Nightman Listens! To – David Bowie – Space Oddity (David Bowie 1969)

Hark! It’s Bowie time again and my ears are ready to devour some new (old) tunes. This album appears to have been released at least 43 times under a variety of names, but Space Oddity seems most appropriate because just look at this face:

A Space Oddity if there ever was one
A Space Oddity if there ever was one

I know a few of these songs already, but let’s get stuck in and see what surprises are to be found.

Space Oddity – Familiar guitar. Ground control. Classic. Ominous lurking and building before lift-off. Glorious chorus. Surely everyone knows this -if not, sort it out! I wonder if this was the first Bowie song I ever heard, or of something from Labyrinth came first. You know, this still sounds alarmingly fresh. Oh man, there’s nothing like this in the charts anymore… what happened people? Seriously, we have let ourselves down.

Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed – Tangerine? No, but folksy. A more sombre sound and tone from the previous album. Unusual vocals, seems like he is shouting at a distance from mic. Getting more like a rock song now. Lots of lyrics. Harmonica time. No trumpets yet. Howlin’ Wolf. Doesn’t seem to fit with Space Oddity, I thought this was a concept album. More words, but I can’t make them out (possibly because I’m eating the hugest slab of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen and typing at the same time. Extended jamming end with twiddly guitars and harmonica. Freak out. Oh. Trumpets. Still going. I’ll save a draft while I listen. Fading out.

(Don’t Sit Down) – Fading in. More folk stuff. Yeah yeah, rougher vocals. Laughter. Mistake. End? I see.

Letter to Hermione – This all feels like Zep III. Which of course came later. A sadness. Understanding pain. Lyrics remind me of Accidental Babies by Damien Rice. Not sure what else to sing so doo doo doo.

Cygnet Committee – Experimental start with guitar effects and multi tracks. First song since Space Oddity that the vocals sound like Bowie. Drums. Jeepers, this is nine minutes? Will it be like Bohemian Rhapsody? Heavier. I haven’t been following lyrics, what’s he saying? He is slabbering at a group of people? Aah, slabbering, a word only used within the special confines of The Spac Hole. Is this meant to be a chorus or a refrain? No real changes in tone or sound yet, just more of the story. Over 4 minutes left. I’ll have to listen to this one again to work out what’s going on, but it isn’t grabbing me. Vocals getting more strained. Becoming more anthemic now. My foot is tapping anyway. Slight head nod which I wasn’t aware of. Strange piano. Islam or this land? Changing, galloping, building. End.

Janine – More acoustic stuff. An electric blast. Ghost voice. Zhaneene. Some sort of love song. Oh man, I’ve eaten too much cake. Flourish. Big chorus. Comedy vocals. Breaking down.

An Occasional Dream – Sitar. Dreamy. Woodwind of some sort, lets just say flutes. A bit of Syd Barrett. Interesting changes of pace by the drums.

Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud – Sounds more in tune with Space Oddity. Is this a continuation? Wider arrangement, warm. Building. Fake pay-off. Trumpet blast. Harp. Good. Going for the big note. Go on, son! Changing. Lots of ideas. Strings. Theatrical but not crap.

God Knows I’m Good – National concern. We all hate money. Nice chorus, nice timing, nice guitar. Same folksy guitars. Singing the same line differently. Fading. All these songs have fade-outs.

Memory of a Free Festival – Last one. Is this about Glastonbury? Organ. Speaking. Hippies. Glastonbury is not in London. Happy times, Mammy. Disaster building. Dark Side Of The Moon. Collapse. Finding a way. Refrain. Lets all hold hands and sing this bit. End.

Well, that was an improvement over the first. It felt, to me, more like a Bowie album, and was pretty coherent. A few highlights, and I’d like to give it another go, but I’ll get through some more albums first.

As always, share your thoughts in the comments – where were you when you first heard the album, is it one of your faves etc and ever.

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