years in between those formats I wasn’t listening to them much I guess.

The Hendrix one is a German compilation featuring some of the live at the Fillmore takes.   Same for the Floyd one, an 1980s or so compilation of the Syd Barrett era line up, featuring two of my favorites from that era “Apples and Oranges” and “Arnold Layne”

 

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Nite Flights

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1978, Scott Walker broke his spell of retirement to reunite (briefly) the Walker Brothers, of course, a massive influence on David Bowie.
Ironically, what broke Walker’s silence as an artist was being so moved by the “Low” and “Heroes” albums Bowie and Eno had released.
You can hear the influence. Bowie repaid the homage with a tip of his hat on his album “Black Tie White Noise” produced with Nile Rodgers covering the song himself. As if the legacy of this tune can’t get any better—Bowie dusted it off on the “Outside” tour letting Reeves Gabrels and Gail Ann Dorsey loose on the live arrangement. Here’s the original version by Scott Walker and the Walker Brothers. It is one of my favorite songs.
Here is Bowie rehearsing both Andy Warhol and Nite Flights for the outside tour
He also performed it live on the Jay Leno show when the album Black Tie White Noise was released.
And a link to the audio of the original Scott Walker version.

 

“Believing the Strangest Things”

 

David Bowie “Loving the Alien” Box Set

 

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I was about 12 years old when David Bowie released “Let’s Dance.” Although I already owned “Changes One” and “Ziggy Stardust” on vinyl, I wasn’t a full-fledged fan yet.  I liked his music quite a bit, and was fascinated — perhaps alarmed at some of the stories I had heard about him. That album, which catapulted him into arena-rock stardom, was the catalyst that kicked in my life-long fandom of the man who fell to earth.

Despite the obvious criticism of this particular era of Bowie’s career, I was excited to see what the offering of “Loving the Alien” box set would hold.  I own the first installment “Five Years” , skipped the “Young Americans” era and of course enjoy the “A New Career in a New Town” box as well.

Sure, I am being nostalgic, but for me, as Bowie was releasing albums like “Tonight” and “Never Let me Down” during the 1980s, I was on a personal parallel path discovering albums like “Lodger” and back to “Hunky Dory.”  It was an intense four to five year crash course delving into his work as a producer for records like Lou Reed’s “Transformer” and naturally,  his work with Iggy Pop.    Just as I “caught up” to Bowie, to the extent any listener can, he declared he was no longer going to record as David Bowie and released a record called “Tin Machine” with his new band of the same name.

With “Loving the Alien” , as the other box sets, the packaging on this set is brilliant. The booklet well produced. I got choked up reading Nile’s letter to David, saying how much he misses him.  The photos and liner notes are a great read while going back and re-discovering this era.

“Let’s Dance” gets a lot of flak, but you know what, there’s arty stuff on that album as well.  I always loved his take on Metro’s “Criminal World” for instance.  I can listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s solo on the long take of Let’s Dance any time. What great work Nile brought out in these musicians.  From the punchy “Modern Love” to space funk of “Without You” there’s plenty of gems on this record. It is a career defining recording.  I always love hearing Nile tell the story of how Bowie procured a photo of Little Richard standing by a Cadillac and told him “I want the record to sound like this.”  And that is exactly what only the genius of Nile Rodgers could pull off.

The live “Serious Moonlight” album is a treat too. The mix sounds a bit less polished and more “live” than what ended up on the live video of the tour.

The Tonight LP mix is great—I still love the song “Loving the Alien” and fans know Bowie revived this track live on a few of his last tours—a striking ambient version. It’s a very pop album, but even songs like “Dancing with the Big Boys” are a guilty pleasure here.

My favorite, well at least what held the most anticipation is the new version of “Never Let me Down.” Mario McNulty and company have done a great job with this.  I love the new versions of “New York’s in Love” again, a guilty pleasure of mine, but now it’s a harder industrial vibe. Other stand outs are “Zeroes” and “Beat of your Drum”

It is fitting, and sort of closing the circle as they say, that Reeves Gabrels plays on this new take of the album. Reeves was the “x -factor” of the Tin Machine project, the secret ingredient that gave Bowie the edge. Tin Machine whether they meant to or not, sort of threw bullets into the commercial gloss of the previous few albums Bowie released. Now, Gabrels has gone back and helped his long time collaborator and friend revive this work. Good stuff.

I even liked the “Glass Spider” Live album. Again, great work from the band, Peter Frampton in particular.  The live version of “Sons of the Silent Age” and the Diamond Dog classic “Big Brother” stand out on this one. “Blue Jean” was always a favorite of mine when played live, and the version here is fantastic.

The set also features “Dance” a collection of remixes from the era, which apparently was a scraped album release.  Collectors know each set comes with an installment called “Re:call” featuring B-sides and collectable mixes left off the albums, and this set is no different.  “Re:call 4” features single versions of some of the singles from the era, and the cringeworthy cover of “Volare” from Absolute Beginners. Fans of the goblin king will be happy to find a few songs from “Labyrinth”  here too. One of the B-Side’s “Julie” brought back a personal memory which I suppose I can share now that he’s not with us anymore.  Bowie and Gabrels were tracking songs for the “Hours” album in London at Mute Studios when Blondie released their come back single “Maria.” There were a few rumblings that the Blondie single was a bit similar to this track. I hear it , but I doubt Debbie and Co were aware of this song…one never knows.

Definitely a purchase for the die-hard fans, if you’re willing to shell out the bucks, it is a great addition to your collection.