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David Bowie Deluxe Edition, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks

4.5 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Feb. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Deluxe Edition, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Decca - Pop
  • ASIN: B002W1GCX4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,894 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

This is a special edition deluxe version of Bowie's 1967 debut album for Decca Records. Disc One features the original stereo and mono mixes of the album stunningly remastered by Peter Mew and Tris Penna at Abbey Road Studios--this is the first time that the mono mix has been available in any format since the late '60s, and the first time ever on CD. Disc Two features the singles, unreleased stereo mixes, the legendary unreleased single "London Bye Ta-Ta" and five previously unreleased tracks recorded for John Peel’s Top Gear programme in 1967. All in all, there are a total of 53 tracks over the two CDs with 26 appearing on CD for the very first time.

BBC Review

No matter how many substandard albums David Bowie has released in the latter part of his career, his eponymous 1967 debut album has always been perceived as the slightest long-player in his catalogue. For some, then, this deluxe version of David Bowie – expanded to two CDs, with lengthy booklet notes – will be almost laughably inappropriate.

As well as legendary lost song London Bye Ta-Ta and contemporaneous non-album Bowie material like the swirling Let Me Sleep Beside You and novelty song The Laughing Gnome, disc two virtually gives us the album we’ve heard twice over (stereo and – first time on CD – mono) on disc one in a different permutation: single and radio session versions and previously unreleased mixes. All very comprehensive, but aesthetically too much even if the parent album was the greatest ever made.

David Bowie shows talent, but one very much unrefined. Within a musical style that is baroque pop crossed with northern brass band crossed with music hall, parping horns and brisk drums decorate pretty but largely unmemorable melodies. The lyrics are above average – thoughtful character studies – but hardly deep, sort of toytown Eleanor Rigbys. Highlights are the orchestrated, melancholy Sell Me a Coat, Rubber Band – an old-time musician's misty memories set to a marching beat – and There Is a Happy Land, a shimmering musical adaptation of Keith Waterhouse’s novel of childhood. Everything is agreeable but nothing truly classic and the relentless whimsy gets tiresome.

What is extraordinary throughout, though, is a vision and individualism remarkable for a 20-year-old. Young Bowie has a penchant for putting himself in the heads of the old and the unhip, something very unfashionable in the insurrectionist 60s. Meanwhile, he is so determined to stick to his then-daring resolution to sing in his own English accent that in the bopping Love You Til Tuesday he spurns the opportunity to rhyme “branch” and “romance” that an American inflection would offer him. As for the closer Please Mr Gravedigger, its sneeze-punctuated vocal and lightning-and-footsteps backing make it as much radio play as song.

David Bowie is hardly an essential listen but historically interesting as unmistakably the entrée of someone with a future. This chance of reacquaintance enables us to acknowledge that it deserves a marginally higher place in the pecking order. Let’s see… Let’s Dance – move aside.

Ahem. --Sean Egan

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bacchus TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2016
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Please note: Amazon appear to be bundling reviews of David Bowie's Deram album entitled David Bowie and ones on RCA (AKA "Space Oddity") with the same title. This is a review of the Deram one from 1967. I will be reviewing the Space Oddity recording in due course and append the same caveat.

Although I have always enjoyed listinging the David Bowie's music (certainly the 1970s stuff), his death has led me to start exploring his work from the beginning.

Here is the self titled debut album released in 1967 when David Bowie was only 20. It was not a great commercial success and Decca/Deram dropped him. His subsequent work is very different and it is hard to link it with the music he made in the following decade. So should anyone take time to find out what it is like?

After listening to this album four times this weekend, the answer for me is emphatically yes. Yes it is different to what Bowie did the following decade but then the 1980s and later work is equally different and no-one suggest that we should not listen to that.

Furthermore, it IS a very good album in its own right. The album has a superficially breezy quality as if David Bowie is assuming a Tommy Steele or Tony Newley persona. However, the words are of a much darker hue and there are some rather disturbing lyrics concerning child murder, alien invasion etc.

