Court Bans “Homosexuals And Such Like”

LONDON: Britain’s self-appointed arbiters of morals, the Festival of Light, has won an albeit temporary victory against the fair presentation of gay sex on television when Ross McWhirter, better known for compiling the Guinness Book Of Records and meddling in comprehensive education, managed to con the Court of Appeal into stopping ITV’s planned screening of a documentary by photographer David Bailey on Any Warhol, without bothering to see it.

McWhirter, perhaps in an attempt to win a record for stupidity, could not claim any greater knowledge of the programme’s content. He, too, had not seen the documentary made for the Midlands ITV company, ATV, before spending a day getting the law to rush through its due processes with undue, and almost obscene, haste.

He started with Mr Justice Forbes, sitting in private. Judge Forbes dismissed McWhirter’s objection to the programme. Within hours – not the months any mere mortal would have to wait – McWhirter was in the Court of Appeal conning three judges into passing an opinion on the programme none of them had seen.

Lord Justice Cairns said that he didn’t think the court had any right to stop the screening of the programme. But all the same he didn’t think it was the type of thing people should be allowed to see. The other two judges, Denning and Lawton, thought they could judge the programme and meddle in ITV’s schedules.

The trouble started when Lord Longford, whose self-appointed commission into pornography tried to silence sexual liberty, and other Festival of Light trouble-seekers decided they didn’t like the idea of a programme about the American movie-maker and artist that didn’t put him down.

Longford lashed out with his first broadside safe in the knowledge that he knew enough about porn to be able to criticise Bailey’s work on Warhol without moving his ass and bothering to see the film.

What he didn’t like about the movie he hadn’t seen was that he’d heard that the hadn’t seen was that he’d heard the movie Bailey had made for ATV’s documentary spot on the ITV network contained references to and the sight of “homosexuals, lesbians, transvestites” and such like.

“And on the strength of that it ought not to be shown.”

To make matters worse, David Bailey, who appears seemingly nude in bed with Warhol, who remains fully clothed, included footage from Andy Warhol factory movies. During this characters used the word ‘fuck’ four times, Lord Longford had heard. ‘Fuck’ is a word heard more than four times in the average AA-movie in the commercial cinema.

Just as the Festival of Lighters were sitting down eager to be shocked and disgusted by ATV’s cavorting around the New York movie factory the news came that the judges of the Appeal Court had come to the unprecedented decision of letting the Lighters have their way in getting the Warhol documentary banned.

The Independent Broadcasting Authority, the ITA as was, the authority that has the responsibility of making sure that all ITV output is ‘up to standard’, held out longer against the attacks from the Festival of Light than the BBC has of late in its brushes with the Festival and Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers’ Association, but in the end it was outmanoeuvred by the self-righteous moral guardians who managed to get the programme banned.

Where Longford and the Festival of Light with their usual under-the-counter tactics – usually so effective on Lord Hill and the BBC – failed, Ross McWhirter succeeded.

McWhirter is new to the business of being a clean-up television campaigner, and could be said to have done much to encourage violence by working for the BBC as a rugby commentator. In the past he has battled to get comprehensive school plans scrapped for Enfield where he lives waiting to be discovered for Parliament.

The position at the time of going to press was that the IBA was appealing against the Appeal Court’s ban. At this hearing the judge may actually see the programme instead of dispensing justice blindfold.

Critics in Fleet Street are unhappy about the ban, which they feel smacks of dictatorial censorship.

They are even unhappier that McWhirter got the injunction stopping the screening of the Warhol movie partly through his claims that television critics who’d seen the movie were shocked by it.

John Howkins of Time Out, Tom Hutchinson of the Evening Standard and Elkan Allan of The Sunday Times issued a statement dissociating themselves from McWhirter’s protest.

Tom Hutchinson wrote, in a remarkable front-page attack on the ban in the Standard: ‘Some of the objected-to words are in fact contained within clips from Warhol’s own films which the cinema-going public has already been granted the privilege of seeing or not.

