BBC Bans Bowie

LONDON: Brixton-born figurehead of the gay-rock revolution David Bowie met with a ban on footage his Mainman company supplied to the BBC for its Top of the Pops programme.

As a Mainman man, Hugh Attwooll, told Gay News: “They say it’s a matter of taste, but no-one who’d seen the last few weeks’ Top of the Pops programmes would seriously think of the BBC as an arbiter of taste.”

The footage, shot by David’s usual photographer, Mick Rock, was of Bowie and mime-king Lindsay Kemp doing a mime act to Bowie’s overtly gay single John I’m Only Dancing.

Instead of the Mainman/Mick Rock film, the BBC showed a film of people on motorcycles.

Hugh Attwooll at Mainman, said that he, too, could not see the relevance of the footage that the BBC showed.

Twelve Inches of Pleasure

All the Young Dudes — Mott the Hoople CBS 65184

Following the success of their recent single, Mott The Hoople have released a new album, their first for CBS. Having had four LP’s issued by Island, they now have changed not only their record label, but also their image. This is considerably helped by having David Bowie as their producer, who replaces Guy Stevens. And what they have come up with is their best recording to date.

Mott The Hoople, whilst suffering from poor record sales in the past, have always been a fine band to see live. Now some of this live appeal comes across on the record. Their hit single, which is also the title track of the album, All The Young Dudes, has moved them up a few rungs on the group status ladder to stardom, and this is apparently the sort of image they now want to project, that of budding little superstars. Young Dudes was written by Bowie, as is obvious by the way Ian Hunter delivers the vocal, and is up to the standard of the best material being produced by darling David.

Bowie’s influence is felt throughout the record, especially in the eclectic choice of minor rip-offs from the other groups – on Young Dudes for instance there is a Lennon/McCartney chorus melody line that Bowie is so fond of using. Also, knowing of Bowie’s present involvement with Lou Reed, the inclusion of his song, Sweet Jane, comes as no surprise.

The Mott’s playing has improved since their last release. Their sound is a lot less cluttered than before, and Mick Ralphs’ guitar playing is far more effective and precise. For instance, Ralph’s break on Jerkin’ Crocus is a superb.

The Mott’s lyrics are very sexually orientated, more than enough to upset Lord Porn, and liable to send Mrs Whitehouse screaming to the Director of Public Prosecutions. But luckily no reasonable person takes much notice of these bringers of ‘fire and brimstone’. Lines which sound suspiciously like: “My baby calls me when she wanna play” (or is it I “lay”), and another line: “You can smoke my cigar all night” from a song called Sucker, make their intentions and meaning crystal clear. On the beautifully titled Jerkin’ Crocus with Ian Hunter doing a full Mick Jagger, he delivers this memorable phrase: “I know what she wants. Just a lick of your ice cream cone”. Tasty, so is Ready For Love on side two.

Whether Mott The Hoople is going to make it big at long last remains to be seen. If they disappear to America, we will know that they have. But this time round they have brought out an album that is at times stunning and they have certainly rewarded their fans who have been waiting quite a while for a recording as good as this.

Particularly recommended for hearing on headphones if you’re lucky enough to own a pair, or two – so your boyfriend or girlfriend can share the same experience.


Letters — Jim Webb Reprise K44173

Jim Webb, creator of the classic MacArthur Park, has a new LP of his own released. And whereas his past outings have been very much an artist’s artist trip, this offering communicates a lot more to the average listener.

Webb’s songs have always been about love, and its pain, and moments of supreme happiness. He writes with a sincerity, obviously from personal experience, which is the main power of his songs. And this time round, Jim is as explicit as possible about his feelings and observations, and also shows a fine sense of comedy and self-parody.

The most humorous track is Once In The Morning, which also advises “and once at night”, and “once in the afternoon and once at twilight, once for the money and again ’bout midnight”. The song tells of a few adventures such as meeting with Jan the Fan Dancer’ who says: “You play with this son and I’ll play with that”. Also a man he meets in London tells him: “And I like some of yours if you’ll please take some of mine”.

In a slightly more serious vein Webb comments on air play censorship: “If you want me to I’ll sing about fuckin’ – Sing about it fast and sing about it slow – Wanna hear it on the radio tho’ …” And why not, it’s a pleasure and a unity we all share.

Most of the other songs tell the usual tales of love and its ups and downs. He includes his very beautiful Galveston, that was a big success when recorded by Glen Campbell.

This record is much more of a rock record than his past releases, as well as being without the sometimes confusing dynamic orchestrations.

In conclusion the album is a warm, tender and aware contribution to popular music. Its explicitness will shock a few, but most people who hear it will be moved by the ‘letters’ and thoughts Jim Webb shares with us.