The production values are also very high. Decca hired a number of very good session players. David Bowie said that his own musical knowledge was limited (derived from a crash-reading of the Observer's Book of Music) and he expected the session musicians to leave in disgust and the silly things he asked them to do.
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Format: Audio CD
Whilst this album will not be to everybody's tastes due to it's sheer eccentricity and whimsy, best explained in other reviews here, I have to say that this is a superb repackage. The sound quality is excellent. The remastering is of the highest order - no unnecessary pumping or squashing of the dynamics that is sadly inflicted on too many albums today in order to make them "louder" hence the music here breathes as it should. It was always a very well recorded album thanks to producer Mike Vernon and legendary engineer Gus Dudgeon. So this really does sparkle.

The accompanying booklet is richly detailed with recording dates and a most interesting timeline that helps place this album and singles into the context of the times. It's great to finally have the early BBC sessions and the new stereo remixes are brilliant. After 43 years, the Gnome finally laughs in true stereo!

I give this 5 stars because this is how such reissues should be done. Genuine time and care went into making this the final word on this album. The music may indeed not be everybody's cup of tea but I guess if you're reading this, then you are interested and have knowledge of how strange this album is. Great value for money. Couldn't ask for anything more from a reissue.
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Format: Audio CD
When Ziggy Stardust rode high in the charts, Bowie's old record company, Decca, reminded everyone that Bowie had been with them first and started the first of countless reissues of this album and its associated outtakes. The Laughing Gnome even made it to number 6 in the charts when rereleased in 1973, to Bowie's embarrassment, and this decidely uncool material became Bowie's equivalent of naked baby pictures being shown to countless prospective girlfriends. As a consequence of Bowie's subsequent fame, Decca continued to either dupe or delight (depending on your opinion) the more curious fan with these songs of Edwardian whimsy and nursery rhyme simplicity. There cannot be any Bowie fan alive who has not heard at least some of this material and as a result it is arguable that these songs have made their way into as many budding popstar's formative playlists as the Velvet Underground's Banana Album. However, there is a strong case for looking a little more carefully at this material: how could the man who changed British music forever make this cringe-inducing nonsense? And why were these albums not thrown away on a first hearing but cherished as a guilty pleasure by all who bought them?

For a start, the production values of this album are actually very high with most songs benefitting from orchestral arrangements. There are more than a few beautiful melodies and hooks that get inside your head. Also, what Bowie was doing in 1967 was not a million miles from the cutting edge. It was released on the same day as Sergeant Pepper which was another album of Edwardian foppishness which was a significant trend of mid-60's London.
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Format: Audio CD
For those Bowie fans who have the original vinyl, reissued vinyl, cassette, CD, Deram Anthology CD etc - the great news is the re-mastering and overall sound on this is CD is STUNNING...

Much has been written about the style of this album over the last 44 years which I will not regurgitate (Anthony Newley mimic, Pink Floyd influenced, Tommy Steele wannabee). What is valid is that it splits the Bowie fan base like Marmite - people seemingly love it or hate it which is probably down to the fact that he is largely backed by an orchestral arrangement.

At the time of writing this album (and the included "bolt-on" songs) Bowie was being persuaded by his manager to write music from what he was observing rather than the "Love, love, love" route of the Beatles. He had been handed a copy of the Velvet Underground album and this influence is clear to hear throughout and on the bonus tracks (yes, Laughing Gnome has a similar riff to "Waiting for the Man"!)

The result is each song is a small cleverly woven story with a subject matter featuring stress or isolation (Uncle Arthur, Rubber Band, She's Got Medals, Little Bombardier, Maid of Bond Street), childhood simplicity (There is a Happy Land, Silly Boy Blue, Come and Buy my Toys, When I Live my Dream) or the simply bizarre.

Bowie's vocal accents change throughout the album (South London, American, upper crust English) and it's the first time he takes on different personas to get his clever lyrics over.

The album can have that "What the...?" on first listening but most people that I know that own it grow to love it on repeated listening, mainly because the songs come to life and undoubtedly could have gone on to form concept albums of their own.
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