‘Of course, now my appreciation of the film has accelerated. Bailey’s point has been substantiated beyond my first reaction. For it seems very true now, that as Bailey suggests, Warhol is what you make him and what you think he is – even without seeing him’.

When the programme was cancelled, Thames TV, the London week-day television station, was besieged with telephone calls. All of its 84 ones were blocked for 90 minutes, the IBA reported a bigger-than-ever response to any of the programmes the ITV companies had been allowed to show. All the callers were complaining that the documentary had been shelved. Mr McWhirter may claim to represent the silent majority, but the majority, in this case, were against his under-hand, old-school-tie censorship tactics.

Thames compounded the silliness, which Anglia TV had already added to by individually refusing to show the programme, when London viewers were told that there had been a programme change – just that – with no reference to the court battle that had forced the chanage.

During the safe replacement documentary on a Nottingham craft centre – a programme which had been shown before – the BBC had The Old Gray Whistle Test on BBC2, including David Bowie’s Andy Warhol track, from the Hunky Dory album – played in sympathy?

QUOTES: Andy Warhol (in New York): “How quaint. How old-fashioned. Maybe they should see my movies.”

Jimmy Vaughan, Warhol’s European agent: “This is a terrible blow – it is censorship of the worst kind. Surely people have a right to decide what they watch.”

The National Council for Civil Liberties: “While a minority has a right to persuade, it does not have the right to impose its views with the blunt weapon of censorship. The NCCL urges the IBA to show this film at the earliest opportunity and let the viewing public decide on its merits or deficencies.”

Peter Thompson, secretary of the Festival of Light: “Thank God for men like Mr McWhirter.”

David Bailey: “I am amazed that the judges can make the order stopping the film without having seen it. Hitler used to burn books he hadn’t read.”

Gay News Christmas Presents

The Gay News collective is a generous bunch, and we would love to give gorgeous Christmas presents to everyone. But we’re broke. If we had the money here are some of the presents we would give, and the people we would give them to.

To London Transport
– the stock of exhibits from the Transport Museum at Clapham to replace rolling stock on the Northern line.

To Danny La Rue
– Liberace

To Selfridges
– an instant boycott by all the gay staff and customers of the store, which might make the bookstall manager think twice before telling us there would be no call for Gay News there.

To Lord Harwood
– an LP of Leonard Bernstein’s opera Candide, hoping it would inspire him to put it on at the Coliseum instead of another Merry Widow.

To Alexander Walker (film critic of the Evening Standard)
– a secretary, so that he doesn’t crack his nails on a typewriter, thus giving away the fact that he’s a … journalist.

To Bass Charrington
– vast profits from owning the majority of gay pubs in London.

To All Gays
– a “Welcome” from Bass Charrington.

To GLF
– lilies – and thanks for the laughs.

To CHE
– carnations and a computerised membership files.

To CHE and GLF
– the capacity to love and understand (if not to agree) with each other.

To All MPs
– a copy of Gay News, so they can tune in to the realities of the situation.

To F.I. Litho
– yet another cheque for printing Gay News

To Anthony Newley
– a nice modern theatre where he can stage all his shows – in Formosa.

To The Governor of Holloway Prison
– a big bunch of flowers for allowing Myra Hindley half an hour of light and air.

To The Festival of Light
– a power cut.

To The National Theatre
– the collected plays of Oscar Wilde to remind them of what they have been ignoring these past nine years.

To The GPO
– a two year work study programme of interfering with and losing so much of our mail and for indecent relationships with our telephone.

To Mary Whitehouse
– a pair of ear plugs and a sleeping shade.

To the BBC
– the retirement of Mary Whitehouse.

To ITV and London Weekend Television
– programmes as good as the commercials.

To Sir Gerald Nabarro
– more lady chauffeurs like his last one.

To Lord Longford
– a halo.

