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CD Review: Hunky Dory by David Bowie

[review]

Hunky Dory was David Bowie’s 4th album and his first for RCA,it pre-empted the monumental “Ziggy Stardust” album and, much as that album was more my era, Hunky Dory was a mirror to an era that I so wanted to be a part of, an era of love, peace & hope. In a word this album is magical…and so much more, from the Greta Garbo-esque sleeve photo…. is it a man? …is it a woman?….hinting at the gender bending display that was about to explode and set everybody talking & asking questions. I remember my 1st sighting of Bowie on Top of the Pops doing “Starman” from the Ziggy Stardust album, my Father staring in disbelief at the sight of Bowie “cosying” up to guitarist Mick Ronson, I was pretty shocked myself but also strangely excited, not because it had awakened latent homosexual/bi-sexual feelings in me, but because all of a sudden I realised my own personal revolution was about to begin…no longer was I dwelling on the legacy of the Led Zeps and Deep Purples that were spawned from a bygone era suddenly I was in my own time and space…then came Alice Cooper!!!!…but I digress.Hunky Dory is my favourite Bowie album no question, it has a certain spark…a hint of underground, a slice of escapism, you can’t quite put your finger on it, but it has it. When I play it a myriad of memories come flooding back. The album kicks off with “Changes”, a massive dose of Bowie prophecy with the immortal line “Watch out you Rock n Rollers pretty soon now ya gonna get older”…in a time when Rockstars were considered immortal, free from ageing, untouchable to the onslaught of the years ahead…Bowie made the truth inescapable and in a single line destroyed the myth. Next track….”Oh you pretty things” a slice of pure “Pop and Roll” with a chorus to die for, love it or hate it you couldn’t help sing it and there was more than a hint of camp within the delivery! “Eight Line Poem” links us to “Life on Mars” a masterpiece Rock Ballad whereupon the lyrics recall a tale of “sailors fighting in the dancehalls…oh Man…look at them cavemen go”…the words make sense of the senseless…by this time the album has cast it’s spell. “Kooks” is a tune in honour of David’s son Zowie “Don’t pick fights with the bullies or the cads, cos I’m not much cop at punching other peoples Dads”…delivered with humour and a sense of music hall…by this time I realised I was part of something special and the magic was working!! “Quicksand” is a laid back “drama queen” of a track but swiftly turns to upbeat with “Andy Warhol”, driven by an acoustic guitar riff that Rocks like a Mofo…”Song for Bob Dylan” is a real “clues in the title track”…but is it homage?…or is it criticism?…who knows? Bowie knows!!! Who cares? Cos the next track, “Queen Bitch” is an anthem and a sign of all things Glam to come with tracks like “Suffragette City” and the like….”Queen Bitch” has a driving riff worthy of Detroit Rock n Roll at it’s finest, it smacks of Iggy Pop, but it’s not…it’s David Bowie…”She’s so swishy in her satin and tat, with her frock coat and bippity boppity hat, Oh Man! I could do better than that!!”…so…who’s the real bitch here? Awesome!!! Best till last time though as the album closes with “The Bewlay Brothers” a piece de resistance of avant garde genius…atmospheric to a fault, the lyrics cut deep and must have prompted strenuous studying as to their meaning from the “turned on generation”….the underground band The Pink Fairies, once Notting Hill’s “darlings” of stoned hippiedom took one of the lines from this track and named their album “Kings of Oblivion” after it..the line is “Man…we were gone…Kings of Oblivion…we were so turned on…” Hunky Dory is one of those albums that after listening to it you just needed to play it again, it meant something, it was confusing and yet clear, deep and yet obvious and, at the end of the day, it did what all great pieces of work should do it moved you and it made you think. This was the album that gave us a glimpse at what creativity was soon to be thrust upon us from David Bowie…by the next album the true nature and passion was plain for all to see and the world fell under the spell of one of Rock’s greatest artists.

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Mark Storey

Hi my name is Mark Storey and it all started for me the very second I saw Alice Cooper doing Schools Out on the now defunct Top of the Pops…I was hooked on Rock n Roll especially the down n dirty Detroit Rock that was so prolific in the 70′s. I worked as a journalist in the 80′s for a fortnightly publication called “Music” where I reviewed and interviewed a lot of my heroes..Ted Nugent, Mitch Ryder, Brian May, Ian Anderson and it was good fun!!! These days I’m in 2 bands, M.S.P. an original Rock band where I am working with a guitarist and drummer who live in Indonesia and our debut album is due for completion very soon and I also sing and play Blues Harp in a covers band One Night Stand who gig regularly. Rock music has been my life and still is, it’s got me through good times and bad and never fails to fire me up…as long as it’s good that is!!! LOL!!! Pleased to meet ya!!!

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