REVIEW

DAVID BOWIE
The Complete Arnold Corns Sessions - March 1971 [Thinprince]

 

Radio Luxemburg sessions, alternate mixes and outtakes.Bowie produces Arnold Corns.

Until Bowie himself documents what happened, Arnold Corns is destined to remain one of the most confusing periods in his entire career. Officially, the project - which saw the then (1971)-unknown Bowie attempt the launch of a new pop superstar, Arnold himself - amounted to just four songs, spread over three singles, a BBC radio concert and a posthumous EP. Unofficially, any number of period demos and out-takes have been assigned to a continuation of the project, and that is the stockpile mined by this set.

All four Corns cuts are here, including the radically different prototype for "Moonage Daydream" (both the regular version and an alternate take) and two versions of "Hang Onto Yourself," the regular single and the so-called Gene Vincent version, allegedly recorded with the great man in LA in 1971 but not bearing any of the evidence one would hope to hear. "Man In The Middle" and "Looking For A Friend," too, are present in two different studio incarnations,, while the latter also appears as a stark demo and in its live BBC form.

The Radio Luxembourg studio demos for "Lady Stardust," "Right On Mother," "Shadowman" and "Lightning Frightening," a song that still sounds like a direct lift from Hotlegs’ "Lady Sadie," are among the non-Corns tracks that fill out the disc, while the closing "Rupert The Riley" is, in fact, the only known evidence of another of Bowie’s attempts at star making, with a young singer friend named Mickey.

Nothing here is painfully obscure. But, in gathering together every known Corns cut plus more besides, it remains a valuable addition for completists. - Dave Thompson




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