To Malcolm Muggeridge
– an airport at the bottom of his garden.

To Edward Heath
– a cabinet made up of ex-grammar school boys.

To Harold Wilson
– a political party

To David Bowie
– an appearance at next year’s Royal Command Performance.

To Larry Grayson
– some original jokes and a black mark for telling fibs.

To Chris Welch (of Melody Maker)
– a record player and a job on the Financial Times.

To The Daily Telegraph
– a losing law suit with Private Eye.

To The Sunday Telegraph
– Richard Ingrams as editor.

To The Evening Standard
– an ad in Gay News

To Private Eye
– a bathchair on the cliffs at Hastings.

To Martin Stafford BA
– A ‘Glad To Be Gay’ badge and a lifelong subscription to Gay News.

To Chelsea Police
– a dictionary to look up the words ‘obstruction’ and ‘malicious’.

To Kensington Police
– a manual on ‘How To Care For Your Camera’

Artists And Records Of The Year

David Bowie — Artist of the Year

It at first seemed like a difficult task to choose just one artist out of the scores of successful ones currently recording. But thinking back over the last year, it soon became apparent that one performer stood head, shoulders, faded jeans and eye shadow over all the rest. It is of course, David Bowie, the man who brought showbiz and glamour back to rock and roll.

Bowie’s major release this year was the brilliant The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. No other album has received such critical acclaim or enabled an artist to be rocketed with such speed to the pinnacle of his profession. Even Alice Cooper’s Mrs Mary Whitehouse upsetter School’s Out pales in comparison.

Ziggy Stardust is made up of a series of songs, and even if it isn’t a concept album as such, all the tracks are inter-related. Amongst the basic futuristic themes are apocalyptic visions of the world of tomorrow. These are told in part by Bowie as a narrator, and also by the mythical superstar ‘Ziggy Stardust’, who is Bowie himself. One of Bowie’s main attributes is his insight into what he is and what he is expected to be. And accordingly he plays the part of a superstar placed on a pedestal to the limit. Through this kind of awareness of image and of the medium he is working in, the lyrics, although extravagant, never sink to the level of just being pretentious or embarrassingly self-conscious.

Recently Bowie has had two of his previous albums re-released. They are Space Oddity (1968) and The Man Who Sold The World (1970). Both are important records, which were way ahead of their time when first issued. A new single by Bowie, The Jean Genie, has come out during the last couple of weeks. The title is, of course, a word play on Jean Genet, the French author, who is perhaps best known in this country for his novel Our Lady Of The Flowers. The lyrics are stranger than ever and their meaning is best left up to the individual listener to fathom out.

Apart from success in the recording field, Bowie has also been responsible for bringing entertainment back to rock concerts. For too long groups and solo artists have had trite, lack-lustre stage acts. But after a David Bowie concert, audiences will be reluctant to accept the mediocre, slipshod stage presentations of the past.

Bowie’s theatrical, uninhibited professionalism when giving a ‘live’ performance, has broken through many social barriers and taboos. And everywhere audiences have reacted enthusiastically to his assaults on accepted convention and narrow-minded morality. Mind you, he has brought out the worst forms of imbedded Puritanism from many rock journalists. But make no mistakes, if Bowie is limp-wristed then Muhammed Ali is queen of the fairies.

The terms Glam Rock and Gay Rock have been invented to try and categorise Bowie and the few other rock artists who have progressed beyond the rigid conformity that has governed the stage presentation of rock/pop groups in this country for quite some time. Even the puppet prancings of Mick Jagger look mechanical when compared to the high energy performances that Bowie gives.

Incidentally, Bowie is giving a concert at the Rainbow, Finsbury Park, on 24th December. I couldn’t recommend a better, more spectacular start to the Christmas holidays. I also expect David Bowie’s recordings and performances in 1973 to be a significantly influential to the modern music scene as they have been during the last year.

