on May 31, 2010
A vast sonic improvement over the 1997 Deram Anthology! CD #1: The original first album in mono and stereo...CD #2: singles, b-sides, rarities ("London Bye Ta-Ta", "Ching-a-Ling", "When I'm Five"...and live radio performances of some of the songs) A very extensive booklet and packaging. For many Bowie fans (and myself), this was the David Bowie that I discovered years after I had heard Ziggy and Aladdin Sane...and it fits right in with the chameleon thing: cool songs, weird songs, strange ones too...Bowie. Again, I really must stress the sound of this remaster is stunning!
on March 22, 2003
This much underrated early debut is a must for any Bowie fan. Though the music at this point lacks the sophistication of his later work, the lyrics are brilliant and the production is excellent. His early work shows him to be one of the wittiest lyricists of his time. This album is a thoughtful jab at all the pretensions of the 60's. It makes a connection with far stranger artists such as the Bonzo Dogs and Frank Zappa, but is more clever and dignified than either.
Somehow, this album makes the whole rest of Bowie's career fall into place, and made me even more mindful of the underlying wit present in all his other albums. This album may seem strange at first, but it grows on you. I find myself loving it more with each listening, which is odd for an album full of "novelty songs". It proves to be so much more.
I would also recommend The Deram Anthology 1966-1968 as a more complete collection of early Bowie recordings, but some of the added songs were unwelcome intrusions next to the coherence of this album as it was originally released. I myself own both and wouldn't part with either of them.
on June 28, 1998
David Bowie was 19 when this album was released, and it is proof of the origination of his unearthly writing genius. Released in 1967, it's sound has it's own light oddness, but it's distinctly mid-1960's London. However, the album's sounds are extremely contradictory to the subject matter; The incongruities of suburban London. The track "Please Mr. Gravedigger", is the story of a gravedigger with an unhealthy fetish. It's subjects that lie within remain to be explored by the listener. From polotics to things that seem to be plainly silly, but deserve the most inquiry.
on January 21, 2016
Please, Amazon, try to fix the common problem of having customer reviews show up not only on the wrong version of a work, but on a different work entirely. As I write this, on the page for "David Bowie Aka Space Oddity," B0106UFFW6, all of the other reviews here are identical to, and referencing, the two disc edition of Bowie's first self-titled album from 1967, B002W1GCX4, a very different album, different songs, etc...
I know you probably won't let this go through as a review, but I don't know how else to get this message across. It is a serious and long-standing problem. There is a review here, of sorts, as well as a plea to Amazon to work on getting the customer reviews to the correct work, even, if possible, to the correct version of the correct work.
As for the second self-titled album by Bowie, now called Space Oddity after its iconic single, it is the only Bowie album, aside from the fun Pin-Ups, that came out between Space Oddity and Ashes to Ashes, if not Let's Dance, that I wouldn't give a five star rating. I don't think it hits "classic" status, aside from the single. Man Who Sold the World is typically what I'd consider Bowie's true lift off. Actually I'd give Young Americans a 4 star rating, but the rest, easy 5 stars. I don't care for the first album (1967), though this review will probably land there as well as on this page for Space Oddity... too dated and I don't think Bowie had found his distinctive voice, too derivative of too many styles... and I know the same can be said for later albums, possibly all Bowie's albums, but even as Bowie changed, from Man Who Sold the World on... he has been distinctively Bowie. I love the new Blackstar LP, and am very saddened to learn of his illness and death.
on March 14, 2011
Whilst the multiple (yet varied) recordings of different songs are wanted by the quintessential Bowie collector, where does this place your run-of-the-mill rock fan? That's what I'm here to answer.
Those of you who are already Bowie fans will appreciate this plunge into the past as you get a chance to see that which was formative in his later, much more widely known career as the charismatic entertainer; Ziggy Stardust, a glowing beacon among other subdivisions of his personality and style. For others, it will be a trip down memory lane as you are reacquainted with the old music hall style of music.
However, this album is not merely a hallmark of a bygone time, as it faces up to the demons of yesterday and tomorrow in the form of the very real issues of sexual leaning and identity. The album has a very jaunty, jovial feel overall (with the marked exception of "Please, Mr. Gravedigger) which only lends power to the message which is laced within it. It paints a sad picture of the fate of the non-conformist, whilst maintaining an energetic and unexamined veneer which belies the earnest truth within.
All in all, the tracks translate with clarity and no disambiguation over to the 21st century from their 60's setting, poignantly refreshing the everyday soundtrack of an average life, and displaying a sliver of the inspired young artist which Bowie once was, and remains today.
Every listen reveals a new wealth of meaning, which I shall allow you to uncover for yourself.
Most importantly, the album is immensely enjoyable, as it manages to lift spirits with its cheerful demeanour, whilst remaining un-flippant in its delivery as it tells the enduring story of the sublime innocence which encapsulates youth as it is peeled back to reveal the exclusion of differences and yearning for conformity.
