The Spiders from Mars

Spiders from Mars

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A rhythm section for David Bowie on one of the classic rock albums of all time, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars, should have known better. Maybe Woody Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder deserved a better fate. They weren't the greatest musicians on the planet, but they did provide back-up to one of the legends; their performance in Boston in 1972 with Bowie (and very few people in the audience) was historic. There are elements of things that could've worked here, but musicians who have climbed the mountaintop should not fall this hard. "Fallen Star" sounds like a Bad Company outtake, and it is one of the stronger tracks, but Bolder's "Red Eyes" is painful, as is "Shine a Light," the composition by vocalist Pete McDonald and guitarist Dave Black. Bowie/Ronson they are not; Hunter/Ronson they are not. Bassist Trevor Bolder's "Prisoner" is actually pretty good, it works better than the post-Ian Hunter Mott albums like Shouting and Pointing. The problem with "Prisoner" is that it's almost there -- it needed a singer who doesn't overdo it, which is exactly the problem with Mott. Replacing a David Bowie or an Ian Hunter is not that simple. Trevor Bolder and Pete McDonald co-write another Bad Company-style tune, "(I Don't Wanna Do No) Limbo," another song that is halfway there. Serious production is missing from this outing; a Tony Visconti or Bob Ezrin might've slapped these guys around and come up with a record worthy of the name Spiders from Mars. "Stranger to My Door" is very Bowie-esque with some "Changes"-style piano; it contains elements of the Guess Who's "Sour Suite" and works much better than "White Man Black Man," a cheap re-write of a Three Dog Night hit about racial harmony which preceded this album by a few years. Bolder's "Rainbow" is another song that starts fine and falls apart before you know it. "Can It Be For" is more pseudo-progressive wandering.

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