Nervous on the Road — Brinsley Schwarz – United Artists UAS 29374

After being completely converted to the Brinsleys after their last album, Silver Pistol, I’m afraid that I find this latest effort a little disappointing.

I still love the relaxing images the group create and the, more than ever, togetherness of their playing which shows up a lot of other groups. But somehow this just misses being anything else except competent. The happiness and feeling of ‘good times’ that come across so strongly on their last release, a more country influenced collection of-songs, is not as obvious as before. This record has far more of a rock feel to it.

Tne Brinsley’s have always produced albums that needed a little time to get into, and as I listen to this record more often, a few of the tracks start to stand I out more than they did to begin with. Surrender To The Rhythm for example, is a fine rocker, and the title track, Nervous on the Road (But Can’t Stay Home) displays a good degree of wit. as well as moving along at a pleasing pace.

Their version of Chris Kenner’s I Like It Like That on side two, showcases the group’s affection for old rock ‘n’ roll classics, which are now very much a part of their live performances. Their treatment of this classic rocker shows an understanding ot the essence of good rock. It’s a shame that they didn’t include one of the Sam & Dave numbers they are also so fond of.

The organ and piano playing of Bob Andrews is one of the consistent pleasures of Brinsley music and heightens the effect of most of the numbers they are working with at present.

A lot of my friends are raving about this album, so I suggest you give it a listen and draw your own conclusions. It’s superior rock but the total of the rewards on hearing it are in your head.


Soulful Tapestry — Honey Cone – Hot Wax SHW 5005

Honey Cone is an American soul vocal group, comprising three black girls. And this album contains two of their biggest hits to date, One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show and Want Ads. Although the group have not met with much success in this country so far, they are firm favourites in discotheques and with soul fanatics.

Their sound is very commercial but with a few dashes of originality that put them above a lot of other groups working in this musical area. The arrangements are slightly reminiscent of Tamla Motown ones, but without the over-production now often associated with that company. And their style is less earthy than that of companies such as Stax and Atlantic.

The songs move along at a good pace and are ideal dance music. My only complaint would be that after one listens to both sides of the album, they become a little mechanical and predictable. Basically they are a ‘singles’ group and to keep one’s interest throughout a whole album is quite a task. But with slightly more inventiveness in the arrangements and a choice of stronger material, they should put matters right on future LP releases.

Soulful Tapestry is a must for soul enthusiasts and for those of you who want to hear something a little different to what more established soul music companies are churning out.

Incidentally, Honey Cone’s Want Ads is one of Gay News’ theme songs. I surely don’t need to explain why do I? Just turn to the next to last page of the paper.


Portrait of Donny — Donny Osmond — MGM 2315108

Much to my surprise I found that Donny Osmond’s first solo album is an absolute delight. The choice of material is ideal for Donny’s voice, and the arrangements are nicely spectacular and especially suitable to the emotional elements in the songs.

Included on the album is Puppy Love, the ‘teen’ hit of the year. This song is largely responsible for bringing the praise and success that Donny now enjoys. In this country he even outsells that other idol of kid culture, David Cassidy. Written and originally recorded by Paul Anka (Donny’s equivalent of the late-fifties), Puppy Love contains a degree of protest about adult non-understanding and intolerance that young people can identify with. Also the sentiments expressed in all the songs not only touch this particular section of the record buying public, but also reach a wider audience with their simple sincerity. The Goffin/King number Hey Girl works on the same level, as does All I have to do is Dream and This Guy’s in Love With You.

Eddie Holman’s sadly underrated Hey There, Lonely Girl is another good choice by Donny, whilst the dynamics of Love Me make it hard to believe that the song is being sung by a twelve-year-old.

All in all, Donny has produced an immensely enjoyable album, that is far more than one might at first have thought possible.


Super Fly — Curtis Mayfield – Buddah 2318065

Curtis Mayfield’s new album is his first entry into Isaac Hayes territory, for it is the soundtrack of a new ‘black’ movie called Super Fly.

Although I don’t know much about the film I gather from the lyrics that it is about drug addiction and ‘pushing’ in a black ghetto. The film is directed by Gordon Parks Jr, who was responsible for the Shaft movies.

Those of you who are into Mayfield and what he has been doing since he left the Impressions will find this record as good as his recent releases. If you aren’t into his brand of funky/city soul yet you will probably turn on to it if you hear a track from the album at a discotheque. But otherwise I think it is a success and a must, only for those already converted to this type of sophisticated soul music.


