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  1. Those of you paying attention will note that this is the second album titled “David Bowie” and it has an aka title. What’s going on ? Well, in July 1969 Bowie released the single that would finally give him a hit, “Space Oddity”. In November Philips Records released his 2nd studio album, imaginatively titled “David Bowie” (or the excruciating “Man Of Words/Man Of Music” as it was retitled by Mercury in the USA). When a deal was done in 1972 to allow RCA, Bowie’s new record company, to re-issue the album it was given new artwork featuring a contemporary Ziggy picture front and back (lifting a leaf from the Decca playbook there) and retitled “Space Oddity”.

    Right, now we’ve got that out of the way what about the music. The album opens with “Space Oddity”…we all know “Space Oddity” right ? So no need for me to go into detail here, other than to say there was a time I heard it so much I stopped listening to it, but on the rare occasions I now come back to it, like today, boy oh boy what a thing it is.

    The rest of the album is a strange thing, equal parts almost there (most of “Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed” and “The Wild Eyed Boy Freecloud”) versus some real Hippy-drippy-folky nonsense (“Letter To Hermione” and “An Occasional Dream”) with a sprinkling of weird (“God Knows I’m Good”).

    I know he was broken hearted but “Letter To Hermione” (that being Hermione Farthingale who had dumped him to go off and make a film in Norway, or something like that) is the ramblings of a love sick 14 year old. “An Occasional Dream” sounds like a hangover from the (never in a) show-tunes he was writing 2 years earlier. And there can’t be many who’ve woken up thinking “I know I’ll write a song about an OAP who goes shoplifting for a tin of stewing steak” but Bowie did with “God Knows I’m Good”.

    My favourites here are “The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud” and “Memory Of A Free Festival”. “…Freecloud” had been the B-side of “Space Oddity” a few months earlier and was obviously liked enough to include it here too. “Memory Of A Free Festival”, in a Parts I & II format, was re-recorded and released as a single in the summer of 1970 but obviously flopped. It tells of a Festival arranged by the Beckenham Arts Lab, but whether “tall Venusians” had actually passed by or were a result of the “bliss” that passed through the crowd is unconfirmed.

    “David Bowie (2)”/“Space Oddity” is a trying to get there record. Some elements are in place (Tony Visconti for instance) but all is not ready. It does however start to point to where Bowie was going in a year or so. 


    The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud - https://youtu.be/gDCor7efUOc

  2. This was really added on 16/2/23…

    It was bound to happen at some point…of course my collection isn’t static, I’m still adding to it and this morning I added this one. It’s The Best Of The Beat plus a bonus LP of extended mixes of some of their stuff. I’ve inserted it as #18a which is where it would have been had I owned it when I was writing about the Beastie Boys.

    The Beat were ace. They perfectly rode the back of the Two-Tone explosion (I’d argue Reggae flavoured pop but never Ska) and wrote songs that moved both the feet and the head. They were also Brummies so I was genetically disposed to liking them.

    The run of singles starting with “Mirror In The Bathroom” and taking in  “Best Friend”, “Hands Off She’s Mine” and “Too Nice To Talk To”, name me another run of 4 such fantastic singles. And then down the line there was “Save It For Later” and their B-sides were better than some bands singles, “Ranking Full Stop”, “Stand Down Margaret”, “Twist And Crawl”…hells teeth they were on fire for a time there.

    Ranking Roger’s Mom used to live on the bus route I took to work every day and for years (decades) there was a Beat sticker in the window of the front room. I drove past there recently and it’s gone <sad_face>.

    Best Friend - https://youtu.be/AOR90QKJmOA

  3. Chronology gets a bit out of step here but I keep this album next to the previous one as they are linked by time. Bowie left Deram records and signed with Philips and had a massive hit, “Space Oddity”, you may know it. When this happened Decca (Deram was a subsidiary label of Decca) pushed out this cash-in release as part of their “World Of…” series. They cobbled together some tracks from “David Bowie” and a few others, stuck a picture of “Space Oddity” era Bowie on the cover and rushed it out. A few years later when Ziggy Stardust made the big time they re-issued this album with a picture of Ziggy on the cover…sneaky. You might think so but apparently Bowie himself approved the track list so it had his blessing.

    As for that track list, this album contains all but 4 of the songs from 1967’s album “David Bowie” (“We Are Hungry Men”, “Join The Gang”, “Maid Of Bond Street” and “Please Mr Gravedigger” didn’t make the cut) plus “The London Boys”, the b-side of 1966 single “Rubber Band”,  and 2 previously unreleased recordings “Let Me Sleep Beside You” and “In The Heat Of The Morning”.

    “The London Boys” is a kitchen sink drama that concerns itself with its protagonist moving to the big smoke and trying to get in with the local Mod faces around Soho, and seemingly succeeding, but on a very superficial level.

    “Let Me Sleep Beside You” is a hippy-ish 60’s pop song which always strikes me would have suited The Monkees, and particularly Davy Jones very well…ironic huh ?

    Finally “In The Heat Of The Morning”, another song (along with the previous “Let Me Sleep Beside You”) Bowie returned to on “Toy” but which in 1968 was apparently regarded by its writer as something of a throwaway, describing it at the time as “top ten rubbish”. Deram rejected it as a single and that seems to have broken the relationship between singer and label and off he went to Philips Records.

    Let Me Sleep Beside You - https://youtu.be/U_hX482pLbE