If you are reading this you probably are already mostly familiar with these songs & most likely have most of them in some format. You want to know if you should buy them again. My 1st exposure was a vinyl disk I found in a cut out bin for 29¢ in 1968. I was pretty blown away & couldnt understand why I never saw a copy at Tower Records or heard any of this on the radio. Sound wise this version pretty much blows every other version out of the water. Some might question having both the mono & stereo versions & rightly so since the two versions dont sound much different. Some albums have a very different sound in mono & stereo ( compare The Crazy World of Arthur Brown or any of the mono Beatles albums). Not so here. The bonus tracks have been available on sonically questionable bootlegs but are here sounding great & in proper historical perspective (1 bootleg collection has these songs mixed with Ziggy era b sides & such). Not for the casual Bowie fan this is the definitave version of Bowie's Deram period material. I wish somebody would do a similar upgrade to the earlier material from '64-66. Highly recommended to those curious.
on March 1, 2001
This album is simply a must for David Bowie fans. Dodgy 80's material notwithstanding, all of Bowie's albums are absolutely essential listening. This one is no exception. On the other hand, why not get THE DERAM ANTHOLOGY 1966-1968 which includes this album and a load of 'bonus' tracks too?
on September 28, 2015
Classic Bowie, especially the title track.
A five star album, with a few flaws in this edition. While the sound in general is better than other versions released on CD over the years, the source material appears to have some problems. Two examples:
Cygnet Committee has some strange noise in Bowie's voice on on the lyric "....someone else to hear...."
Memory Of A Free Festival has a strange slice -- so "it was god's land" becomes "it was god land".
on March 12, 2016
Let me start off by clarifying that I am writing a review on the 2015 remix of the classic David Bowie album titled "David Bowie aka Space Oddity". I mention this because it looks like, and it has been mentioned in another review by someone, that a few different album reviews are appearing on this page for David Bowie and not just exclusively for "Space Oddity". This has been a problem with Amazon in the past with other album reviews being mixed together so this is not the first time I have seen this situation. It is one of the extremely few complaints I have with Amazon and I wish they would do something to eliminate this problem. Now I will step off the soap box and give my review for this excellent CD.
I first heard of David Bowie and became a fan of his with the release of this 1969 album. I know a lot of fans while liking this record don't rate it was among his best and prefer his later efforts. I am of the other side of that opinion. I rate this among his very best. Better even then some of his later works. I instantly fell in love with "Space Oddity" the first time I heard it. I usually don't fall in love with any albums right away. Not even albums by some of my favorite groups or singers. It usually takes a couple or so listenings before I really get into an album. But "Space Oddity" captured my attention from the start and I found myself being drawn in by the music. It was different from a lot of the music that was being produced back then. Maybe that is why I fell in love with this album so quickly. I have always liked music a little bit off the charts, non-conforming, looking to create its own sound. Its own genre of music. It is not a perfect album by any means and yet I gave it 5 stars because of the uniqueness of the music. You definitely get a folk/rock feel of this music with a touch of psychedelic in it.
But it is for me much more then just the music. I have always been a sucker for interesting and thought provoking lyrics and that's where these recordings won me over. I love the lyrics to these songs. Bowie really shined I felt on here because of his words. Expressive and detailed writing wrapped up in a gift for story telling. Listen to songs on here like "Cygnet Committee", "Wild Eyed Boy From Free Cloud" and "God Knows I'm Good" and you will be hanging to every word of the story being told.
What is also nice with the re-issue of this album is it has been re-mastered. It was re-mastered last year (2015) and the work put into it is very good. I find it brings some new life to already great music. I got this CD on my birthday and I couldn't have been more thrilled with getting it. It had been many years since I had the chance to listen to the entire album once again but it quickly reminded why I loved these songs so much. It was sad and shocking news when David passed away earlier this year. To know we won't be hearing any new works from him is truly sad. But we do have an outstanding catalog of songs and albums made over the years by Bowie to always remind us just how great an artist he was. If you are a Bowie fan like me then you will want to add this re-mastered classic to your music collection
on January 3, 2006
I don't have this exact album but have another with about 3/4 of these tunes plus 4 others from this period.
Bowie's material from this period could perhaps only be appreciated by people who enjoy trippy psychedelic pop in the vain of Syd-Barett-period-Pink-Floyd ("Piper at the Gates of Dawn") or The Beatles (ala "Sgt Pepper's" etc.)
It is fun, it has humour, it has fantasy, it has some great story-based trippy lyrics... a little bit like mid-late 60s John Lennon and Syd Barret.
This is music to make you smile and recall childhood days of fantasy and wonder. In essence, this music is right on the mark for the time it was created.
Sadly, this particular album does not have "The Laughing Gnome", which never fails to bring a big grin to people's faces.
I love and appreciate Bowie's work from all of his phases - except for the "Space Oddity" album which, apart from that great title track, is truly bland.
However, if you're limited in interest to his moody late 70s stuff, or his heavier stuff from the late 90s, or his 80s pop, or his glam stuff from the early 70s, then this possibly isn't for you.
But if you like trippy 60s pop that will make you smile and daydream - then a lot of Bowie's work from this period is excellent!
My wife and I view this album as therapy - if we're feeling down or moody these charming happy go lucky tunes snap us out of it and put a smile on our faces ;-)
How could you not feel better after hearing a song like "Rubber Band"?
So, if not this album, then maybe go for the Deram collection that other reviewers mention.
PS - what also amazed me when I heard Bowie's late 60s works, is that the clarity of the music and his vocal performance far outshines his later, famous early 70s works. They sound muddy and cluttered in comparison.