David Bowie – Karma Man (The Second Deram Album)

Normally I would only look to share one what-if album a month because they take a bit longer to put together than the compilations I post. However, the lockdown has given me a little bit more time and this particular piece also fits in nicely with the recent posts about Bowie that went online in February and April. 

Bowie did not see much in the way of success during the 60s, but he was laying down the groundwork for what would come later. He reeled a number of singles on the Vocalion Pop, Parlophone and Pye labels but none of them troubled the charts. Even with these singles behind him, he managed to secure a deal with Deram, a subsidiary of Decca Records. He released three singles and one album whilst on the label but none were chart hits, even though The Laughing Gnome made number 6 in the UK when it was re-released in 1973. The majority of these records were released in 1967, which was one of the most experimental years for music but this curious mix of music hall/ Anthony Newley style numbers fell on deaf ears. Bowie wrote a number of new songs and presented them to the label as potential singles but they were rejected effectively ending his association with Deram & Decca. However, this compilation looks at what might have happened if these songs had not been rejected and Bowie continued to be a Deram recording artist into 1968. 

Even though the recording sessions for the follow-up album were meant to start in the Spring of 1968, I have taken a view that anything that was demoed in that year could be used. I have also discounted any song that was used on the 1969 ‘David Bowie’ album as well, so no Space Oddity I’m afraid. What we have here is a solid, if not spectacular album which is a little rough around the edges, but that was down to the fact that very few of these songs were actually recorded in a studio. Most are simply demos. Would these songs have been changed once Bowie brought them into the studio? Who knows, but what we have here is a rough idea of what a second Bowie on Deram album would have been like, with accompanying singles. 

London, Bye, Ta, Ta – Originally this song was going to be the B-Side of the unreleased ‘In The Heat of the Morning’ single, but it sounded like a great place to start the album off and would have been wasted on the flip of a seven inch. It looks at how London is changing and has become something of a strange young town to the song’s narrator. 

Mother Grey – The influence of Ray Davies on Bowie’s early songwriting was evident on his debut album. With the release of these 1967/8 demos, you can see that Bowie had still not got all of this out of his system with Mother Grey. The song covers the domestic drudgery of Mother Grey as she cleans the house, makes dinner and polishes the picture frame of the son who has moved out of the family home. Similar to Ray Davies’ ‘Two Sisters’ then. 

The Reverend Raymond Brown (Attends The Garden Fete On Thatchwick Green) – This would not have sounded out of place on his debut album, seeing as it follows a cast of characters in an imaginary village. Various characters are mentioned including Rev. Brown who leads the village band during a fete whilst lusting after a local beauty and the local women gossiping about Sally who has got herself pregnant. All a bit Ray Davies. 

Goodbye Threepenny Jones – An observation song from Bowie where he watches a performing  artist performing a show with stories of sadness and despair. Bowie’s companion is heard laughing during these stories and then Joe is thanked for the show and asked not to come again. 

Angel, Angel, Grubby Face – Would this one have made the cut if the second album sessions had gone ahead, seeing as it has a very similar melody line (in places) to London, Bye, Ta, Ta? This song looks at the hustle and bustle of city life with the relatively peacefulness of the countryside. The Village Green Preservation Society before it came out I suppose. 

When I’m Five – Bowie must have thought highly of this song at the time because he not only recorded a studio version, but he also cut a version at the BBC for a radio session. This BBC version would be used as the soundtrack to the short promo film ‘Love You ‘Till Tuesday’. Is it a song for children, or just a child. Bowie sings as though he were a child and would have been this album’s ‘Laughing Gnome’.  

Ching-A-Ling – For a short time in 1968, Bowie was part of a folk trio with Hermione Farthingale (his girlfriend at the time) and initially Tony Hill who was soon replaced by John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson. The only known studio recording session completed by the band was ‘Ching-A-Ling’ which producer Tony Visconti had booked without the approval of Bowie’s management as a way of getting a record contract. As it was, it didn’t. Bowie would record another demo in 1969 but that would be the last time he revisited the song. 

Love All Around – A lovely Bowie melody that seems to be a love song, but some of the lyrics in the chorus are a bit hard to hear due to his enthusiastic strumming. This causes the recording to become a bit distorted in places.  

