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DAVID BOWIE

David Bowie

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David Bowie David Bowie album cover
2.48 | 143 ratings | 9 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1967

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Uncle Arthur (2:07)
2. Sell Me A Coat (2:58)
3. Rubber Band - Version 2 (2:17)
4. Love You Till Tuesday (3:09)
5. There Is A Happy Land (3:11)
6. We Are Hungry Men (2:58)
7. When I Live My Dream - Version 1 (3:22)
8. Little Bombardier (3:24)
9. Silly Boy Blue (3:48)
10. Come And Buy My Toys (2:07)
11. Join The Gang (2:17)
12. She's Got Medals (2:23)
13. Maid Of Bond Street (1:43)
14. Please Mr. Gravedigger - Version 2 (2:35)

Total time 38:19

Line-up / Musicians

- David Bowie / vocals, guitar, sax, arrangements

With:
- Arthur Greenslade / arrangements (3,4,7)
- Derek "Dek" Fearnley / bass, arrangements
- Derek Boyes / organ
- John Eager / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Gerald Fearnley (photo)

LP Deram - DML 1007 (1967, UK) Mono version
LP Deram - SML 1007 (1967, UK) Stereo
LP Deram ‎- DES 18003 (1967, US) Stereo, Ommits tracks 6 & 13

CD London Records ‎- 800 087-2 (1983, Europe)
CD Deram ‎- 800 087-2 (1988, Europe) Remastered by Anthony Hawkins
CD Deram ‎- 532 908-6 (2010, Europe) Remastered by Pete Mew with Tris Penna

Thanks to Seyo for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

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DAVID BOWIE David Bowie ratings distribution


2.48
(143 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(9%)
9%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (39%)
39%
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)
12%

DAVID BOWIE David Bowie reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars FROM DAVID JONES TO DAVID BOWIE

David Robert Jones was thirteen years old while he got his first instrument : a saxophone. At fifteen, he will play at a Christmas ball with a band called "George & The Dragons". After a fight with his bandmate Georges Underwood, he will have serious problems with one of his eye which will never been solved. He will have to live with one green eye and a blue one. At this time, he had no clue how much this detail will have an influence on his later image.

In 1963 (while he was sixteen), he was working in the centre of London and often went to the Marquee club to listen to the Stones or the Yardbirds and couldn't wait to get a band. He sung as a solo artist for a few months and formed a couple of bands which will have a very short life ("The Buzz", "David Jones & The King Bees"). A single will be recorded with the latter in 1964 but with absolutely no commercial success.

A couple of bands later, a new single was released with "The Manish Boys" with the same results.In the late 65, a TV programme is underway in the US. "The Monkees" were born. Their singer's name is Davy Jones. To avoid confusion, our David will change from name. He thought of David.Bowie.

1965 ends as it had started: a complete disaster and no recognition at all. But, he met someone very important for his later career. His new manager Ken Pitt. He was the one whom had him signed a contract at Deram in the late 66 (Marc Bolan and Cat Stevens were already signed artists there). So while Cat was releasing a huge success ("Matthew &Son"), David was releasing "Rubber Band". A complete and deserved flop.

In the midst of the psychedelic revolution, David remained totally resistant to it and was sticking to a more folkish approach. His debut album is a collection of naïve songs with a very thin skeleton.

It is difficult to mention the worst one. Maybe "Uncle Arthur", or "Rubber Band".Highlights are non existent but I guess that "Love You Till Tuesday" is the more decent one. The lyrics of "We Are Hungry Men" are also interesting. It features a politician who wants to fight against the over-population imposing "infertility". But the crowd doesn't pay attention and say: "We are hungry men. We don't give a damn for what you're saying, We're here to eat you".

The closing number shows some good dose of humour. "Please Mr. Gravedigger" is a theatric piece of music in which David is more acting than singing.

His debut album was well received amongst some critics but is another commercial failure. David is rather desperate and decided to spend some time learning more about Buddhism. He already wrote a song about it ("Silly Boy Blue"). Another interesting song thanks to the lyrics.

If it weren't for his later career, no one would talk about this album which is not good at all. Only early days fans and completionists can be interested by this "document". If you are not amongst them, just pass your way for better things to come.

