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David Bowie: Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) [Box]

Track List

>Future Legend
>Diamond Dogs
>Sweet Thing
>Candidate
>Sweet Thing
>Rebel Rebel
>Rock 'n' Roll with Me
>We Are the Dead
>1984
>Big Brother
>Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family
>1984
>Rebel Rebel
>Moonage Daydream
>Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)
>Changes
>Suffragette City
>Aladdin Sane
>All the Young Dudes
>Cracked Actor
>Rock 'n' Roll with Me
>Watch That Man
>Knock on Wood
>Diamond Dogs
>Big Brother
>Width of a Circle, The
>Jean Genie, The
>Rock 'n' Roll Suicide
>1984
>Rebel Rebel
>Moonage Daydream
>Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)
>Changes
>Suffragette City
>Aladdin Sane
>All the Young Dudes
>Cracked Actor
>Rock 'n' Roll with Me
>Watch That Man
>Knock on Wood
>Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
>Space Oddity
>Diamond Dogs
>Panic in Detroit
>Big Brother
>Time
>Width of a Circle, The
>Jean Genie, The
>Rock 'n' Roll Suicide
>John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)
>Somebody Up There Likes Me [Alternative Gouster Mix] - (remix, previously unreleased)
>It's Gonna Be Me
>Who Can I Be Now?
>Can You Hear Me? [Alternative Gouster Mix] - (remix, previously unreleased)
>Young Americans
>Right [Alternative Gouster Mix] - (remix, previously unreleased)
>Young Americans
>Win
>Fascination
>Right
>Somebody Up There Likes Me
>Across the Universe
>Can You Hear Me?
>Fame
>Station to Station
>Golden Years
>Word on a Wing
>TVC15
>Stay
>Wild Is the Wind
>Station to Station
>Golden Years
>Word on a Wing
>TVC15
>Stay
>Wild Is the Wind
>Station to Station
>Suffragette City
>Fame
>Word on a Wing
>Stay
>Waiting for the Man
>Queen Bitch
>Life on Mars?
>Five Years
>Panic in Detroit
>Changes
>TVC15
>Diamond Dogs
>Rebel Rebel
>Jean Genie, The
>Rebel Rebel [Original Single Mix] - (mix, remix)
>Diamond Dogs [Australian Single Edit]
>Rebel Rebel [US Single Version]
>Rock 'n' Roll with Me [Live: Promotional Single Edit]
>Panic in Detroit [Live]
>Young Americans [Original Single Edit]
>Fame [Original Single Edit]
>Golden Years [Single Version]
>Station to Station [Single Edit]
>TVC15 [Original Single Edit]
>Stay [Single Edit]
>Word on a Wing [Single Edit]
>John, I'm Only Dancing (Again) [1975 Single Version]

Album Notes

Audio Remasterer: Ray Staff.

Recording information: Olympic and Island Studios, London (1974-12-??_1974-08-??_1974-); Plant, New York, City, NY (1974-12-??_1974-08-??_1974-); Sigma Sound, Philadelphia (1974-12-??_1974-08-??_1974-); Studio L Ludolf, Machineweg 8-12, Hilversum, Holland (1974-12-??_1974-08-??_1974-).

A sequel to the 2015 box Five Years 1969-1973, 2016's Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) covers just three years but this stretch in the mid-'70s happens to be the peak of David Bowie's superstardom. That much can be gleaned from the number of albums within the set: three studio albums -- Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, Station to Station, each released in a subsequent year -- along with the double live album David Live from 1974. Four albums in three years is plenty but to that core canon Who Can I Be Now? adds five additional alternate albums, each with varying degrees of rarities. There are full latter-day remixes of David Live and Station to Station -- the former from 2005, the latter from 2010 -- the concert album Live Nassau Coliseum '76, which was added to the super deluxe 2010 reissue of Station to Station, a bonus disc of single edits and stray songs entitled Re:Call, plus an early version of Young Americans called The Gouster. The latter seems to bend the rules of this extensive Bowie catalog reissue project, which is to preserve the officially released canon and keep unreleased tracks -- whether they surfaced on the '90s Rykodisc reissues or remain unheard -- locked up in the vaults. The Gouster contains "Who Can I Be Now?" and "It's Gonna Be Me," both originally released on the 1990 Ryko edition of Young Americans, along with alternate versions of "Can You Hear Me?" and "Right," plus the disco version of "John, I'm Only Dancing," but otherwise it plays like Young Americans, only not quite as good. Furthermore, its presence calls into question why the unreleased outtake "Shilling the Rubes" is left behind alongside the "Dodo" that showed up on the Ryko CD of Diamond Dogs: if the door is opened for some outtakes, it's hard not to miss those that are absent. Still, this is quibbling. The Who Can I Be Now? box set remains as beautifully produced as Five Years, and a deep dive into its contents produces many rewards. Perhaps the alternate album mixes are only slightly different, but it's hard not to be impressed by the rapid development of Bowie's music during these three years. The distance between Diamond Dogs and Station to Station is vast, and the addition of the live albums accentuates how deeply he cared for strong, deeply etched funk to offset his art. Listening to all this music in a concentrated blast, such progression is a wonder to behold. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine



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