The World of David BowieDecca SPA 58
Space OddityRCA LSP 48133
The Man Who Sold The WorldRCA LSP 4816
Hunky DoryRCA SF 8244
Ziggy StardustRCA SF 8287
The Jean GenieRCA 2302


Roxy Music — Group of the Year

No other group has amassed such a strong following over the last year as Roxy Music. They have also caused a fair amount of controversy amongst rock purists, who have found it difficult to come to terms with the wild mixture of music and electronics the group deliver. But a hit single removed most of the sceptical criticism they initially received.

Their album, Roxy Music, is certainly one of the strangest to be released in 1972. The record defies all attempts at categorisation and its acceptance depends on the limitations of taste the listener may or may not have. Even if you find the album difficult to relate to at first, it is worth the effort of hearing it a number of times. If one analyses the Roxy’s sound, apart from the electronics and use of modern phasing techniques, the underlying inspiration seems to come from fifties

On stage, Roxy Music have seemingly been following the footsteps of David Bowie. Their stage presentation, physical appearance and clothes are extreme almost to excess but, like Bowie, they are into entertainment as much as they are into producing good and exciting music.

Despite the limited number of ‘live’ appearances by the group and the sparse air-play their album has received on the radio, the last few months have been extremely eventful for them. In 1973 I expect Roxy Music to reach both a far wider audience and receive even greater acceptance of their most original style.

Roxy MusicIsland ILPS 9200


Bill Withers — Soul Artist of the Year

Soul music isn’t just screams and wild dancing, as Bill Withers undeniably proves. Soul is the amount of depth and feeling an artist puts into a song, and Withers certainly doesn’t hold anything back.

His Still Bill album contains some of the most memorable and moving adult songs, about love and relationships, that I have heard this year, and is frequently to be found on my turntable.

Withers recent concert appearance in London showed that his talents aren’t just limited to a recording studio. As a member of the audience at that gig, I was impressed by the warm, responsive two-way relationship he created between the stage and the crowded auditorium, as he sang his sensitive rhythmic songs about matters which touch us all at some time or other.

Purists may prefer to stick to the wilder aspects of soul music, but Withers, with his Still Bill album especially, will make soul music many new friends and admirers. His previous release, Just As I Am, also contains some very good material, including the song which looks like becoming a soul classic, Ain’t No Sunshine. Through these two albums and his hit single Lean On Me, Bill Withers has firmly established himself as an outstanding new talent, who one can expect even greater things from, next year.

Just As I AmA&M AMLS 65002
Still BillA&M AMLS 68107


Seals & Crofts — Folk Artists of the Year

Whilst not working in the traditional areas of folk music, the American duo, Seals & Crofts are certainly the most pleasing contemporary folk artists performing and recording today.

At present their current release, Summer Breeze is highly placed in the American album charts, and this comes as no surprise. The record is filled with happy and sincere songs, that tell of love, life, a passing season and the things that all too quickly pass us by. There is also mention of the duo’s religious convictions, but without any undue pressure being placed on the listener to be converted to their particular beliefs.

James Seals and Dash Crofts with Summer Breeze deliver a series of often beautiful, relaxing and rewarding experiences for those who care to listen. This is an album I shall play for some time to come, besides eagerly awaiting their subsequent releases in 1973.

Summer BreezeWarner Bros, K46173.


Tamla Motown Album of the Year

There is no looking back for Diana Ross. After an extremely rewarding career with The Supremes, she has continued her success as a solo artist. And her Greatest Hits album shows why. Most of the songs are of the high standard one expects from Tamla Motown, whilst a few are bound to remain firm favourites for some time to come.

This compilation record of Diana’s contains all her hit singles, plus some of the best tracks from her past albums. The twelve cuts selected make for very good value, and the inclusion of the full six minute version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is an added bonus.

As I said earlier, one expects a high quality performance from Motown artists, and this album is a perfect example of how good records from them can be. You can rest assured that many fine sounds will be coming from the company and its stable of artists next year.

