The official David Bowie website announced that two limited-edition two rarities collections will be released from the late starman’s vault. Longtime Bowie collaborator, the masterful Brooklyn-born, multi-instrumentalist and producer Tony Visconti mixed a live show from Los Angeles in 1974 for the three-LP live album, Cracked Actor. They will also a reissue of a small-pressing EP of Bowpromo from 1971, which contained alternate mixes of songs from the album Hunky Dory. The two albums drop on April 22, to mark the 10th annual Record Store Day.
Cracked Actor (Live in Los Angeles 1974) was recorded live at Universal Amphitheatre on September 5th 1974 during the Philly Dogs Tour. Some of the show was previewed last Christmas in the BBC documentary Cracked Actor. The full concert spills out across five-sides of vinyl. There’s an etching of the Diamond Dogs-era Bowie logo on the sixth side. But you never know with Bowie’s posthumous material. Maybe if you leave it out in the sun it will warp into something playable.
“The album differs greatly from Bowie’s David Live album,” which was also recorded in 1974, reads the statement on Bowie’s site. “It features a new band line up including soul legend Luther Vandross on vocals. It also has a different set list including two tracks that had just been recorded for the album The Gouster, which was finally released for the first time last year as part of the critically acclaimed Who Can I Be Now? box set.”
The first thing you’ll hear will be the barking of a diamond dog in a sonic collage that pours into one of the funkiest pieces David Bowie ever did, “1984.” Diamond Dogs was his retelling of George Orwell’s nightmarish novel. Judging from the bootleg home recorded version of the concert on YouTube, Bowie’s in great (and emotional) voice and the band is this tight. There are barely any breaks between the songs which segue seamlessly throughout.
The lineup for the show was David Bowie on vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Earl Slick and Carlos Alomar on guitars; Mike Garson on piano and Mellotron; David Sanborn on alto sax and flute; Pablo Rosario on conga; Doug Raunch on bass; and Greg Errico on drums. Warren Peace, Anthony Hinton, Luther Vandross, Ava Cherry, Diane Sumler and Robin Clark were the backing vocalists.
Bowpromo was originally pressed in “very small quantities” as a “promotional accompaniment to Hunky Dory,” according to Bowie’s website. It features alternate mixes of “Oh! You Pretty Things,” “Queen Bitch,” “Quicksand,” and “It Ain’t Easy,” which wouldn’t show up until Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album. The promo doesn’t include any versions of “Changes” or “Life on Mars?,” possibly the best-known songs on the album.
The players were David Bowie on vocals, guitar, piano and phased piano; Mick Ronson on guitar and backing vocals; Trevor Bolder on bass and Woody Woodmansey on drums. Yes’s Rick Wakeman played piano on “Kooks” and “Quicksand.” Bowpromo was produced by Ken Scott (assisted by The Actor), and mixed by Ken Scott at Trident Studios, London.
“Crack baby crack, show me you’re real,” Bowie’s site pleads and here is the real track list:
DAVID BOWIE – CRACKED ACTOR (LIVE LOS ANGELES ’74) (3 LP SET)
Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing
All The Young Dudes
Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me
Knock On Wood
It’s Gonna Be Me
The Jean Genie
Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
John, I’m Only Dancing (Again)
David Bowie logo etching
BOWPROMO SINGLE SIDED BOXSET LP
1. Oh! You Pretty Things (3.18)
2. Eight Line Poem (2.59)
3. Kooks (3.01)
4. It Ain’t Easy (3.04)
5. Queen Bitch (3.21)
6. Quicksand (5.09)
7. Bombers / Andy Warhol Intro (3.39)