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Monday, May 1, 2017

David Bowie - "Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)/'Tis A Pity She Was A Whore 10" 45 rpm Vinyl (Columbia)


A 10" vinyl release with a retro cover.   David Bowie's packaging of this long player single as well as its music was the first gesture that changes will come within the Bowie world.  My first impression is that this is some long lost recording that Bowie did for ECM Records.  Big jazz band music that borders on the Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht side of life.  "Sue" is a theatrical tale of a murder that reminds me of Brecht's "Baal" which Bowie acted in a British TV version of this early play by the master.  Songs by Brecht in that theater piece deals with murder with a very detached language that's poetic and equally horrifying.  Bowie uses the same technique as Brecht here on this song.   The music is by Bob Bhamra, Paul Bateman, and Maria Schnieder.   At the time, this sounded like a one-off track, but now we know that this will lead to Bowie's last album "Blackstar." 

The b-side has my favorite Bowie song ever  - which is saying a lot because I love his music so much.  "Tis A Pity She Was A Whore" sounds like a demo recorded by Bowie by himself, but I'm not sure if that's the case.  The noise and electronics are a work of beauty.   Violence with an amount of grace mixed into this great cocktail of a record.  This too showed up on "Blackstar," and like the A-side a new or different recording.   I'm not sure which version I like more - both are very different although it's the same song, and the arrangement is similar.   The 10" single is a must to have, especially if one is a fan of "Blackstar."  Bowie was on a high aesthetic mode toward the end of his life.   May he live on in our hearts and minds.