Thursday, 28 January 2016

​​Can I interest you in a forgotten Ziggy Stardust album?

After "the kids had killed the man" The Spiders From Mars made ​a few​ more record​s, one great, ​​before they had to break up the band​.

The official Spiders From Mars album isn't too great

this is more like it

Slaughter on 10th Avenue, the first solo album by glam guitar deity Mick Ronson.

Well, no okay it isn't a Bowie album... and though it is his greatest backing band playing songs written by him for a them I don't think Bowie even plays on it.

But Holy Look-in, Tomorrow People Magpie it sounds like a Bowie album. Ronson actually does a fairly convincing Ziggy  Stardust impression even with the vocals.  It sounds like an album of a particular era as well, 1975, not an uncreative time. The lineup of musicians on this album, aside from Ronson, was the exact same used by Bowie on his 1973 covers album, Pin-Ups.​

This was a time when Bowie was SO creative he could throw thunderbolts of inspiration at people like Mott The Hoople, a wasted Iggy Pop and a discarded Lou Reed and rescue them from mortality.

In Mick Ronson's case he had already been basking in this creative radiation for some time and was perhaps reaching peak exposure. Mick was the guitar god that drove the first stage of Bowies career, effectively Chief Arachnid in The Spiders From Mars. With Ziggy gone the Spiders were gifted one last album and this is it.

Sadly it was released with perhaps too much fanfare around the time Bowie himself was releasing Diamond Dogs, against which it must have looked like a cash-in.

Opens with he definitive glam rock version of Love Me Tender, and ends with a nice souful glam instrumental. Along the way it has a few bumps, (​Pleasure Man is like a bad Black Sabbath experiment) and the bonus tracks it has been laboured with over the years make a slightly repetitive experience even worse as the central Slaughter riff is played over and over again. (Bonus tracks really are the curse of the album since the 90s, mushing the end to end experience with content the artist was usually correct to keep obscure.)

I'm not claiming Slaughter on 10th Avenue a classic, I'm not even claiming its up there with the albums for others that Bowie breathed on​​ (let alone his own product from that era) but it defiantly deserves more attention. And if you are still too sad to return to Bowies own stuff it is a gentle re introduction.

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