on 16 February 2000
After Ziggy Stardust, and Aladdin Sane, after the theatricality of "Diamond Dogs", and the plastic-soul of "Young Americans" there came perhaps Bowie's most haunting persona, The Thin White Duke, and this is his record.
At time of recording Bowie was in the depths of a serious cocaine addiction. It is said that he now remembers very little of the recording of "Station To Station". But once you have heard this album you will not forget it easily.
The title track is a ten minute epic in which Bowie's vocal range travels in leaps and bounds. Meet The Thin White Duke himself and gasp in awe as he screams: 'It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love'.
"Word On A Wing" sees Bowie at his most poignant as he pleads for grace in a desperate search for God. Shiver as he croons his way through the best version of "Wild Is The Wind" ever recorded.
This CD not important, it is *essential*! No collection should be without it.
on 1 July 2014
There are some fans who say Bowie was at his best between 1971 - 1976. Others cite the Berlin Trilogy. And there are those that love Bowie's 80s commercialism. For me, 'Station to Station' is the perfect antidote to the drug infested years spent stateside that covered the Diamond Dogs tour ('David Live'); Young Americans; The Man Who Fell To Earth (film) and this album sub-titled by many as 'The Return of the Thin White Duke.'
This particular box set remaster contains the analogue remaster of the original album mix, and the live show that was for several years only available as a bootleg. Bowie has often commented that he rarely remembers even recording 'Station to Station.' The fact that the album contained incredible songs is absolutely amazing if his true state of mind is anything to go by. At the same time as the recording sessions, Bowie appeared on 'Soul Train' singing the hit single from 'Station to Station' - the brilliant 'Golden Years.'
'Golden Years' was very much a last ditched attempt at getting Bowie a combined UK / US smash following the success in the states of 'Fame.' The problem was that the Young American sessions still yielded a possible follow-up in 'Can You Hear Me' (considered by many Bowie aficionados as his very best vocal performance). In the states, all eyes centred on 'Can You Hear Me' and I know that back at Bedford Place, London, the UK HQ of RCA Records, the green light was given for the release as the third and final single from the Young American sessions. Suddenly, news filtered through that Bowie was back in the studio and 'Golden Years' had been demoed as a potential dance-floor soul classic. The dilemma was real. Two hits on their hands - the solution... to place them back to back as a single in both the US and UK!!!!
The sessions continued for 'Station to Station' haunted by the film Bowie was involved with at the time (The Man Who Fell To Earth) and his cocaine addition. The result is truly reflected on this box set edition - the full remastered studio album and the best live show Bowie ever put together.
Each track stands up - for me, personal favourites are 'Stay', 'Word on a Wing' and 'Wild Is The Wind.' need I say more?
This really is vintage "Bowie" - blazing away from the excesses of the states and off to Berlin via France to save his own skin. In the meantime, under the headphones, us fans listened to 'Station to Station' and cried!
on 27 September 2010
OK, here's a review from someone who's actually heard the release.
CD1 is the original album remastered. And what an excellent job has been done. I have the original 1991 Rykodisc era Sound+Vision release and this tops even that. Not only are all the instruments clear as a bell, the bass is more prominent, which really brings the music alive.
CD2 and 3 are Bowie's March 1976 Nassau Coliseum concert. Long term fans have long cherished bootlegs of this night - the band is far less cabaret than Bowie's 1974 outing and less cold and brittle than the instrumental-dominated 1978 Stage incarnation.
The concert has a good mix of Station to Station tracks - of which the title track, Stay and Word on a Wing are masterful - and older hits. Some of the recordings are a little ropey - Life on Mars and Five Years are (superior) bootleg quality and the mix on the 2nd half of the concert is somewhat unbalanced - cymbals dominate, you can only hear one guitar for a lot of the time, the piano is very quiet and the bass just a low rumbling. Whilst Jean Genie and TVC15 suffer most from this - both sound thin and even weedy during choruses and solos - Changes, Diamond Dogs and Queen Bitch are by contrast hugely entertaining - and Panic in Detroit is positively furious.