The Mirror – Bowie spent time studying mime with Lindsey Kemp and this would be a source of income for him between 1967 and 1969. Kemp asked Bowie to write some songs for a show he was putting on called ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ and this is one of those songs. The only known recording of these songs date from 1970 when the Pierrot show was broadcast on the BBC under the title of ‘The Looking Glass Murders’. These date from the time period of the second Deram Album and one of the songs, ‘Threepenny Pierrot’ was re-written to be London, Bye, Ta, Ta. 

Karma Man – Bowie had been studying Buddhism since the mid 60s and this song looks at a man who sits crossed legged with all of his world possessions on him. That being his clothes and beads. Could it be Bowie commenting on capitalism or just putting forward what he had seen from his studies of Buddhism? This song looks to have taken inspiration from Syd Barrett without sounding too much like the one time Pink Floyd front man. 

Love Song – When Hermione Farthingale broke up with Bowie and left Feathers, he and ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson continued to record demos and play the odd gig together. When they recorded a demo tape, it included a number of Bowie originals as well as a couple of covers. Bowie would include covers in a number of his early 70’s LPs including this song. Love Song written by Lesley Duncan; who the musicians can be heard talking about at the beginning of the song as she was a back-up singer for Dusty Springfield at that time. 

Life Is A Circus – Another song from the Feathers demo tape. This was originally recorded by an obscure folk group called Djinn. Bowie may well have come across them as Djinn had asked Tony Visconti to be their producer. It would be this demo tape that secured Bowie a contract with Mercury Records. 

Let Me Sleep Beside You – A blatant attempt at a hit single, and would have made a good A-side so it keeps that position here. Artists didn’t always put singles on their albums in the 1960’s. With some suggestive lyrics about a girl now being a woman, this was rejected by his label because of the song’s message. Strange as this was the label that in January 1967, had allowed The Rolling Stones to release “Let’s Spend the Night Together’. I suppose the difference being that the Stones sold a lot of records and Bowie, at this stage, had not. 

Columbine – Another song from the ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ project. 

In The Heat Of The Morning – One of the songs put forward by Bowie to Dream as a potential single. This was one of the first recordings Bowie made with Tony Visconiti and this, like ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’, was Bowie looking for a more commercial sound. Deram were not impressed though and the working relationship between the label and Bowie came to an end. 

April’s Tooth Of Gold – A song detailing young people and their interesting fashion sense and the older generation not having a clue as to what is going on. The characters and language used may well have been out of date by the time of the second album sessions, so relegation to a B-Side would have been a fitting home for it. The strumming is a bit reminiscent of Autumn Almanac by The Kinks.  

The release of ‘Conversation Piece’ in 2019 shows the leap that Bowie made between his two self titled albums was not as great as would first appear. With the demos opening a door on a songwriter honing his craft, would a second Dream album have allowed Bowie the development time to make that leap? Maybe, maybe not. 

Some of Bowie’s earlier material can be heard on the Songs of David Bowie podcast. http://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/episode-87-the-songs-of-david-bowie/

Side 1

London, Bye, Ta Ta – 1

Mother Grey – 2

The Reverend Raymond Brown (Attends The Garden Fete On Thatchwick Green) – 2

Goodbye Threepenny Joe – 2

Angel, Angel, Grubby Face – 2

When I’m Five – 1

Side B

Ching-A-Ling – 2

Love All Around – 2

The Mirror – 3

Karma Man – 1

Love Song – 2

Life Is A Circus – 2

Singles

A – Let Me Sleep Beside You – 1

B – Columbine – 3

A – In The Heat Of The Morning – 1

B – April’s Tooth Of Gold – 3         

Key

1 – Taken from David Bowie (1967) Deluxe Edition

2 – Taken from Conversation Piece

3 – Demo from Looking Glass Murders (Currently Unreleased)

The cover of this compilation is adapted from The Dream Anthology release from 1997. 

Due to the still unreleased nature of some of these songs, it has not been possible to produce a Spotify playlist

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The Beatles – Another Collection of Beatles Oldies

In this post, I will continue with my alternative history of The Beatles with a follow up to the 1966 collection, A Collection of Beatles Oldies. 

