Monday, 28 May 2018

David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World (1970)



Released November 1970

Recorded at Trident Studios, London

Perhaps even more overlooked than its predecessor. This was Bowie's "heaviest" album. Led Zeppelin and Free were strutting all around in 1970-71 so I guess Bowie felt the need to go heavy too. Pity that his reedy voice couldn’t really match the heavy backing in the way that Robert Plant’s or Paul Rodgers’ could, though.  Nevertheless, this is still a little-mentioned gem. (Above are the 1972 repackaged cover images, and below, the original ones).


1. The Width Of A Circle
2. All The Madmen
3. Black Country Rock
4. After All
5. Running Gun Blues
6. Saviour Machine
7. She Shook Me Cold
8. The Man Who Sold The World
9. The Supermen

The new 2015 remastering is top notch. Great bass sound on the wonderful, drawn-out intro to the truly magnificent "The Width Of A Circle". Drums and Tony Visconti’s impressive bass are to the fore on this album. The powerful "Running Gun Blues", the metally "Saviour Machine”, with its odd “fade-in”, and the equally heavy "She Shook Me Cold" are slabs of powerful rock and the more recently iconic title track has never sounded better. Sharp as a knife. The “pet subject” around this time of mental health was covered in “All The Madmen” and “After All”.

The title track, which was a hit for Lulu in 1974, is a Bowie classic too. Or certainly has become so, latterly. Unique “cheese grater” percussion sound.

Bowie would return to acoustic, folky rock for the next album, “Hunky Dory”, and we would never hear him play material like this again.

Incidentally, I much prefer the black and white “high kick” cover that we had in the UK when this was re-released in 1972 to the “man in a dress” one now used.


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