Fables — England Dan & John Ford Coley — A & M AMLS 64350

Fables is the second album to be released by England Dan & John Ford Coley. This duo sing and play melodic, thoughtful, full-of-love songs and music. Their material ranges from graceful to medium-heavy rock, but without ever being excessive. Much of the time they are very beautiful. Dan and John’s approach is simple but direct. Something like the old Simon & Garfunkel sound.

Some of the best ‘stories’ told on this record are Simone (their latest single) and Casey, whilst What I’m Doing, which closes side one, is a minor anthem of love and the bewilderment it can cause.

Unfortunately a lot of records similar to Dan and John’s are being released. This will probably be unheard and unnoticed like so many others. It’s very much a disc you like immediately and play a lot, or dismiss completely. Personally Fables makes me feel good whenever I listen to it, could possibly do the same to some of you. Play it if you come across it.

Denis Lemon


Walter Carlos’ Clockwork Orange – CBS73059

Inevitably many copy versions of the music featured in ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ are now beginning to appear on the market, most of these only having the orchestral passages. CBS has released Walter Carlos’ entire synthesised score for and about this book/film.

Many of the pieces, of course, were composed before the film was made, but Carlos has inserted some original works. Thankfully, we now have the full “Timesteps” music, of which we were only given a tantalising portion on the soundtrack. What a pity Carlos wasn’t invited to write the score for Kubrick’s previous film ‘2001; A Space Odyssey’. This piece shows what Carlos is capable of doing. Along with ‘Timesteps’ the album contains two other Carlos compositions, ‘Theme from A Clockwork Orange (Beethoviana) and ‘Country Lane’ – two exciting pieces, the latter not heard in the film, but an evocative interpretation. A deeply moving piece.

The choreographed ‘Ultra-violence’ scenes were accompanied by the orchestral passage of Rossini’s ‘The Thieving Magpie’. Here Carlos has included the electronic version. Marvellous in stereo. Also this album has several other synthesised classical works as featured on the soundtrack.

In comparison I find this album far more satisfying than the actual soundtrack. For a reminder of the film buy the soundtrack – for an experience, buy this record. Real horror-show.

Anthony Godden.

All Over The Rainbow

David Bowie at the Rainbow, Finsbury Park

19720901-12The Rainbow, after being given a new lease of life by the Chrysalis agency, was the scene for David Bowie to give his most impressive concert to date. David, after being talked about in the musical press and pop circles generally as the new ‘Superstar’ of rock, finally proved he was all, if not more, than people had been saying about him.

Apart from his excellent backing group, Lindsay Kemp and his theatre troupe joined David on stage. The stage incidentally had raised platforms erected on it, which were used extensively by the actors and the star throughout the performance.

And Wow, what a show. David Bowie is now a true ‘superstar’; he lives and acts the part completely on stage. He knows exactly what is expected of him and delivers his ‘superstar’ act perfectly. David’s knowledge of the theatre and long association with the pop world make for a type of professionalism that is all too often sadly lacking in the top rock acts of today. In comparison Little Richard should retire, and Mick Jagger should take a few lessons.

Lindsay Kemp’s involvement added another dimension to the show. Lindsay, this country’s best mime artist, radiated love, hate, madness and all the other emotions and fears that come to mind with David’s music and words. A song like The Width Of A Circle, which has been written about in Cream magazine as ‘a Dantesque farago of homosexual schizophrenia’, becomes frighteningly alive, reaching out beyond just the music with the aid of the scores and David’s performance.

As well as singing the most notable songs from his last two albums, on RCA, David used material from his soon to be re-released The Man Who Sold The World album on Mercury, and even going further back into his recording career to sing the classic Space Oddity. Also his rendition of Jacques Brel’s My Death a song that few rock stars would be brave enough to attempt, was one of the highlights of the evening.

If you didn’t see David Bowie at the Rainbow, you missed a remarkable performance by a truly original artist. Whether the gay aspects of his act are just part of the show, or a real part of the world of David Bowie, are unimportant. His defiance of accepted social conventions and the purity streak that runs through all levels of society, including the young and the supposedly aware and informed, does much to break down the barriers that stop so many from accepting and understanding. David Bowie is just what the World needs.

The supporting band at the Rainbow concert was Roxy Music, a bizarre collection of musicians, playing even stranger music. They derive their sound from all forms and styles of music, but what you end up hearing is quite unlike anything you have ever heard before. The music and songs are also delivered in a somewhat camp way, one song being introduced “for all you sailors”.

The weird attire and hairstyles the group wear also help to stop them being categorised. Andrew Mackay (saxophone and oboe) had his hair in two large ringlets on the top of his head, and the antics and silver pants of Eno (synthesiser and tapes) kept the audience’s eyes at times riveted on him, whilst the performance of Bryan Ferry (lead vocals and piano), looking like a refugee from the 50’s/60’s period of rock, was amazing.