Diana Ross Greatest HitsTamla Motown STMA 8006


Taj Mahal — Blues Artist of the Year

One of the most important exponents of the blues alive today is Taj Mahal. Although still only a young man, his performances to date, whether in concert or on record, have been some of the most significant developments in this particular area of music.

Traditional country blues have always been the basis of Taj’s sound, but over the last few years he has impressively experimented with all aspects of his music. No two of his albums are alike, and the originality of his latest release. Recycling The Blues and Other Related Stuff, surpasses even the best of what he has issued before and makes me wonder what he is going to do next. The other album he has released this year, Happy Just To Be Like I Am, is a necessary addition to any serious collection of modern blues.

One thing I always love about Taj Mahal is his wonderful sense of humour, which he successfully instils into all his music.

Taj is a great blues artist, and hasn’t had to wait for recognition till he was either in his old age or dead, before people have become aware of his potential and significance.

Happy Just To Be Like I AmCBS 64447
Recycling the Blues & Other Related StuffCBS 65090


Reggae Record Of The Year

Reggae has had a long hard fight to gain mass acceptance in this country, but the soundtrack album from the Jamaican film The Harder They Come, may well prove to be the record that gains this music the wider audience it deserves.

The album is made up of tracks from various artists. Particularly of note is Jimmy Cliff, who sings four numbers, including the title track and a very beautiful song called Many Rivers To Cross. Other excellent contributions are made by lesser known reggae artists, such as Desmond Dekker and the Maytals.

If you have always thought of reggae as a rather limited musical form, give this album a listen. It’s a cert to change your mind, and will become an essential ingredient of any party you are holding or attending.

The Harder They ComeIsland ILPS 9202


Rock Album of the Year

To pick one rock record out of the hundreds issued during the last twelve months was nearly as difficult as picking out the most important and influential artist of the year.

But an album by a little known American guitarist is my choice. It is the first recorded outing of Roy Buchanan, who plays some of the cleanest, captivating guitar I’ve heard in a long time.

Whilst the backings are adequate and the singing bearable, it is the guitar playing that is always to the front. As it should be, for one doesn’t often have the chance of hearing such excellent rock musicianship. Roy Buchanan makes it all sound so simple too, but as any guitarist or passionate follower of rock music will tell you. some of the things he lets loose coma solely from years of playing and practising, and are only likely to be heard from the most proficient of artists. Of the incluences in Buchanan’s playing, apart from rock and roll, the most noticeable are country and blues.

As an introduction to this man’s work, I suggest you listen to Sweet Dreams which opens side one, and the mind-boggling The Messiah Will Come Again on side two. If these two tracks don’t immediately convert you, nothing will. So if you want to hear something a little different to the usual heavy rock sound being produced by the majority of bands, then make the effort to hear this album, you won’t be disappointed.

Roy BuchananPolydor 2391042


Laid Back Album of the Year

The term ‘laid back’ has come into use frequently during the last year. Basically it refers to a relaxed, unhurried musical style, but in no way means that the quality of the sounds is impaired.

A perfect example of this style is an album called Naturally by J. J. Cale. His music is a combination of blues, country and rock influences, whilst he delivers the vocals in a gravelly relaxed manner.

No single track stands out from the rest, but this does not mean that there are any duff tracks included. All make for worthwhile listening and the album comes into its own if heard late at night, when one is relaxed and doesn’t want anything too overpowering to cope with. Cale’s guitar playing is nothing less than stunning and one hangs onto every note of the never overlong breaks he allows himself. The After Midnight track on side two when released as a single in the States sold extremely well, and I recommend you to hear this cut as an introduction to the album.

Naturally is one hell of an album, by a musician/composer of the highest calibre. There will be more recorded delight? coming from him next year, when it is also planned for him to come over to this country for concert performances.

NaturallyA&M AMLS 68105


Colin Blunstone — Rising Talent of the Year.

