Friday, February 19, 2016

29 Days of Bowie: Sound + Vision

Released on September 19, 1989 by Rykodisc, Sound + Vision is a career retrospective box set of rarities, alternate takes, B-sides, and highlights that chronicles the career of David Bowie from 1969 to 1989. The release marks a period in Bowie’s career where he regained the rights of his catalog from 1969 to 1980 which would be reissued in the late 80s and early 90s through Rykodisc that would be followed by a world tour where Bowie would temporarily retire his old songs. The box set would be told in three discs into three different periods of Bowie’s career while a fourth disc would be included in an CD-video (a precursor to CD-ROM and the DVD) that would include three exclusive tracks and the video for Ashes to Ashes.

The first disc of the box set chronicles material made from Bowie’s second eponymous release to 1973’s Aladdin Sane. Album cuts such as Black Country Rock and the title track to The Man Who Sold the World, the single Changes and the song The Bewlay Brothers from Hunky Dory, Moonage Daydream from The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from the Mars, and from Aladdin Sane in Panic in Detroit and Drive-In Saturday appear in the album as well as live versions of Ziggy Stardust, White Light/White Heat, and Rock N’ Roll Suicide from the Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars live/soundtrack album do appear. Yet, the rarities in the first disc include mono versions of London Bye Ta-Ta and the 1970 version of The Prettiest Star w/ Marc Bolan on guitar. B-sides such as the single version of Wild-Eyed Boy from Freecloud, a cover of Chuck Berry’s Round and Round, and the sax version of John, I’m Only Dancing. The big rarity in the first disc is a 1969 demo of Space Oddity that includes some additional vocals and sound effects from toy-keyboard known as the stylophone.

The second disc chronicles the period from Pin Ups to Station to Station as singles and album cuts like Sorrow, Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, and Don’t Bring Me Down from Pin Ups, Big Brother from Diamond Dogs, the title track to Young Americans, TVC 15 and Wild is the Wind from Station to Station appear as well as live versions of Suffragette City, Watch That Man, and Cracked Actor from David Live make appearance for the second disc. The rarities include tracks like 1984/Dodo, a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City, the Young Americans outtake After Today, a U.S. single version of Rebel Rebel, and an alternate vocal take on the song Fascination from Young Americans as it features a different mix in some of the instrumentation from the album.

The third disc of the box set covers the period from the Berlin Trilogy Bowie did with Brian Eno to 1980’s Scary Monsters. While material such as Sound & Vision, Be My Wife, and Speed of Life from Low, Joe the Lion and Sons of the Silent Age from “Heroes”, Red Sails, Look Back in Anger, and Boys Keep Swinging from Lodger, and Up the Hill Backwards, Kingdom Come, and Ashes to Ashes from Scary Monsters appear on the set along with live versions of Station to Station, Warszawa, and Breaking Glass from the live album Stage. The real rarity is a full-length of the song “Heroes” that is sung in German called “Helden” as it is one of the finest versions of the song that is something fans must hear. From the box set’s fourth disc that features the video of Ashes to Ashes are three live rarities in John, I’m Only Dancing, Changes, and The Supermen from a 1972 show at Boston Music Hall in Boston.

The 2003 four-disc remastered/expanded edition of the box set from EMI doesn’t just bring more to the set but would cover everything else Bowie did from the early 80s to 1993’s soundtrack to The Buddha of Suburbia. In the first disc that covers everything from Bowie’s second album to Pin Ups, added to the first disc are an expanded version of the single for Wild-Eyed Boy from Freecloud with a spoken intro and a stereo mix of London Bye Ta-Ta that replaces the mono version from the original box set. In the second disc that covers material from Diamond Dogs to “Heroes”, the alternate vocal mix of Fascination is replaced by its original album version while the third disc, that chronicles the period from Stage to 1983’s Let’s Dance, features two songs from the Baal EP in Baal’s Hymn and The Drowned Girl as well as album cuts from Let’s Dance in China Girl and Ricochet as well as Loving the Alien and Dancing with the Big Boys from Tonight.

The major exclusive in the third disc of the 2003 version of the box set is a live version of Modern Love from its single of the same name and the original version of Cat People with Giorgio Moroder for the 1982 film of the same name. The fourth disc of the box set is where much of the new material of the box set is added such as Blue Jean from Tonight, Time Will Crawl from Never Let Me Down, and several songs Bowie did as part of Tin Machine. From its first album, Baby Can Dance, Amazing, and I Can’t Read while songs from the second album include Shopping for Girls, Goodbye Mr. Ed, and Amlapura. Other noted album cuts in the fourth disc include Jump They Say and You’ve Been Around from Black Tie White Noise and three cuts from The Buddha of Suburbia in its title track, Dead Against It, and South Horizon. The fourth disc also include remixes such as two remixes of Pallas Antheas that delved into the world of house music and a remix of the Walker Brothers’ song Nite Flights.

Sound + Vision is an incredible retrospective box set from David Bowie. While it doesn’t offer a lot in terms of rare and exclusive material, it is still something that fans of his work must have as it’s a set that really does a lot to cover Bowie extensively in his career. Even as the 2003 box set manages to do great work in expanding the material despite a few bumps from his work in the 80s. In the end, Sound + Vision is a remarkable box set from David Bowie.

Studio Releases: David Bowie (1967 album) - David Bowie (1969 album) - The Man Who Sold the World - Hunky Dory - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - Aladdin Sane - Pin Ups - Diamond Dogs - Young Americans - Station to Station - Low - "Heroes" - Lodger - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - Let’s Dance - Tonight - Never Let Me Down - Tin Machine - Tin Machine II - Black Tie White Noise - Outside - Earthling - ‘Hours…’ - Heathen - Reality - The Next Day - *

Live Releases: David Live - Stage - Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars - Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby - Bowie at the Beeb - (Live at Fashion Rocks (w/ Arcade Fire)) - (Live Santa Monica ‘72) - (Glass Spider Live) - (VH1 Storytellers) - (A Reality Tour)

Soundtracks: Christiane F. - Labyrinth - The Buddha of Suburbia

Miscellaneous: Peter and the Wolf - Baal - (Early On (1964-1966) - (All Saints) - Toy - (Nothing Has Changed)

© thevoid99 2016

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