David Bowie

London Boy

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Yet another repackaging of David Bowie's late-'60s sides for English Decca's Deram label, presenting him as a kind of psychedelic-era pop/rock singer. The material is attractive in a somewhat derivative pop/rock vein -- curiously, Deram also had Cat Stevens signed at the time, as a pop/rock singer/songwriter, and Bowie's work here is remarkably similar to Stevens' music of the same era, at its best quirkily melodic with clever lyrical twists, such as "Let Me Sleep Beside You," and at its worst predictable soft rock. The songs are drawn from singles such as "Rubber Band" (think of an attempt at psychedelic Noël Coward) and "The Laughing Gnome," and LP sides like "Join the Gang." Some of it is too precious for words, but the best of it has endured across the decades, including "Sell Me a Coat," "Love You Till Tuesday," "London Boys," and the original version of "Space Oddity."

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