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2023 Albums Thing #048 - Various Artists “Lazarus: Original New York Cast”

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Of course it wasn’t just another “Juke Box musical”, this one was by Bowie ! Juke Box Musical has become a catch all term for musicals written around the music of a single artist and that is what “Lazarus” is, but…Bowie was involved from this ones inception and made his final public appearance at the New York premiere on 7th December 2015.

I haven’t seen “Lazarus” but the story is a continuation of that of Thomas Jerome Newton set after the events of “The Man Who Fell To Earth”. Based around 13 songs from Bowie’s career, an excerpt from “Sound And Vision” plus 4 new songs ("Lazarus" (at the time “Blackstar” had yet to be released so it was a new song), "No Plan", "Killing A Little Time" and "When I Met You”. Versions of these songs by Bowie were included on the Original Cast recording album) the story is loosely that Newton is a man trapped on earth, he cannot die, but then meets another person who may bring all that to an end. I’ve also read that the case of the murder of Baby Grace Blue from “1. Outside…” is resolved.

Included in the show are songs from right across Bowie’s career from “The Man Who Sold The World” right up to “Blackstar”. The cast recording was made on on 11th January 2016, the day after Bowie’s passing, and the cast were told as they arrived at the studio. It’s interesting to hear the songs sung by others in a different setting. The versions of “Life On Mars ?” and “All The Young Dudes” stand out, but it’s far from essential listening, apart from the new songs, and it really doesn’t throw any light on the story the songs are used to support. 

The three new songs were recorded as part of the “Blackstar” sessions with the band of Donny McCaslin’s quartet and Ben Monder on guitar. Very much in the style of that album the stand out is “When I Met You”. They were the last new music we would ever hear from David Bowie.

When I Met You - https://youtu.be/5fDy-mRGFkw

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