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Bowie At The Beeb - 3cd Set - David Bowie

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Genre: Rock - Pop Rock / Artist: David Bowie / Limited Edition / Audio CD released 2000-09-25 at EMI

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    3 Reviews
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      21.08.2001 01:00
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      Although I am a huge Bowie fan, I am not a fanatic and I am not up on the minutiae of the great man’s work or particularly knowledgeable of his discography. However, this two CD bargain jumped out at me in a recent HMV sale and it just had to be bought and taken to a good home. The BBC has been making a virtue of these live sets and sessions in recent years. Notably the Beatles at the Beeb was interesting. I guess the problem with this format is usually that the artists do not have the material or verve to carry it (for instance the Led Zeppelin one has moments of true horror). Someone who does manage to carry it off is Bowie who from 1968-1972 was a regular recorder and some of the material is absolutely fantastic. I think what makes it fascinating is the variety of material and sounds present in this formative and very productive period that is after all, only 4 years longs. The transition of this live work from the very naïve In the Heat of the Morning to the splendid Rock’n’Roll Suicide perhaps couldn’t be more stark but throughout quality is rarely compromised and it acts as a superb piece that helps us understand what was going on in the music scene at this time. Added colour is provided by the superb and exhaustive notes that combine with the chat and interviews to give a clear picture of the organisation and atmosphere of these unique gigs. It would be quite counterproductive to give a full description of each song (as there are nearly 40 of them) but rather I give a basic flavour and add some fun details where necessary or desirable. Disc: 1 In The Heat Of The Morning The first four songs are from a 1968 session and will be familiar to devotees of Bowie’s very early stuff (of which I am) when he was sometimes known as David Jones. In The Heat of The Morning is a splendid, almost psychedelic little ditty with all that faux significant lyrics that remind very much of Procul Harem or the
      Lovin’ Spoonful. The most impressive thing about this song is the strength of his Bowie’s voice that has a tremendous motown edge to it. London Bye Ta Ta This is a rather whimsical song in the mould of the Kinks, which a sprinkle of the Faces. Just a pleasing number about Swinging London. Karma Man Making full use of the 14 piece orchestra made available to him, Karma Man is song fully at home in this rather psychedelic selection. In an age of gurus and new spiritualism as extolled by the Beatles in particular this song is almost a parody of that and pokes a little fun at the scene. Silly Boy Blue People who think they are familiar with this song from the collections of very early Bowies, will be intrigued by this dramatic and full version. It has lost the childish inconsequence of the released version and is slowed right down with dramatic drums, chilling strings and extravagant percussion giving it a more tortured feel. Listen out too for Bowie chanting “Chimi, Chimi, Chimi…” towards the end which was the name of his guru-teacher at the time. Let Me Sleep Beside You This song is the first of a two-song set from 1969 that were not broadcast, as planned, on the DLT show. Although generally an unremarkable song we are treated to a little interview before hand in which Bowie discusses his hit Space Oddity and how this song had never been played before because his mother thought it was “dirty.” In style it’s rather west coast heavyish rock with tortured singing but the lyrics expose a little more tenderness. Janine A pleasing romantic ballad with a little Cat Stevens sound and hard guitars and a good beat. Amsterdam This song marks the beginning of the biggest selection from a session all being introduced by a very youthful sounding John Peel. He sounds particularly middle class and innocent…and not in the least bit Liverpudlian. Folkish
      cover version: rather unremarkable God Knows I'm Good Nice folky ballad with a mysterious parable that I am at a loss to really make out. Width Of A Circle Still only half written at this stage, this track is a rather disappointing rendition of a pretty good rock tune that has a folksy edge. Or maybe any song with acoustic guitars in sounds folksy. Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed Not quite the epic version, this version was cut down on transmission. A poor rendition of not a bad song. Cygnet Committee An eight minute epic of a song I don’t really know and that has yet to engage me. It is also, to my mind, blighted by some ghastly hollowing voice effects that totally ruin the tune. Memory Of A Free Festival It is such a classic of the time evoking that awe and reverence that these early free festivals are often treated with. However, this version is very rough round the edges and a bit scrappy: the drumming in particular is not very good. I think this session, in general, suffers from bad sound quality. Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud An unusual soulful rock tune. Bombers A brilliant Bowie Ballad with his brand of mysterious humour and wry observations. It is however, let down by dodgy drumming and David forgetting the words at one point. However, it is good to hear more of this song which appeared as a bonus track on the Hunkydory CD. Looking For A Friend A Bowie track covered by another band (Arnold Corn? I cannot make out what Peel says exactly) which is really very good and rather like the Stones with its R and B sound. Almost Grown John Peel almost wets his pants at the end of this spirited Chuck Berry number. It’s a good hard rendition of this rock and roll classic but rather out of place in this otherwise esoteric first CD. Kooks I love this song: and here we seem to have pretty much the first performance of this Hunk
      ydory classic. And also we hear how it came into being from David himself just before The song also has that great lyrics: “Don’t pick fights with the bullies and the cads ‘cos I’m not much cop at punching other people’s dads.” It Ain't Easy Another groovy cover that seems rather anti-climatic for the end of the set and the first CD in comparison to Kooks. These later songs were not recorded with an audience but this means that there is a more consistent quality Disc: 2 The Supermen A wonderfully evocative song with a mystical, Aryan myth feeling to them. It is typical Bowie. A silly voice and occasionally impenetrable lyrics. But as the first song on this second CD the quality of the studio recording is markedly improved and almost as good as the album version. Eight Line Poem Does exactly what it says on the packet: also on Hunkydory. Pretty much a non-starter but nice to see the cactus featuring in pop, as it is a sadly underused flora in song. Hang On To Yourself Hip swinging, almost glam rock number which is sadly under-rated. Ziggy Stardust I think that version which is almost slightly more ponderous and seems rather slower and also is better than the released version. Bowie also gives the lyrics more of what they want: sex. The bass and guitars are also more indulgent giving it a more rockish sound: sound that this masterpiece surely deserves. Queen Bitch Pretty standard version of this hunky-dory classic. Although you get a bit more of Bowie and the words. And this song, which is rather rude, is better for the clarity. Waiting For The Man Compared to some of the greats on this album, this tune seems almost pedestrian but the driving guitar is great. However, it rather lacks sophistication. Five Years I really like this song although I have never heard it elsewhere. It is moody languorous and the late
      chanting of “five years” is rather good at the end. A kind of apocalyptic lament. White Light/White Heat Piano-driven honky tonk rock’n’roll number. Moonage Daydream With this song the sound that Bowie was developing by 1972 that was the basis for his Ziggy period is very developed. Whilst rock driven, and his singing shrill and vampish, there are also elements of blues piano and good harmonies too. Hang On To Yourself Another rockish, rambling dirty city song with a good beat and vampish lyrics like “we move around like tigers on Vaseline.” Suffragette City This lacks the style and big sound of the stadium version so often heard that starts with “This ain’t rock’n’roll this is genocide.” But it does benefit from some really good piano in the background. Ziggy Stardust Another go at Ziggy Stardust which is weaker than the other on this collection but still rather good. It is just too slow…and David plays about too much. Starman This is a very clean version of the song with a crisp driving beat…..which is not necessarily a good thing. But this will always be a classic. Space Oddity A really nice, uncluttered version of Bowies Classic. And one gets a bit more out of the words and the story without a dozen orchestras clanging away. But it doesn’t really add much. But it’s good fun. Bowie seems bored. I am quite sure, incidentally that Major Tom wore Van Heusen shirts can anyone confirm this? Changes Good solid rendition of this song. It does lack the hearty consistency of the released version on Hunkydory. Oh! You Pretty Things This really doesn’t seem to differ from the previously released version. But it’s a satisfying song. I just love the sentiment and the style. A good song. This version has a great sort of happy clappy feel as the chorus is sung
      with tambourines. Andy Warhol Bowie give the lyrics priority on this soulful version of the song: he lingers a bit more and it sounds great. Lady Stardust A really nice song that I don’t know much about but it’s got a really great “And it’s alright” chorus that has me jingling along. A good chilling song…I think. Rock 'N' Roll Suicide A perfect ending song: this is one of the Bowie greats. With its pathos and humour it sums up, I suppose what can be the tatty life of the pop star. In this version Bowie really lingers over the sardonic lyrics. The guitars and bass carry him along and he almost dawdles with it. It misses something without the brass but my god when the bass really kicks in is a classic tune. And the piano is great. And if anyone is still here, reading this op don’t forget: “Gimme your hands, cos you’re wonderful.”