In the early sixties Colin Blunstone was part of the now legendary group known as the Zombies. After a break from the music industry, Colin returned last year with an album called One Year which was favourably received by the pop press, but in no way shot him up the ladder to stardom, despite the success of a track that was taken from the album and released as a single.

Now his second album has been issued. It’s called Ennismore, and it is bound to take him a lot further than his previous solo effort. And with him starting to give ‘live’ performances around the country, it is just a matter of time before this very gifted singer/songwriter gets the recognition he deserves.

The songs on Ennismore are all concerned with relationships — the ones that worked and those that proved disastrous. There is a compelling directness in the lyrics that makes them easy to identify with. This results in shared experiences rather than just listening to those of someone else’s. The opening track, I Don’t Believe In Miracles, says far more about Blunstone’s work than I can, and as it is currently headed for the top of the singles charts, you can see and hear why I am so enthusiastic about this artist’s work for yourselves.

Ennismore will open up new horizons for Colin Blunstone, and the coming new year should establish him as one of this country’s leading singers and lyricists.

One YearEpic EPC 64557
EnnismoreEpic EPC 65278

Son Of The Melody Maker

SYREETA – Mowest MWS 7001
CHAMELEON – Franki Valli & The Four Seasons – Mowest MWSA 5501

New from the Tamla Motown Corporation is Mowest Records. The label was set up to handle artists emerging from the West Coast of America. It has been in existence for a year in the States, and has now been launched in this country. Whilst occasionally finding fault with Motown, I cannot deny that they are responsible for some of the most entertaining and satisfying popular recorded music available today. And with that in mind, I expect to be well rewarded with much fine music from Mowest.

The initial album releases are an interesting pair. One is the first solo venture of Syreeta, who may be better known as Mrs Stevie Wonder. The other is another first, but with another meaning, for it is Franki Valli and The Four Season’s first release since joining the Motown Corporation’s stable of artists.

Knowing that most reviewers have found the Syreeta album the most significant of the two recordings, I would like to reverse that trend by saying that I find the Seasons the most noticeable and certainly the most pleasing.

Syreeta’s album, whilst being an adventurous outing, leaves me unsatisfied, and no matter how hard I try to listen to it, my attention has usually strayed to other matters before the end of a side.

I cannot deny though, that an enormous amount of work and thought has gone into the making of the album, including the intelligent use of synthesisers, as programmed by Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil (perhaps better known as Tonto’s Expanding Head Band). Most of the cuts were written by Syreeta and her husband, and despite the successful pairing of talents, as heard on Stevie’s latest album, this time it doesn’t seem to work. The inclusion of Lennon and McCartney’s She’s Leaving Home, for instance, leaves me sadly unimpressed. Keep on trying though, Syreeta, next time it may all work.

On the other hand, Franki Valli and The Four Seasons’ Chameleon offers nothing but delights. The Seasons and Mowest have completely recreated the group’s old sound, and the new maturity in the lyrics, music and production of Bob Gaudio especially takes the whole project up to a high-powered, inventive musical level. The tracks spotlighting the talents of Franki Valli work well and the other standout cuts are The Night and the orchestrally magnificent A New Beginning.

Whilst Syreeta’s album is a good try, that will appeal to some, it takes the Seasons to really impress and to be a good travelling companions down the many avenues of music.

SPACE ODDITY – David Bowie – RCA LSP 4813 (US import at UK price)
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD – David Bowie – LSP 4816 (US import at UK price)

Space Oddity and The Man Who Sold The World, re-issued by RCA, are the two albums that David Bowie recorded for Mercury Records a few years ago.

They are being re-released obviously because of Bowie’s recent rapid rise to success and self-imposed ‘stardom’. But it’s not just a matter of a record company cashing in with past ‘product’, for both these important albums were sadly ignored by the fickle record-buying public when they were first available. The trouble being that Bowie’s work on these albums was well in advance of the tastes or comprehension of the average listener to rock music at that time. Now they have caught up, as they have demonstrated by making ‘darling’ David a superstar and by buying his Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust records in vast quantities.