It took a little time for the group to break through to the audience, but by about their third or fourth number the crowded theatre was theirs, entranced by the wall of sound being created on the stage.

If you have a chance to see Roxy Music, and you’re interested in 1972 experiments in rock music, make sure you don’t miss them. Have a listen to their album, Island, first – it will help you prepare.

GAYROCK

David Bowie, in concert at The Royal Festival Hall.

05-197208xx-6There comes a time when each of us has his turn to be right. But let me put that truism in perspective.

This year your reporter said this was going to be the year of “gay rock” And the year when David Bowie was going to happen.

He said it last year. And the year before. By now his ancients are used to dismissing these portentous statements by “Just because you fancy David Bowie” and that sort of thing.

This year Alice Cooper is getting friendly with snakes, the Kinks are living up to their name, the grounds of Elton John’s Honky Chateau have turned into a camp-site. And Elton and Rod Stewart camped around with John Baldry on Top of the Pops.

Most important, Bowie is back in the top twenty singles for the first time since Space Oddity (1969) and he’s well up in the album charts.

It’s good to be right. And that brings us to the event.

THE EVENT: Saturday July 8th Bowie played at London’s Royal Festival Hall in a benefit for the Friends of the Earth’s Save The Whale campaign fund.

Bowie and Mott the Hoople were going to be equally billed. But Mott insisted on doing their full two hour act, which, with Bowie, makes the thing too long, so Mott drop out.

That leaves the boy from Brixton at the top of the bill. And makes the concert something of a coming out for him. And of a gay event.

Two weeks before the concert you couldn’t get a seat in the RFH for deviant practices or money. Your reporter got in early with a couple of quid and there he was just a few yards out from the stage and enough amplification equipment to set up a small to medium sized radio station.

Kuddly Ken Everett is compere. Introduces Marmalade and the JSD Band, who replace Mott. It seems podgy Scots boys with glasses are in this week. They get a reasonable reception. But we’re waiting for the Star.

The crowd isn’t noticeably campy, even though the after shave lies slightly heavier on the air than at most concerts at the RFH.

Then Ken Ev (“I even went a bit gay” – Nova) in a fetching jumpsuit of blue denim with massive while buttons showing how he’d got in and how he meant to get out says he’s fought his way through the feather boas to the star’s dressing room.

“He insists on introducing himself in about four minutes time. So here is the second greatest thing, next to God . . . David Bowie.” says Kuddly Ken.

The speakers boom out the Moog martial version of the ‘Song of Joy’ from ‘A Clockwork Orange’.

The capacity plus crowd claps in time and in the dark as people sneak across the stage in the murk.

It ends. A single spot picks out a thin, almost drawn, jester. Red hair, white make-up and a skin tight red and green Persian carpet print space suit. All this on top of red lace up space boots.

“hello. I’m Ziggy Stardust and these are the Spiders from Mars.”

More lights and we have Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder, Mick Woodmansey.

A few seconds and we have the mind-fucking electric music of Bowie from the amps matched by the words that make Burroughs look like a slouch.

And on stage, Bowie rampant.

Until now, Bowie’s never been a star, but he’s studied some of the best, like Garbo, Presley, and now he’s on top he knows what to do.

Sometimes he plays guitar, sometimes just sings with his eerie thin voice, but sometimes that voice grows. Bowie is the understudy who’s been waiting in the wings for years. Finally his Big Day comes, and he’s got every step, every note, every voice-warble right. A star is born.

He’s a showman alright. Even the pubescent girls who’d spent their Saturday-morning-at-Woolies wages on a seat, or crowded into the gangways, screamed.

He says, “Tonight we have a surprise for you”. And everyone knows what it is. Lou Reed. The NME and the other pop papers carried that secret during the week in inch-and-a-half caps.

“Tonight we’re going to do a number by the Cream – Free.” Anti-climax swamps the hall.

But the Bowie voice is haunting in the few lines of words at the beginning of the number. Then he leaves it to the spiders to get on with it. They do – talented musicians that they are. Strobe lights on the gantry over them slow then into a far from silent movie, one frame at a time.

Then our David’s back. Now he’s in white satin space suit that leaves only how he managed to get into it to the imagination.

Garbo on Mars

And, off-hand, he says: “If you’ve seen us before, you’ll know we do some numbers by the Velvet Underground. And tonight we have, for the first on any stage in England, Lou Reed.”

And the Velvets’ former leading light bounds on in black to match Bowie’s white.

