Which means, of course, “David Robert Jones 4 Life.”
Sorry I spend so much (all) of my time blogging here about David Bowie, but the man is fresh on my mind. I do owe a lot of my personal and intellectual freedom to the man. That freedom to be yourself, and all. In high school, you know (when I was in it, the way I wrote that, you’d think I’m IN high school. i just got my COLLEGE ALUMNI ID CARD for goodness’ sake). Anyways, there’s no one to look up to to put up a fight for. Like when I grew my hair out (and wore fur coats and petticoats for shirts), and kids threw me into lockers, it’s easy to think yourself friendless. But then you have the age-old moment of staring at a picture of Ziggy Stardust and knowing it’s all okay.
HA! That is the funniest thing I have ever written.
Anyways, I had a point to all this. Recently a tape reel went up on eBay, declaring itself recorded on August 13th, 1974 at Sigma Sound Studios, and also declaring itself to be a recording of a rehearsal by David Bowie. (all images and audio files are hosted and found by the lovely people at The Illustrated DB Discography)
Now, all the song titles check out in Bowie lore. Young Americans and After Today we all know, of course. I Am A Lazer is a song Bowie wrote for Ava Cherry, one of his backup singers he was a little involved with. Shilling The Rubes is an exciting name to see as it’s long been known to be a working title of Young Americans, the album.
But still, too good to be true, right? Yes and no.
The no, first. Snippets were then culled from the reel. And they are so 100% and Fantastically real that it’s chilling! The glimpse into the working world of DB is astounding to have, not to mention the fact that the songs themselves sound INCREDIBLE. Shilling The Rubes in particular sounds like the beginnings of a great lost-classic-type of song. Here are the snippets (again, hosted by the DB discog site):
It certainly is not every day when we get to hear songs culled from the Bowie archives that aren’t intended to ever see the light of day, let alone when we encounter songs we didn’t even knew he wrote!
So, like I said earlier, there is a part of this that’s too good to be true. Before the auction could take place, and before a supposed second reel could be put up for sale, word is that Bowie’s lawyers got involved and asked for the reels to be returned. It looks like these minute-snippets are all we’re going to get, unless some divining angel intervenes.
Who knows, though! We did get those Trident ’72 sessions last year, and the recent Space Oddity 40th Anniversary edition had some unreleased jams on it (the whole set sounds incredible, by the way. Hearing “Conversation Piece,” one of the top five, in a new stereo mix, was totally mind-blowing).
But still, we got what we got, and what we got is terribly exciting!