Space Oddity, first issued in 1968, contains the amazing single from which the album derives its name. This cut was a chartbuster on both sides of the Atlantic, and time has done little to dim the brilliance of this song. Other tracks of note are Cygnet Committee, The Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud and Memory Of A Free Festival.

1970 was the year that The Man Who Sold The World first appeared. This album contained no hit single with which to promote it, and with the frighteningly strange lyrics and the sheer, screaming ‘wall of sound’ that accompanied the words, it gave little for the average listener of the time to hang on to or to accept, because of the new levels of intensity the record was exploring. Recent concert appearances have shown that audiences are now ready to take such numbers as The Width Of The Circle, All The Madness and Saviour Machine. A difficult, brilliant recording this, but well worth the effort of coming to terms with.

These are two very important re-releases, maybe the world is ready for them now.

LIFEBOAT — The Sutherland Brothers — Island ILPS 9212

Lifeboat is the second album from The Sutherland Brothers, who originate from Scotland. Their first release received many good reviews and subsequent ‘live’ appearances by the Brothers and their backup musicians confirmed the growing interest they were attracting.

The Sutherlands retain much of their Scottish folk music roots, but have expanded their sound with electric guitars and contemporary, heavy folk/rock keyboard arrangements. Stevie Winwood plays piano and organ on a couple of tracks.

Lifeboat is a hard, funky offering, with UK musicians working a musical area usually left to American artists. The Sutherlands incidentally play the first half of the Peter Straker concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 1st December.

ELEPHANTS MEMORY – Apple Sapcor 22

Any release by Apple Records is worth hearing and the album release by Elephants Memory is no exception. The band play heavy, raucous 1972 rock and roll, that steams its way through both sides of this record.

The album is produced by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, with whom Elephants Memory have been working. They were heard to good effect on Lennon’s recently released Some Time In New York double set.

The energy and uncompromising vitality of this first release of theirs on Apple, shows why they are worthy of Lennon’s interest, as well as his support and help in getting their own material on to wax.

An album to play loud and to rock to, anyway ya wanna.

FUMBLE – Sovereign SVNA 7254

Fumble are a new group who try hard to recreate pop hits of the late fifties and early sixties. Their album includes such classics as Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Oh Carol, Teddy Bear, and Carole King’s first and only single of that period, It Might As Well Rain Until September. The Everly Brothers’ weepie Ebony Eyes is faithfully reproduced, and one of my pubescent passions, Bobby Vee, is remembered with Take Good Care Of My Baby.

Fumble capture the sound of the originals, but somewhere lose the fun and vitality that makes many of these songs perpetual favourites with rockers of all ages. Fortunately for me, I have copies of these songs by the artists who first recorded them and think I’ll stick to listening to those, leaving Fumble to turn on the generations who missed out on these numbers first time around. I hope that new converts to this golden period of rock and roll will treat Fumble only as an introduction and eventually get round to searching for the original versions.

Keep a look out for the album’s cover, it’s worth a nostalgic laugh.

RHYMES AND REASONS – Carole King – Ode 77016

Not much I can say about Carole King’s new album, Rhymes & Reasons, except that it’s as good, if not better, than her previous three albums. It certainly is up to the standard of Tapestry, which for me personally was her most outstanding venture until now.

With advance sales guaranteeing this record a chart-topper in this country as well as in America, it seems a little pointless to describe the songs.

They all speak for themselves, far better than any reviewer can do them justice. The lyrics seem more personally introverted than before, all touched slightly with an air of sadness, even the happy, light ones. Carole’s Keyboard playing is more to the front than before. It fits so perfectly with her singing, you sometimes wonder which is the instrument and which is the singer.

