Thursday, September 23, 2010

9 Forgotten Gems from David Bowie

Would have been ten but if anyone is still reading this blog, they could put any tenth suggestion in the comments!

Tin Machine – Goodbye Mr Ed

As out of place on a hard-rocking Tin Machine album as something like 'After All', this is the single moment when Tin Machine actually created something worth listening to. That it sounds far more like a Bowie solo track than a Tin Machine band effort is, obviously, neither here nor there.

David Bowie – Buddha Of Suburbia

From Bowie's great lost album, a title track which both stands alone as a great song and harks back to previous moments of glory, even to the extent of quoting from 'All the Madmen'.

David Bowie – In The Heat Of The Morning

Best heard on the Deluxe cd reissue of the first album, 'David Bowie' (where you get three different versions for your money), and brilliantly covered by the Last Shadow Puppets, this is a great tune with fabulous lyrics, and deserves to be far better remembered than it is.

David Bowie – Conversation Piece (Stereo Version)

There's an updated version of this seventies out-take, recorded as part of the Toys project and eventually added to the 'Diamond Dogs' re-issue, but this more acoustic version, available as one of the extra tracks on the Rykodisc release of 'Man of Words, Man of Music' is the superior release.

Kashmir – The Cynic

Most times Bowie collaborates it's obvious that Bowie is the driving force - think 'Little Drummer Boy' with Bing Crosby or 'Under Pressure' with Queen - but here he's just a vocalist doing a duet on someone else's album and he turns in a sparkling performance, aided no doubt by the steady hand of Tony Visconti on production duties.

David Bowie – Alternative Candidate (A Demo For Proposed 1984 Musical)

A totally different, and just as brilliant, alternative to the standard Diamond Dogs track.

Inside every teenage girl there's a fountain
Inside every young pair of pants there's a mountain

David Bowie – When I'm Five - Love You Till Tuesday Soundtrack Version - Mono

I always loved this song, both in the Bowie original and the Beatstalkers excellent cover, but I can never seem to convince anyone of the fact that the lyric is the darkest Bowie ever wrote: the story of a four year old boy dying of some horrible unspecified illness while his parents marriage collapses around him in a welter of recrimination and blame. And then the last verse which would break the heart of a stone man. God, it makes me miserable just thinking about it...

David Bowie – Remembering Marie A.

Well, there has to be something from Bowie's frankly mildly bonkers decision to release an EP of Bertolt Brecht songs - and this is my favourite one. A real tour de force of singing and some great lyrics.

The Beatstalkers - Silver Treetop School For Boys

Sadly not available on Spotify so the link goes to You Tube, but it is on a best of cd which every self-respecting Bowie fan should own. A cover version of a Bowie song which DB never recorded himself, this is The Great Lost Bowie song, especially if you like his early, post-fame stuff.

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Blogger Kate said...

That's a smashing list; as a tenth, may I suggest another track from what I agree is a horribly overlooked album: the original version of Strangers When We Meet from The Buddha of Suburbia. The better-known version from Outside is gorgeous too, but I think the Buddha of Suburbia take is a bit more dynamic and moving, with a fantastically anguished vocal performance.

9:49 am  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

I did swither over a few tracks from Buddha - and 'Strangers When we Meet' could have as easily been in my list as the title track (it was video for Buddha which swayed it for me in the end!)

10:16 am  
Blogger TimeWarden said...

How about "Amsterdam" to complete the list? "He'll show you his teeth that have rotted too soon, that can haul up a sail, that can swallow the moon"! It was a B-side, though I forget to what without excavating several cases of 7" singles!

Did you know the Brecht EP, "Baal", was a collaboration with Dominic Muldowney, the composer behind the "Sharpe" music?

10:07 am  
Blogger The Maroon Pimikin said...

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9:31 am  

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