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      • More +
        14.06.2001 22:48
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        I have no Bowie albums WHATSOEVER so I have no idea what compelled me to buy this other than seeing him live (he sang 4 songs at a charity gig) and being fairly impressed by what I heard. But I bought it, and briefly listened to the Bowie at the Beeb main CD's - nothing special I thought to myself so gave them away to my friend. BUT - then I listened to the Live CD - WOW! I have never heard anything like it - it is, without doubt, THE best live cd I have ever bought. Old favourites like Absolute Beginners and Ashes to Ashes, an inspired version of Lets Dance and some others that I have never heard before but were brilliant like This is not America and his version of Wild is the Wind. If David Bowie sounds like this live - roll on his next tour coz I'll be there! The ideal CD for singing your head off to!

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          20.02.2001 00:28
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          Between 1968 & 1972 David Bowie made a number of appearances on Radio One, playing a number of his songs in a total of 10 sessions. This album contains the aired sessions, and although it may sound like simply another scam to make fans pay yet more money for tracks they already have on previous albums, this offers more. Included on the 2 CDs are introductions by the DJs, with some added dialogue from Bowie. The inner sleeve also contains information on dates the sessions took place, the songs which were performed including the ones that were edited out ready for airing, and the musicians who also took part. A veritable banquet of information for the fan who needs to know everything. The BBC sessions prove beyond any doubt the vocal ability of Bowie at the early stages of his career. In some cases, there are different versions of some very well known songs, one of which is an unfinished "The Width Of A Circle". Some of the hits included are "Ziggy Stardust", "Changes", "Space Oddity", "Starman" and so on. Disc one contains a number of songs from the very early stages of his career too, such as "Karma Man", "Silly Boy Blue" and " In The Heat Of The Morning"... all oddities, but still great listening. There's a limited edition available too. A third CD contains a concert, recorded June 27th 2000 at the BBC Radio Theatre (comprising an audience of just 130 lucky fans, plus celebrities... What I wouldn't have paid to be one of them!), and on listening proves that Bowie is in no way losing his edge or his voice. He sails through various songs from his back catalogue starting with "Wild Is The Wind", during which the audience prompts him. I heard it and instantly thought of the farewell Ziggy concert at Hammersmith Odeon (1974, I believe)... remember at the end of "My Death"? "Me me me me..." <br>Other gems on this third CD include rarely performed songs such as "This Is Not America", "Always Crashing In The Same Car" and "I'm Afraid Of Americans", amongst others. A couple of tracks from his latest album, "Hours", are also performed, with "Seven" being a moving rendition of an already true masterpiece. This CD ends with, for the first half anyway, an almost unrecognisable "Let's Dance". You'll sit there thinking, "I know this song... what on earth is it?" (assuming you're not following all the tracks on the list while you're listening to it, that is). For those of you who remember the album "Aladdin Sane", listen for the unmistakable tinklings of Mike Garson on piano... haunting, disjointed, and stunning. Earl Slick, another name from Bowie's past appears too on guitar. The rest of the band is equally excellent, and the choice was obviously a good one as they all work so perfectly as a whole, with Bowie being the icing on the cake. This is truly an outstanding performance by all involved in the concert. If you managed to see the airing of this on BBC2 a couple of months back, you'll know exactly what to expect... musical genius. This release is an absolute delight to listen to and I loved every second of it. I'm getting shivers just thinking about that amazing voice that reaches into my very soul! Okay, sorry, enough of that. The best way to listen to this is alone, with a glass of your favourite tipple, letting song after song transport you back in time to when Radio One still had an edge. If you're like me and are too young to remember when the contents of this album were first aired, listen like this anyway, and allow yourself to imagine it all. I was nearly there and I'm far too young to remember... honestly! I would definately recommend this to any fan of Bowi
          e, whether the listed tracks are already in their collection or not. Even if you're not a big fan, have a listen anyway... it might be just what your ears have been waiting for. As an aside... If you do end up buying this album, be aware that on approx 250,000 copies there are two identical recordings of "Ziggy Stardust" on disc 2. If you find you have one of those original releases, EMI have produced a CD single containing only the missing track. There's information on some of the best websites on Bowie as to how you can recieve this disc or download the missing track from the web. I happened to be one of the lucky people who ended up with one of these discs and had subsequently contacted EMI. The single CD is now in my collection after a wait of only a week and a half. And I'm strangely proud of it too ;)