With The Beatles officially no more by the end of 1970, EMI had potentially lost a very lucrative cash cow. The individual members releasing a number of solo albums and singles throughout the early years of the 1970s, which did sell a significant amount of units, offset this somewhat. However what-if EMI had decided in its infinite wisdom to produce an LP for Christmas 1970 which followed on from their previous compilation, A Collection of Beatles Oldies. It would use the same format as the previous volume so it would include B-Sides, a few unreleased songs from the archive with a couple of rarities thrown in for good measure.

Rain (Mono) – Left off of the previous volume for being released the same year as the A Collection of Beatles Oldies compilation. Originally released as the B-Side to the Paperback Writer single.

Baby You’re A Rich Man (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the All You Need Is Love single.

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Let It Be single. Even though the single came out in 1970, the initial recording sessions for this song were started in 1967 and sounds more in tune with the psychedelic songs of that year than the more straightforward music the band were producing when it eventually saw the light of day. 

The Inner Light (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Lady Madonna single.  

I Am The Walrus (US Mono single mix) – This version of the song includes an extra bar of music before the words ‘yellow matter custard’. The UK version was an edit of the first half of Take 10 with Take 22. This was the version released on the B-Side of the Hello, Goodbye single and the Magical Mystery Tour EP. It would seem that Capitol Records in the US were sent an unedited tape of Take 22. 

Penny Lane (Stereo) – This dates from the 1980 US Rarities, so it could be said to be a little out of the time frame of this record, but this is a unique version worthy of inclusion here (and who’s to say that someone might have done the same thing in 1970 anyway). This was a combination of the stereo version of the song, which American audiences had not heard up to that time with some additional piccolo trumpet at the songs conclusion which had been heard on US promotional copies of the single.

Revolution (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side of the Hey Jude single. 

Across The Universe (Mono) – This version was released on the charity album, ‘No One Gonna Change My World’. This version had some added sound effects added to make it fit into theme of the record, which was released to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund. 

Don’t Let Me Down (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Get Back single. 

Old Brown Shoe (Stereo) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Ballad of John & Yoko single. 

Not Guilty (Full Length Version – Stereo) – Recorded during the sessions for The Beatles ‘White Album’. One of the last songs to be left off of the album, it was felt by Lennon especially, that airing the bands dirty laundry in public would not be beneficial to their public image. Listen to the song’s lyrics and you will see what he means. Harrison said that the song was a reference to the band’s trip to India, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the lavish launch of Apple Corps, which he had missed due to spending time with Ravi Shankar instead of returning more quickly from a trip to Asia. The song was legendary with Beatles fans during the 70s due to it being a known, but not heard outtake. Harrison did record a solo version for inclusion on his 1979 George Harrison album, but the original Beatles version did not see the light of day until 1996, and even then, it was in edited format. The full-length version would not be officially released until 2018. 

Christmas Time Is Here Again (Mono) – Between 1962 and 1969, The Beatles would release a fan club exclusive single with songs and sketches. One of those was Christmas Time (Is Here Again), which was included on the 1967 release. This is the edited version that would eventually be released to the general public as a B-Side on the 1995 Free As A Bird single. 

Side A

  1. Rain (Mono)
  2. Baby You’re A Rich Man (Mono)
  3. You Know my Name (Look Up the Number) (Mono)
  4. The Inner Light (Mono)
  5. I Am The Walrus (US Mono Single Mix)
  6. Penny Lane (US Rarities Remix Trumpet Ending Edited onto Regular Stereo Version)

Side 2

  1. Revolution (Mono)
  2. Across the Universe (Mono – No One Gonna change My World Version)
  3. Don’t Let Me Down (Mono)
  4. Old Brown Shoe (Stereo)
  5. Not Guilty (Stereo – Full Length Version)
  6. Christmas Time Is Here Again (Mono)

This playlist could not be reproduced on Spotify, as they contain songs not available on the platform at this time. The front cover is adapted from one of the rejected ideas that had been put forward for the ‘White Album’. 