Review by Dobermensch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Yeah, so what - the cover is diabolical. But you know, I think this is a great record, far better than 'Space Oddity' which was released two years later. I've got the cd version of this which runs for almost 80 mins! and it includes 'The Laughing Gnome' and singles from that era of Bowie's that everyone seems to hate- Hooray! It's Bowie being Un-Bowie. A one off, scatty, light hearted masterpiece. It's got nothing on 'Ziggy' or 'Scary Monsters'. Take it for what it is - funny, goofy and cheery. It's not often you can say that about Bowie. The way in which the songs are structured always reminds me of Syd Barrett's Floyd - and no-one gave them a hard time about 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' afterwards, did they? Fair enough, 'Sell me a Coat' and 'Silly Boy Blue' are a bit pants. Bowie even gets his sitar out on 'Come and Buy my Toys'. And on 'Please Mr Gravedigger' he's coughing and hacking away like Wilfrid Brambell's 'Albert Steptoe' while digging a grave for a ten year old girl that he's just killed! So cheer up misery guts and stop being so po-faced about this album. Bowie's biggest mistake with this record was the hideous front cover, not the music within!
Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The first thing that jumps out at me regarding this album is just how hard Bowie is trying to look like contemporary (Between the Buttons-era) Mick Jagger on this album cover. The hair, the sweater, the slight sneer, it's basically dead on. Were they hoping somebody would look at this album cover and think for a second Jagger had released a solo album? Seems like an odd thing given that the "David Bowie" name was right next to the picture.

Bowie's "debut," of course, wasn't really his debut; he'd been trying to make his mark since 1964, jumping from style to style with one failed single after another, but this was the first time he'd recorded enough tracks in a single general style to have enough for an album. There's an expanded re-release floating around, extensively covering all of his mid-to-late-60's attempts at music-making, but I'm content to have my single-CD 12-track release. As for the music, this is Bowie trying to make a Something Else/Between the Buttons-style musichall/Brit-pop collection, but not really succeeding. His singing needed a lot of work at this point; the opening "la la"'s in "Sell Me a Coat" are the worst example, but there are more than a couple of moments on the album that make it obvious that Bowie wasn't going to have any success along the path of croon-balladeering. The music is full of "cute" (read: stupid) sound effects like the British announcer at the beginning of "We Are Hungry Men," the lyrics are extremely childish in an unimpressive way (he's clearly gunning for a Ray Davies or Syd Barrett approach, but failing), and the music has pretty much no grounding in rock music whatsoever.

Still, while I don't like this album much, I can't really hate it either. "Love You Till Tuesday" is a fun orchestrated pop song, and his "da-da-da-dum" singing is a terrific touch. Other songs are all afflicted by an excessive amount of twee or by silly lyrics or by silly sound effects, but it's hard to point to any one particular song and go "Man, this is horrible." Taken in other contexts, the songs on here could have made cute diversions; put together, the effect is a little underwhelming. If you're a major Bowie historian, you'll want this or one of the expanded releases of this, but regular Bowie fans could probably do fine just to find "Love You Till Tuesday" on a compilation or something.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Not exactly where you should start with Bowie, his debut album catches him with one foot in the past and one with the future. On the one hand, you have songs in an old-fashioned easy listening style with interesting, off-beat lyrics such as The Little Bombardier (a ballad about a lonely ex-soldier accused of pedophilia) and Love You Till Tuesday (the cheeky song of a creepy stalker whose infatuation doesn't last the week), and on the other you have songs tied in with the trends of the day - whether it's the mild psych of Join the Gang or the orchestal-trippy Silly Boy Blue or the folky Come and Buy Me Toys - with stilted, cliched lyrics.

Occasionally Bowie manages to be musically modern and lyrically adept, as on We Are Hungry Men or She's Got Medals; other times he manages to be lyrically stilted and musically out of date - the worst possible combination in this case (When I Live My Dream is unbelievably sappy). Either way, he's all over the place. His old-fashioned tracks try out tricks that have already been performed better by others, and his more modern tracks have only a hazy contact with modern trends. Some kudos should be given for his efforts to bring more classical instrumentation into 60s pop, but let's face it - the Moody Blues did it better.

It's a pleasant enough listen, don't get me wrong; my favourite songs are probably the cross- dressing rock story She's Got Medals or the nostalgia-inducing There Is a Happy Land (though the latter's a guilty pleasure, considering how sappy it is), though the gloomy poetry of Please Mr Gravedigger is also striking. It's just that, well, Bowie's still trying to work out who he is and what he wants to do here. His next album isn't a classic either, but at it least had some kind of direction and focus.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "David Bowie" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by UK artist David Bowie. The album was released through Deram Records in June 1967.

Most listenerns are probably familiar with early "David Bowie", because of his breakthrough album "Space Oddity (1969)", but the music on this album is a far cry from the music style on "Space Oddity (1969)". While the music may not be as interesting or adventurous as the music on it's successor, "David Bowie" is still a pretty fascinating psychadelic tinged rock album. Especially the storytelling type lyrics which feature both humourous, odd and at times quite dark themes, are greatly enjoyable. How about "Uncle Arthur", which tells the story about a guy who after a short fling with a girl, who can't cook a decent meal, moves back in with his mother or the rather bizarre "Please Mr. Gravedigger".