The packaging is great. A Cameron Crewe essay puts the album in context, followed by a detailed chronology of the preparation and execution of the album. Three CD sized postcards complete the box.
Station to Station has always been a masterpiece - a satisfying and consistent yet diverse collection of powerfully realised signature tunes. This set puts Bowie's mid-70s journey into context, gives us his most satisfying live album to date and reinforces his mastery of both art and entertainment.
on 14 December 2011
If it's true that Bowie can't remember much at all about recording S2S because of the mind-altering substances he was on at the time, then in my opinion he definitely needs to get back on the pints of Drambuie & Lucozade as soon as possible...
Following on from Young Americans, this album is another major musical departure, with only Golden Years as an obvious link to its predecessor. Less than 40 minutes long, and with only 6 tracks, but make no mistake - this is a real heavyweight no-filler collection, to be played from start to finish with absolutely no need to hit the skip button (and I don't say that too often).
The title track is a slow burner, but it's a class opener when it hits its straps, with a hypnotic locomotive rhythm. TVC15 brings an irrepressible change of pace, and Stay showcases the talents of guitarists Carlos Alomar and Earl Slick (the latter having made a real mark on the epic - but underrated - David Live album). But the real highlights are the majestic Word on a Wing (has Bowie ever sounded better in the studio?) and a superb y'all-made-that-song-your-own-y'all cover of Wild is the Wind as the closer. It's a fitting, slower-paced finale for an exceptionally strong collection of songs. In my view, after S2S Bowie went into something of a decline, by his own high standards, only returning to real form with Let's Dance - so this is a must buy album as yet another example of his outstanding multi-faceted 70s heyday.
Since the Amazon product details are not yet listed (at the time of writing), I've listed below what you get in the deluxe box. Before that though, a couple of comments.
Station to Station is to my mind Bowie's masterpiece. The title itself is a pun; the track of the same name opens with white noise and chuffing noises like a radio tuning (station to station) or a train (station to station). That theme of transition runs throughout - "transition, transmission" says the hilarious TVC15. The guitar work from Earl Slick is frenetic and fantastic; the ballads Word on a Wing and Wild is the Wind, originally at the close of each side, are heartfelt and moving.
The album is now combined with a widely bootlegged concert from the same period which is also superb, a more powerful performance than any of the previous official live albums.
No problem with the music then; but if like me you are more interested in the music than the memorabilia, you have to ask why this very expensive box is the only way to get the DVD with high resolution stereo and a new 5.1 surround mix of this classic album?
Personally I can live without the vinyl and the fan club replicas, but I'd certainly like the surround mix. I'm afraid it does feel like exploitation.
Three stars, first because this is written pre-release, and second because of the expense.
The box contains:
Album sized box with lift off lid
CD 1: 2010 transfer of Station To Station from the original stereo analogue master
CD 2: Station To Station 1985 CD master
CD 3: Station To Station single edits five track EP containing Golden Years, TVC15, Stay, Word On A Wing and Station To Station
CDs 4 & 5: Live Nassau Coliseum '76
DVD containing the following...
Station To Station (original analogue master, 96kHz/24bit LPCM stereo)
Station To Station (new Harry Maslin 5.1 surround sound mix in DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital)
Station To Station (original analogue master, LPCM stereo)
Station To Station (new Harry Maslin stereo mix, 48kHz/24bit LPCM stereo)
12" heavyweight vinyl of Station To Station from the original stereo analogue master in replica sleeve
2 x 12" heavyweight vinyl of Live Nassau Coliseum '76 in gatefold sleeve
24-page booklet with sleevenotes by Cameron Crowe and chronology by Kevin Cann and also including...
- Previously unpublished Steve Shapiro photo
- Geoff MacCormack photos
- Andrew Kent live Nassau photos
Replica David Bowie On Stage 1976 press kit folder containing the following...