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        • Product Details

          Disc #1 Tracklisting
          1 In The Heat Of The Morning - Bowie, David & Tony Visconti Orchestra
          2 London Bye Ta Ta - Bowie, David & Tony Visconti Orchestra
          3 Karma Man - Bowie, David & Tony Visconti Orchestra
          4 Silly Boy Blue - Bowie, David & Tony Visconti Orchestra
          5 Let Me Sleep Beside You - Bowie, David & Junior's Eyes
          6 Janine - Bowie, David & Junior's Eyes
          7 Port Of Amsterdam - Bowie, David & The Hype
          8 God Knows I'm Good - Bowie, David & The Hype
          9 Width Of A Circle - Bowie, David & The Hype
          10 Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed - Bowie, David & The Hype
          11 Cygnet Committee - Bowie, David & The Hype
          12 Memory Of A Free Festival - Bowie, David & The Hype
          13 Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud - Bowie, David & The Hype
          14 Bombers
          15 Looking For A Friend
          16 Almost Grown
          17 Kooks
          18 It Ain't Easy
          19 Supermen
          20 Eight Line Poem
          21 Hang On To Yourself
          22 Ziggy Stardust
          23 Queen Bitch
          24 I'm Waiting For The Man
          25 Five Years
          26 White Light White Heat
          27 Moonage Daydream
          28 Hang On To Yourself
          29 Suffragette City
          30 Ziggy Stardust
          31 Starman
          32 Space Oddity
          33 Changes
          34 Oh You Pretty Things
          35 Andy Warhol
          36 Lady Stardust
          37 Rock 'n' Roll Suicide
          38 Wild Is The Wind
          39 Ashes To Ashes
          40 Seven
          41 This Is Not America
          42 Absolute Beginners
          43 Always Crashing In The Same Car
          44 Survive
          45 Little Wonder
          46 Man Who Sold The World
          47 Fame
          48 Stay
          49 Hallo Spaceboy
          50 Cracked Actor
          51 I'm Afraid Of Americans
          52 Let's Dance

          Disc #2 Tracklisting
          1 Supermen
          2 Eight Line Poem
          3 Hang On To Yourself
          4 Ziggy Stardust
          5 Queen Bitch
          6 I'm Waiting For The Man
          7 Five Years
          8 White Light White Heat
          9 Moonage Daydream
          10 Hang On To Yourself
          11 Suffragette City
          12 Ziggy Stardust
          13 Starman
          14 Space Oddity
          15 Changes
          16 Oh You Pretty Things
          17 Andy Warhol
          18 Lady Stardust
          19 Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

          Disc #3 Tracklisting
          1 Wild Is The Wind
          2 Ashes To Ashes
          3 Seven
          4 This Is Not America
          5 Absolute Beginners
          6 Always Crashing In The Same Car
          7 Survive
          8 Little Wonder
          9 Man Who Sold The World
          10 Fame
          11 Stay
          12 Hallo Spaceboy
          13 Cracked Actor
          14 I'm Afraid Of Americans
          15 Let's Dance

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