We get a set of Velvets numbers. David plays to Lou.

Lou plays to Mick. Mick plays to David.

While they’re having fun on stage there’s enough electricity generated in the RFH to keep the national grid pulsing high voltage goodies all over the land.

They end, and the front several hundred of the 3,000-plus crowd mobs the stage. Time for the expected encore.

Ziggy and the spiders reappear and do ‘Suffragette City’, orange handouts with their pictures on, explode from the stage.

In this hour-and-a-bit Bowie has passed from wild electric rock to simple ballads, such as ‘Space Oddity’ and a Jacques Brel poem, ’The Port of Amsterdam’ and back to wild electric rock.

His words span concepts from science-fiction and the coming of a superrace to sexual liberation.

And that’s what a lot came to hear, your reporter supposes. For Bowie is the totem of gay-rock. Lou Reed a “bisexual chauvinist pig.’

But more important is the little girls who came to scream at Bowie’s “bump” — as the groupy girls say – get turned on to sexual liberation.

And we all had a bloody good time.

David Bowie is probably the best rock musician in Britain now. One day he’ll become as popular as he deserves to be. And that’ll give gay-rock a very potent spokesman.

After the event:

Reporters in state of shock, deafened. So easily put off making prearranged backstage tryst with the Bowie circus by unfriendly lady from Friends Of the Earth, who’s busy being seen with the Stars.

“Thank you so much, Kenny, it was wonderful” Kisses the ducking Ev. Lady from F O E is another reason for mysogeny.

So back to the records.

  • Brief discography of albums:
  • ‘Love You Till Tuesday’ (Deram. deleted) but much of the material is on the low – price ‘World Of David Bowie’ (Decca).
  • ‘David Bowie’ (Philips, deleted).
  • ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ (Mercury deleted) ‘One Stop. Dean Street. W.1 has some U.S. import copies of this., Bowie’s most powerful album, at £2.99.
  • ‘Hunky Dory’ (RCA)
  • ‘The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (RCA) his latest is equally best. Treat yourself. ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ (Side two, last track) is a wow.

Superstar Sings Superstar

02-197206XX 9The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” – David Bowie – R.C.A.

After all the blurb about a “new superstar” and bringing back “glamour into rock-and-roll” I was prepared for the worst. Not so. This album manages to be intelligent and fairly entertaining at the same time. It seems that Bowie himself is aware of the perils of superstardom and also aware that it could happen to him, for the songs fall into a story-pattern about a rock-and-roll star who comes, godlike, from outer space becoming the focus of hope in a world with only five years of existence left.

The first couple of tracks ache with desperation and defeat, but in answer to them “all I have is my love of love – and love is not loving”. The madness is close to the surface, breaks through now and again. And when Ziggy arrives he is a sensation, confident. beautiful but he becomes so wrapped up in being a star, in being so egotistical, that in the end he is destroyed and the band (which by this time has become Ziggy’s band) is broken up.

So that’s the story. Very roughly. But it had me wondering as to what it was getting at At times it might almost be an attack on the Bolan phenomenon, at times it sounds like Bolan. At times it is superstar rock, at times a Bonzo-like send up of itself. The cynical key lies in the track “Star”, in which Bowie is clearly singing of himself – “Tony went to right in Belfast . . . Bevan tried to change the nation . . . I could make a transformation as a rock and roll star . . . I could do with the money.” Trying to convince himself he could do something by being a star, but knowing that it’s really only a massive ego-trip, and lucrative too. But he knows, because Ziggy becomes arrogant too, and dies.

Some of the album is a bit uninventive, but some of it aches with feeling, especially the first and last tracks (“Five Years” and “Rock-and-Roll Suicide”). Some of it is great fun, whatever it means, and “Suffragette City” really bangs along well. As a whole I don’t think the album comes off, but nice try, and it’s good to know you’ve got some idea what you’re doing David, even if you can’t do much about it.

Snippets

02-197206XX 11Julian Deny Grinspoon’s
FIND in the PRESS.
The Evening Standard
29th June, 1972.

Lady Harewood: “We’ve bought a house in St. John’s Wood, within half a mile of the one we had before. There he (Martin, her son) will have his own room. But he doesn’t like the idea. He likes the roof terrace at Primrose Hill and loves camping round the house. In the new house, we will have exactly the right amount of room”.


Tleephone call to R.C.A. Records, which was commendably to the point…………”Good afternoon, I’m speaking for a new newspaper called Gay News…………”
“Oh, you want a copy of the David Bowie album to review.”

Guess who’s writing another book………we believe it’s called “Everything you ever wanted to know about David Frost, but were afraid to ask.”