The instrumentation is probably where the album could have been a bit more interesting. David Bowie does toy with both waltz time, citar, tuba, and some sound effects too, but most tracks are still clearly singer/songwriter styled with an acoustic guitar and vocals as the foundation. Not that it's necessarily an issue when the tracks are as charming as these generally are, but some of these tracks almost beg for more elaborate arrangements. When the tracks feature more elaborate arrangements, itīs often because of excessive use of strings and the string arrangements are often so dominant that they seldom do the tracks any favours.

While "David Bowie" is overall a promising debut album, itīs still a bit of an oddity in his discography (although there are plenty of those), and he would go on to release more interesting material only a few years down the line. However if you enjoy early Pink Floyd psychadelia (the least distorted tracks) or 1966 - 1967 The Beatles, this could easily be an album you'd be able to appreciate. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Review by Necrotica
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Chapter I: Trends of the Times

David Bowie. The man, the myth, the legend. A trendsetter. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist. An innovator. A legend of musical and visual reinvention. It seems the world has become a darker place since Bowie's death on January 10, and emotional recollections and tributes regarding his work surfaced all over the world in the wake of his passing. And why not? Of his 25-album career, at least a quarter of that work can safely be considered ground- breaking and legendary in the world of popular music. The Rise of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was a seminal piece of glam rock that gave birth to the iconic titular alter ego, Low and 'Heroes' saw Bowie bringing krautrock and ambient music to the masses, and now we've got his final effort Blackstar combining art rock with jazz in unique and fascinating ways. Why do I bring all of this up? Because it's interesting to think that such a trendsetter had such humble and derivative beginnings.

David Bowie's self-titled debut (not to be confused with his 1969 self-titled effort) is pretty much baroque pop with elements of folk rock and music hall. Right from the first track 'Uncle Arthur,' you can tell that Bowie was heavily influenced by artists such as The Beatles and Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys both musically and vocally around this time. The music hall influences are a lot more prominent here, however, and quite a few songs (most notably 'Rubber Band,' 'Little Bombardier,' and 'Maid of Bond Street') and have brass-based orchestration of some sort. There's an oddly bubbly and whimsical tone to the whole record, even during some of the darkest and most morbid subject matter; most songs sound quite innocent, like the sweetly upbeat and somewhat tongue-in-cheek 'Love You till Tuesday' or the tale of a land children inhabit apart from their elders in 'There Is a Happy Land,' but then there's a song like 'We Are Hungry Men' which talks about infanticide and abortion! Either way, the quirky tone of the album doesn't always mesh well in situations like these. Another problem is that the record sounds so inoffensive and boring during other parts that the songs run together after a while. There's not much variety; when you pick a song from this album, you usually get either of these: a quirky music hall song, a more subdued folk rock number, or a Beatles-influenced baroque pop tune. There's not much beyond that.

However, a few things stand out. First of all, the acoustic guitar playing tends to be fantastic on this album. 'Come and Buy My Toys' is a big highlight in this regard, frequently switching between whimsy and subdued melancholy with the very same instrument (the acoustic guitar is also the only instrument on this song other than the bass). There's also a fair amount of experimentation in a few songs, which would ultimately hint at Bowie's more innovative work. 'Join the Gang' combines a vintage piano sound with a sitar while its tempo creates a generally frantic and energetic atmosphere, and the closer 'Please Mr. Gravedigger' is an oddly somber and minimalistic a cappella number sung over the backdrop of a thunderstorm. If we had more of these songs to break up the general monotony of the cheerier pop/rock numbers, I think this would have been a more interesting and notable release in David Bowie's discography. However, aside from a larger emphasis on music hall elements, this is basically an average baroque pop record that does little beyond what many of Bowie's 60s peers were doing at the time. It's not really a bad record, just not the most interesting album compared to what Bowie could do in the future. Luckily, his next piece of work showcases a huge leap forward in both creativity and distinctiveness as an artist.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Latest members reviews

3 stars "David Bowie" may be mostly suitable for fans but it's a fun, lighthearted album. It's not up there with anything at his creative peak in the 70's, but what is? We are talking, not only classics here, but influential records, important in music history. "David Bowie" is probably, well ceratainly ... (read more)

Report this review (#430685) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Well, we all had to start somewhere. In the case of one of the biggest icons in the pop/rock world, the start was a naive, charming album. I had expected a worse album than this, due to it's reputation. This album is also regarded as David Bowie's false start. His Space Oddity album is regard ... (read more)

Report this review (#294385) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Talk about a shaky start. This album, if you are used to Bowie's classic material, will seem very dated and quaint. The relatively simplistic pop songs are not very sophisticated. That said, there are a few surprises that make this worth buying, even if just for interest in Bowie's roots. Anothe ... (read more)

Report this review (#174969) | Posted by burtonrulez | Monday, June 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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