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Hunters – Original Soundtrack

The first playlist of the month is something I have never done before and that is completing an Original Soundtrack album. Now, this isn’t for a film (which you might expect, but a TV show. The show in question is Hunters which looks at a group of Nazi Hunters working in the USA in 1977. The show is a curious mix of of a serious story mixed in with some lighthearted moments and you will really need to watch the programme to see what I am talking about. I really loved the music that they used and looked around to see if it had been released anywhere.  Now, TV shows don’t have the same track record of producing soundtracks in comparison to films and it would seem that this is no exception. Luckily in this day and age, there are websites that list the music from programmes such as this and I used these to help me compile this mix. I do hope that those websites are accurate and it’s too late if it isn’t. 

Before putting this together, I was inspired by the soundtracks Quentin Tarantino films have. The only thing missing would be dialogue from the films but as it turns out, that would have made the rustling album too long. I also thought that as the show is set in 1977, all of the music should have been produced on or before that year. That meant there was no place for the lovely Verse by Olfur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott which was used quite extensively and in multiple episodes. To accommodate the amount of awesome music, I felt that the album should be a double. Due to the limitations fo the vinyl format, it did mean that not every song from the show could be used. 

Being based upon the length a vinyl record did mean that the sides needed to match up in terms of play time. There was no point in having a side that lasts for 15 minutes and the other 20. This did prove a bit of a challenge as I also like the music to flow sonically as well. Even though this is not perfect in that regard, I am still happy with the end result. I wanted all of the songs to be available on Spotify so I could share this collection with you. To my surprise, Spotify had all of the songs I picked, some of which are quite obscure. It just goes to show that when it comes to Spotify, artists such as David Bowie have gaps in their collections but obscure groups such as Crowmell and 5 Spiritual Tones are represented. 

Lastly, I needed a front cover. Most of the images on line were in the same format as a movie post and do not fit in to the square associated with a record sleeve. Luckily, an image came up on the Glamsham website that was perfect. After a bit of careful editing, the cover was done. Enjoy.

Side 1

  1. Get In A Hurry – Eugene Blacknell & New Breed
  2. Put Your Head On My Shoulder – Paul Anka
  3. Baby, Do That Thing – Honey & The Bees
  4. All Along I’ve Loved You – Tony Ashley & The Delicates
  5. Evil Woman – Lou Rawls
  6. The Impossible Dream – Robert Goulet

Side 2

  1. O Caminho Do Bem – Tim Maia
  2. Lovin’ Is A Full Time Job – Jay Ramswey
  3. Show Me What You Got – Frank William’s Rocketeers
  4. Song Of A Sinner – Top Drawer

Side 3

  1. You Make Me Feel Brand New – The Stylistics
  2. Bad Situation – 5 Spiritual Tones
  3. Lonesome City – The Black Canyon Gang
  4. Oh I Wept – Free
  5. Night Moves – Bob Segar & The Silver Bullet Band

Side 4

  1. Let’s Go Fishing – Turner Brothers
  2. Down On The Town – Cromwell
  3. Nobody Knows – Pastor T. L. Barrett
  4. Oh! Sweet Nothing – Velvet Underground

Hunters OST on Spotify

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Episode 91 – Label of Love: LHI Records Part 1

The first of two shows looking at the record label owned and run by the legendary Lee Hazelwood.

  • You’ll Be Sorry Someday – The Kitchen Cinq
  • Out Of My Hands – Virgil Warner
  • You Better Go – Raul Danks & Jon Taylor
  • The Lady Barber – Lynn Castle With Last Friday’s Fire
  • Linda Owens – One Night Stand
  • Don’t Stay Long – Barney Carl
  • Something’s Happening – Last Fridays’ Fire
  • California Sunshine Girl – The Shacklefords
  • Every Way But Loose – Don Rollins
  • The Message – Buddy Long
  • Invisible People – Hamilton Streetcar
  • Does Anybody Know – A. Handful
  • Angle Of The Morning – Danny Michaels
  • Lady Bird – Virgil Warner & Suzi Jane Hokom
  • Friday’s Child – Billie Dearborn
  • Pastel Dreams – Michael Gram
  • Monkey’s Uncle – Ray Sharpe
  • It’s A Nice World To Visit (But Not To Live In) – Ann Margret
  • I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Phoenix 70
  • Drowning In A Sea Of Tears – Sandford Clark
  • Free Up (Part 1) – The Surprise Package
  • Hungry Eyes – Jon Christian

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