I’ve been ignored so many times, I’m thinking of changing my name to Terms and Conditions.
Today’s album is 1974’s David Live, which catches Bowie in transition from the Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane glam-rock era of his career to the ‘plastic soul’ of Young Americans. While the cover featured a picture of Bowie in his latest soul threads – baggy trouser suit complete with shoulder pads and braces from October 1974 – the music was recorded in July of that year when he was showcasing his two most recent studio albums of original material, Diamond Dogs and Aladdin Sane, as well as selected favourites from Ziggy Stardust and earlier.
I was a little apprehensive about this album, especially after reading the Wiki entry about: the album was poorly received by the critics, complaining about Bowie’s voice, his rearrangements of classic songs, his version of Knock On Wood (Mick Jagger commented about the album at the time, saying he thought the version was “awful”. Jagger went on to say, “If I got the kind of reviews that he got for that album, I would honestly never record again. Never”), the band staged a backstage revolt having been informed on short notice that the concerts would be professionally recorded for official release and that Bowie’s management intended to pay them only the standard union fee required for a live recording (a mere $70).The band confronted Bowie before the first show and refused to take the stage unless they were received $5000 each.
Whilst I can understand the concerns, for me this was an OK album, not great but not the disaster that I had read about. I enjoyed Bowie’s reinterpretations of some of his classic songs. Jean Genie shows off Earl Slick’s guitar chops, his slow Rocky Horror Show-vibe of All The Young Dudes is as good as the Mott The Hoople version, David Sanborn shines on Moonage Daydream, the Latin tinge on Aladdin Sane is pretty cool to. There are some low points on here, Bowie’s voice stretches and strains in some parts especially on Knock On Wood where it seems at some points it’s just bad karaoke. The band seem a little lack-lustre in parts, I imagine the row beforehand didn’t do much for band morale either. All things considered, this is a good, not great and not really essential but worth a listen for some of the tracks on here.
Is it excessive? No. Of the 17 tracks only 2 are over 8 minutes. Would I listen to it again? No. Some tracks would make a playlist but I’m in no rush to put this on again. Wouild I recommend it? Not in good conscience. Again, a couple of songs but nothing essential. Is there a drum solo? No.
It’s a pretty good album, enjoyable for a listen once or twice but nothing that really blew me away, so it’s a 6.5/10. Until next time, take care and TTFN.