- Replica Nassau ticket from night of the show
- Replica backstage pass
- Replica A4 biog
- Replica band line-up
- 3 x 10x8" press shots
Replica 1976 Fan Club Folder containing the following...
- Replica fan club membership card
- Fan club certificate
- 2 small collector cards
- 2 A4 photo cards
- Replica 4-page biography
- 2 badges
- 6 panel folded Steve Shapiro photo poster of Bowie kneeling
on 3 June 2004
Being David Bowie can't be the easiest job in the world, especially if you can't even remember recording your best record. In my opinion, this is exactly what Station to Station represents: Bowie's finest hour.
Despite consisting of just 6 tracks, each is a standout. Station to Station is a real monster of a song; great intro, and after 6 minutes the song kicks off into a strangely uplifting train ride with some real grinding guitar flying through the right speaker channel. If Station to Station is a heavy night out, then Golden Years is it's hangover cure. Next we have 'Word on a Wing', containing great musicianship and piano work. The line "Lord, my breath lies like a word on a wing", is particularly memorable.'TVC15' is an oddball song which comes off really well and is probably my favourite song, with its endless repetition of "Oh my TVC15, oh oh, TVC15". 'Stay' is a real funk rocker, with the falsetto chorus being the highlight ("Stay, that's what I meant to say"). The final track, 'Wild is the Wind', on the first listen, sounds like the worst song in the world. However, given repeated listening, like the rest of the album, the track flourishes, it grows on you; and as the crooning vocal creeps under your skin, it becomes like a new family member- irreplacable.
This album is not an instant classic, it demands attention and the patient listener is highly rewarded. This cd epitomises the phrase 'quality not quantity'. In all, if I only ever recommend one item, it would be this, my favourite album ever.
It is pretty amazing to think that in the nine year span covering 1969 to 1977, David Bowie released 10 (yes, count them) classic albums, starting with Space Oddity and ending with Heroes (of course, I don't include his covers album, Pin-Ups, in this list). This level (and quality) of prodigious music making is, for me, unequalled before or since. 1976's Station To Station followed Bowie's 1975 soul-fest Young Americans and just about cut all remaining ties with his 'glam-rock' heritage. Some commentators have cited Station To Station's style as presaging the Euro-electronica sound that was to feature on follow-up Low but, whilst there is no doubt some truth in this, for me, the soul influence of the album's predecessor (together with increasing traits of funk and R&B) is still the most potent force on Station To Station.
The album kicks off with the title song - one of Bowie's greatest ever. Looking back, Bowie had (I would argue) acquired his reputation for penning sublimely melodic, and generally succinct, pop songs (too many to list) and rarely indulged in lengthy expositions. Of course, Cygnet Committee and The Width Of A Circle are two notable (and brilliant) exceptions, but the song Station To Station was (and, I would argue, still is) like nothing Bowie had ever produced, a 10-minute epic, divided into two parts - the first which chugs along (to accompanying train noise) to Earl Slick's wailing, feedback-infused guitar (a bit like Mick Ronson on The Width Of A Circle actually), and the second, an invigorating funk-rock tour-de-force, on which Bowie introduces his Thin White Duke (Crowley-style) persona, all to the vibrant playing of rhythm section of Dennis Davis and George Murray, with ace pianist Roy Bittan matching his E Street Band playing and then some.
Difficult to follow, certainly. In fact, Golden Years can't help sounding rather lame in comparison, albeit its sublimely smooth sound and feel soon sucks you in (although I must admit I always did prefer the song Young Americans to this, from the Bowie 'soul canon'). On the other hand, both TVC15 and Stay recall the vibrancy of Station To Station (part 2) with their rhythmic piano and jazz-funk guitar beats. That just leaves the album's ballads, and they are two of Bowie's finest. Word On A Wing features some of Bowie's most overtly romantic lyrics, albeit overlain with a degree of cynicism ('In this age of grand illusion'), plus more outstanding playing from Bittan. Providing a fitting finale to the album, Bowie's cover of Dmitri Tiomkin's Wild Is The Wind (featured in the 1957 film of the same name) is simply breathtaking, and (for me) is probably his greatest, and most passionate, vocal performance since Aladdin Sane's Lady Grinning Soul.
