David Bowie – Re:Call 1 (2015)

Holy holy goldmine

“Re:Call 1” is a double album of b-sdies and “odds and ends” from the “Five years 1969-1973” mega-box era. Let’s see if we can find any interesting pieces here!

Personally, I am not very fond of single edits of songs that we also have on studio albums. I don’t see the point of slightly shorter versions of songs that I enjoy on the LPs. Also, mono edits of songs that we get in stereo are often not so up-lifting. What is up with that? Can you even hear any difference? I also don’t understand at all the need for well known songs sung in German, French or Italian. Crazy. Some songs from these groups are found on this album. But not to fret, there is other stuff also!

What I do love is to find new material on these kinds of collections. I like unreleased songs, outtakes, demos, early versions, songs from soundtracks and compilations and live tracks.

Ok, this “Re:call” album is filled to the brim with single edits and mono versions. How disappointing! Too much! There are some gems here, but it could be so much more interesting. In 1990 RYKO released all studio albums on cd and almost all included bonus songs, two to five extra songs each. Curiously “Aladdin sane” didn’t get any bonus songs. Those CDs went out of print and became sought after by the fans on the second-hand market. Luckily, I own all those versions. Very nice for me. An album of the extra songs of those RYKO discs would surpass this album easily.

“Re:all 1” is a double album. Part of the album can be seen as a “best of singles” from the era. The interesting material to me is rather scarce. On side A we have the early single version “The prettiest star” from 1971, the one with Marc Bolan on guitar. The song would much later be re-recorded for “Aladdin sane”. It’s a very exciting version! Also of interest is its b-side “Conversation piece”, not to be found on any studio album. It is a nice folky song from the sixties.

Already moving on to side B. “Memory of a free festival” in two parts are the re-worked versions produced six months after the version that is on the album. The versions are clearly different and a nice addition to this collection. “Holy holy” is very interesting addition as it’s a non-album track. Here is the original single version from 1970. The second version is included on Side D. That was re-recorded in 1971 with The Spiders from Mars and released as a b-side to “Diamond dogs” in 1974 and included on the RYKO disc. The side B is rounded off with two famous Arnold Corns songs. That was the band that eventually would become The Spiders from Mars. The songs were released by The Arnold Corns in 1971 (long before even “Hunky Dory” was released) and later they would be re-recorded with new lyrics by the guys for the “Ziggy Stardust” album in 1972.

Side C is all single edits. How boring. The interest here is “John, I’m only dancing”. The song has been released as a single three times, from three different recordings! On this “Re:Call” album we get the first recording from June 1972 as well as the saxophone version recorded in January 1973. On the “Re:Call” album for the next mega box “Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976)“ we get the third version, “John, I’m only dancing (again)” that was recorded during the “Young Americans” session in 1974 and finally released as a single in 1979. Also of interest is the “Andy Warhol” single edit that omits the studio banter and sound effects in the intro of the song.

Finally, the side D has some interesting tracks. “Round and round” is a cover of the Chuck Berry song that I got to know via “Rare”. It is not a good song, but maybe entertaining for some. “Amsterdam” is a cover of the Jaques Brel song. This is one of the top-5 best covers Bowie ever did, so it is significant. Very nice addition to this album. Bowie admired Brel but the damned bigot didn’t want to meet with him as he said Bowie was a “pédé”. I guess Brel didn’t want to meet David’s wife or kids either…

Lastly, we get the Ziggy era song “Velvet goldmine”, probably a top-10 of David’s non-album tracks. It was supposed to be included on “Ziggy Stardust” but it was bumped in favour of “Starman”. It was finally released as a b-side to the “Space oddity” single in 1975.

So about 50% of this album is really interesting and the rest are versions of album tracks that we know quite well since before. Maybe this is enough? What do you think about this collection? Happy about the content? Sound off in the comments!

My rating: 6/10

Side A:

  1. Space oddity (original UK mono single edit)
  2. Wild eyed boy from Freecloud (original UK mono single version)
  3. Ragazzo solo, ragazza sola (Italian version of ”Space oddity”)
  4. The prettiest star (original mono single version with Marc Bolan on guitar)
  5. Conversation piece (non-album track, b-side to “The prettiest star”)

Side B:

  1. Memory of a free festival (part 1)
  2. Memory of a free festival (part 2)
  3. All the madmen (mono single edit)
  4. Janine (mono version)
  5. Holy holy (non-album track, original mono single version)
  6. Moonage daydream (The Arnold Corns single version)
  7. Hang on to yourself (The Arnold Corns single version)

Side C:

  1. Changes (mono single version)
  2. Andy Warhol (mono single version)
  3. Starman (mono single mix)
  4. John, I’m only dancing (non-album track, mono single version)
  5. The Jean Genie (mono single mix)
  6. Drive-in Saturday (German single edit)

Side D:

  1. Round and round (non-album track, cover of the Chuck Berry song)
  2. John, I’m only dancing (sax version)
  3. Time (U.S. single edit)
  4. Amsterdam (non-album track, cover of the Jacques Brel song)
  5. Holy holy (Spiders version)
  6. Velvet goldmine (non-album track, b-side to the 1975 “Space oddity” single)

Most interesting tracks: “The prettiest star”, “Conversation piece”, “Holy holy” (both versions), “Moonage daydream”, “Hang on to yourself”, “John, I’m only dancing” (both versions) and “Velvet goldmine”.

Best non-album songs: “Amsterdam”, “Velvet goldmine”, “The prettiest star” (early version), “Holy holy” (Spiders version) and “John, I’m only dancing (Sax version)”

Produced by: David Bowie, Mike Moran and Tony Visconti (2003 remaster)

Media: Remastered 180 gram vinyl, reissued in 2015

Released: September 25, 2015


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