It would be difficult not to be delighted with this album. Romanticism, in the finest sense, is alive and well and living very near to Carole King.

CARAVANSERAI – Santana – CBS 65299

I quite liked Santana’s first two albums and found their third rather weak. Caravanserai is their fourth and latest offering, which I find over-long, often quite boring and the layers of rhythms that made their initial releases at times magical and exciting are insipid this time round when compared to previous outings.

Side one is reminiscent of the freaky experimenting of groups way back in 1966-7, and the blind alleys that many of those groups disappeared into then are now apparently leading Santana into the same wastelands of pretention. The second side is nearer to what they are usually noted for, but as I said before, it is barely a reflection of their past music. The vocals throughout make me wonder if they ever listen to themselves.

A very disappointing album. One is certainly entitled to expect more from a band of this stature.

FEEL GOOD — Ike and Tina Turner — United Artists UAS 29377

Despite the fact that for me Ike and Tina Turner’s greatest recorded moment was River Deep Mountain High*, thought by some to be the rock and roll cut of all time, I still get turned on, almost to raving point, by the frantic funk of Ike’s music and the roaring, sweating sexuality of Tina’s singing.

Any release of theirs means that the rocking dynamics of their sound are turned up full, and this album is no exception. Tina wails and screams out the passion and love in the lyrics, whilst Ike’s guitar and his band let loose with all that is wild and joyous in rock and roll.

Of the ten tracks on this release. Chopper, Feel Good, Kay Got Laid (Joe Got Paid), and She Came In Through The Bathroom Window are all outstanding, with Black Coffee taking the prize for setting up new highs in recorded excitement and deep, deep soul.

My only complaint is that the total playing time of the album is a mere 28 minutes and 16 seconds. Surely it wouldn’t have broken anyone to have included at least two more tracks on this release.

STEALERS WHEEL – A&M AMLS 68121

I’ve been playing this first album by Scottish group Stealers Wheel for just about a week now, and am finding that it becomes more rewarding with each new outing the record gets on my turntable.

The basis of the group’s music is the excellent bass of Tony Williams and the drumming of Rod Coombes, with guitars and keyboard completing the overall sound. The songs rock along, without becoming excessive, ably assisted by the tasty lead guitar flourishes of Paul Pilnick.

But it is the Stealers’ singing, harmonies and arrangements that really make me take notice. To say they sound like the now quartered Beatles is the nearest I can get to describing them. And the group deliberately seem to be inviting such comparisons. These similarities are uncanny but in no way detract from the enjoyment of their music.

Surprises aren’t exactly unexpected though when one learns that those masters of rock and roll, the writing and producing team of Leiber and Stoller are responsible for production. And one wonders what else. Leiber and Stoller, for those who don’t read the credits on records, have collaborated on such a large number of hits, it would be a difficult task to count them all

Stealers Wheel may well be set tor a big future if enough people pick up on them. It all depends on how listeners react to their Beatlish melodies. Maybe the group’s name has something to do with what one ends up hearing. I don’t know, listen and judge for yourselves.

ROCK OF AGES – The Band – Capitol E-STSPJ1 (2 record set)

The Band’s latest album, a double, is titled Rock Of Ages, and is made up of tapes made during a concert on New Years Eve, 1971. All the songs have appeared on previous releases, but the capturing of their ‘live’ sound adds much to their material. The double set is reasonably priced at £3.25.

All their most respected numbers are here, including The Weight, Chest Fever, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Rag Mama Rag and Life Is A Carnival.

At the concert they were ably assisted by a first rate brass section, led and arranged by Allen Toussaint, who has worked with The Band in the past on studio recordings.

Here are four very fine sides of important American modern music, making it an absolute must for the group’s large following, as well as an excellent introduction to those who have missed out on one of the most original bands writing and performing today.


* Recently re-released by A&M Records on a maxi-single, with two other Spector/Turner classics, A Love Like Yours and Save The Last Dance For Me.

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.”