Certainly, another essential Bowie album for the collection.
on 18 August 2012
No denying that Bowie is one of the more important creative forces of the 20th century, and this is, in my opinion, his greatest work.
It's subtle, in the way Aladdin Sane, with its lush freakotronics, and Diamond Dogs, with its inyerface glam-rock is not. It is also varied.
It starts with an engrossing piece of musique concrete and the laid back yet intense rhythm and ostinato of the title track. The following Golden Years was a single, and, following on as it did from the soul outing of Young Americans, one could be excused for thinking it is more of the same - but again, it's subtler than that, and worries at the nerves more than any conventional soul number would. The first side (as it was on the vinyl) ended with the pleasant pop sounds of Word on a Wing.
It's the second side that is the real masterwork. TVC15 was again a single, and if anything was a precursor of the next phase in Bowie's career. An intense piano-driven beat moves it along at an inexorable rate as the singer attempts to crawl inside the TV set in chase of his girlfriend - predating Videodrome by 7 years.
The bleak starkness of Stay is in sharp contrast to anything else except maybe Fame. A funky guitar riff in an empty, echoing space is practically all that holds this song together, as the singer begs, in his confused and incoherent mindstate, for his companion to, well, just stay. And in that spirit of bleakness, when it ends you feel that sense of emptiness and nihilism ... emptying your mind and your soul to prepare you to receive his greatest ever work: Wild Is The Wind.
There are no words to describe this piece of music. Where Stay is death, Wild Is The Wind is the afterlife.
on 17 October 2008
Station To Station, as many reviewers have pointed out, is a fairly short album in terms of the number of songs that are recorded on it. However - the album still clocks in at a decent length. And song for song, it's a very strong line up. Bowie's vocals are great throughout - and each tune engages the listener accordingly (even the cover of Wild is the Wind - not many male artists could pull that off with so much repressed emotion).
STS is a great listen - and I for one would rather have 6 strong songs than 11 or 12 that have been padded out (heresy it may sound but I think Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs are guilty of this - only by one track but it illustrates how less can sometimes be more).
But it's the mystique behind the album, the relentless progression of Bowie musically, if not socially - that grips you as you listen. Tales of him not being able to remember anything of it's recording are littered about the web - but who cares whether or not he does? If I were able to come up with an album of this quality - delivering vocals of this standard - I wouldn't care what edge of reality my life was on at that particular moment.
Diamond Dogs (despite my comment above), Young Americans and Station to Station are all singular entities, and somewhat unique - but all three contain some of Bowies most ambitious and, IMHO, best work. 5 stars, easy.
Ps The story of Iggy Pop's acid dream influencing TVC-15 is always going to bring a smile, regardless of the amount of truth in it.
Like many of Bowie's albums this collection could be described as a "crossroads" record.A bridge between the soulful "Young Americans" and the wonderfully innovative "Low". Every song on "Station to Station" is uniquely original; the long , brooding title track gives way to the mellifluous "Golden Years", which is similar to the "Young Americans" sound and it would have been the best song on that album had it been included on it . "Word on a Wing" is another polished classic with a spiritual , gospel feel to it. The final three songs are somewhat manic, especially TVC15. "Stay" is a raw edged ,soulful number , but the epic and truly wonderful "Wild is the Wind" is the albums highlight with an awesome vocal from the Thin White Duke which verges on the deranged and which sets the hairs on the back of my neck on edge every time I hear it. Definitely one of my favourite Bowie albums , right up there with "Low", which followed shortly afterwards.