Studio sessions - Vampires Of Human Flesh [Midnight Beat]

Demos & alternatives for Scary Monsters And Super Creeps. Recorded at New York's Power Station.

One of the most fascinating of all latter-day (as in post-73) Bowie finds, Vampires Of Human Flesh serves up almost the entire Scary Monsters album in demo and alternative form; and, even if these prototype performances rarely deviate from the familiar, finished versions, still there is an abandon to both the playing and singing that paints a very different record to that which was eventually released. "Scream Like A Baby" is almost punkish in delivery, while "Because You’re Young" packs an entirely different arrangement, occasionally altered lyrics and a different title - "Because I’m Young."

"It’s No Game" appears only in the slower vein that closed the official album, but is, if anything, even moodier than before, but the real find is "Is There Life After Marriage," an instrumental version of a song that has never been officially released in any form whatsoever. It’s difficult from this evidence to tell what Bowie might have ultimately made of it - the melody itself is nothing to write home about, although it dovetails perfectly with the rest of the Scary sessions, a short disco interlude notwithstanding.

A couple of reprises add little to the versions aired earlier on the disc and, again, one could be disappointed by the familiarity of many of the versions. Nevertheless, in a career that has been constantly besmirched by substandard bootleg retellings of the same crop of songs, Vampires represents one of the very few truly essential studio releases. - Dave Thompson

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