The new Who Can I Be Now (1974-1976) may seem a short sequel to last year’s Five Years 1969-1973 boxset as it only covers three years of Bowie’s huge legacy, but as we all know Bowie could pack a lot of brilliance and creativity into a short amount of time. Diamond Dogs, Young Americans and Station to Station are all included PLUS David Live. It’s a testament to the man’s creativity and makes you realise (anew) just how hardworking he was when you realise the box set adds a range of rarities and remixes of these albums plus the previously unreleased The Gouster.
The opening track John, I’m Only Dancing (Again), is a great indicator of how the rest of the album is going to shape up. It’s a pure 70s funk toe-tapper that even non-Bowie fanatics will be humming for days after. The following tracks Somebody Up There Likes Me and It’s Gonna Be Me offer up some more disco-esque goodness with a more ballad type feel to them. It makes for an interesting start to the album when you consider that the opener on Young Americans is the energetic title track. However, it still packs a punch even when it’s further down the track listing.
It’s difficult to imagine that The Gouster was completely scrapped. Although yes some of these tracks did make it onto Young Americans, Bowie producer, archivist and collaborator Nigel Reeve (the man also responsible for THAT awesome BRIT award tribute) assured us that it was wholly intended as a stand-alone record. And as you listen to it as a complete album it works completely and could slide effortlessly into the canon of David Bowie’s back catalogue.
So how do these alternate mixes differ to their Young Americans counterparts? They’re much more soulful and at times warmer. That’s not to say they’re better per se, they’re just interestingly different. Listening to these familiar songs with a refreshing new twist is a treat for the ears of any seasoned Bowie fanatic. We love The Gouster and it’s essential listening for fans of 70s funk, disco and David Bowie. Are there any more unreleased gems locked away in the vault of Bowie? Who knows, all we can say is we’re excited to find out!
To celebrate the release of the wonderful boxset, we teamed up with Richer Sounds and Warner UK to hold an exclusive UK premiere listening session of The Gouster at our new venue Melomania. Lucky competition winners were greeted with Station to Station to get them warmed up for the evening’s entertainment. Nigel Reeve was on hand to give a warm introduction and interesting insight into the album and the artbook that comes with the boxset before kicking off the listening session. The atmosphere couldn’t have been any better, with Bowie artwork on show, drinks flowing and ‘The Gouster’ about to spin on a legendary Technics SL1200 turntable, anticipation and it’s fair to say emotion, was high.
45 minutes later and everyone in the room was smiling from ear to ear. After some exclusive prizes were given away and a toast to the man himself, our guests enjoyed the rest of the evening discussing everything David Bowie as we played out some of his greatest hits over our massive custom built sound system. All in all, a pretty solid night.
Don’t just take our word for it, check out our video from the night’s events and hear what the Bowie fans in attendance thought of ‘The Gouster’. The Who Can I Be Now? (1974 – 1976) boxset is out now.