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1968-72-Bowie at the Beeb: Limited Edition Box set, Import

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 26 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • Label: Virgin Records Us
  • ASIN: B00004Y7WV
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
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Disc: 1
1. In The Heat Of The Morning
2. London Bye Ta Ta
3. Karma Man
4. Silly Boy Blue
5. Let Me Sleep Beside You
6. Janine
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Supermen
2. Eight Line Poem
3. Hang On To Yourself
4. Ziggy Stardust
5. Queen Bitch
6. Waiting For The Man
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Wild Is The Wind
2. Ashes To Ashes
3. Seven
4. This Is Not America
5. Absolute Beginners
6. Always Crashing In The Same Car
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Comprehensiveness isn't always a virtue, as this three-CD set proves. It gathers together everything David Bowie recorded for the BBC between the years referenced in its title, plus a third disc taken from a June 2000 London concert for the famed British radio broadcasting company. Head first to disc two, which focuses on Bowie's in-studio recreations of material from Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust, and marvel at the glam-rockabilly heat generated by Bowie's Spiders from Mars band. By comparison, the other two discs are a disappointment. The first reveals a musical chameleon uncomfortably changing his spots, from music-hall entertainer to free-festival folkie to sub-Dylan sage. The third and final disc betrays a different problem. By 2000, Bowie had calcified into a very slick entertainer. His performances here, particularly of later material such as "I'm Afraid of Americans" and "This Is Not America," are technically fine but a little bloodless--disappointingly human instead of wonderfully alien. --Keith Moerer

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I rarely listen to this although having said that I have been listening to it a lot more recently. The fact is is that this is a hard thing to recommend. You might not have some of the songs that are on here and for that you might want to top up. I bought it as an overview of Bowie's earlyish career ( I'm not going anywhere near The Laughing Gnome ). Which in hindsight was probably a bit of a mistake but I wouldn't buy this album if it didn't have the extra CD - call me banal if you will but that's what happens when you have collector tendancies in you!
Bowie's early stuff ( pre-Ziggy ) sounds anodyne and twee. The conversations you hear on the CD make Bowie seem genuinely nervous but pleasantly friendly. Of course he might not do one song " because to do it would be possibly over everyone's budget." You could take that as nerves if you will but this is the BBC we're talking about. Their budgets at the time were not astronomical.
I've said this before that when you see " Live At The BBC " it doesn't really mean it's really *live* if you've ever heard BBC radio presenters like John " that was quite tasty " Peel or any others you'll know that they say " and we have [musician's name] here live in the studio." It's in a studio and it will never give you a live feel for the songs. It's just BBC engineers working on Bowie's songs and in return you could I suppose think of them as session outtakes from his album. But one thing should be made clear - if you haven't got Bowie's version of Jacques Brel's Amsterdam, this is where you can get it. It's passion almost matches Le Grand Jacques in it's intensity
As the second CD moves and the classics come in you begin to think " this is more like it " and Bowie seems more at ease with everything.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3a3d948) out of 5 stars 49 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37a83a8) out of 5 stars Bowie at his erratic best - a tour through three decades Sept. 26 2000
By Vincent T - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Like so much about Bowie, this compilation is intriguing but defies easy classification. This three disk set includes recordings made as early as 1968, and as recently as June 2000. The first two disks feature songs from his very earliest faltering steps into songwriting through his early successes; the third disk is a concert recorded immediately after the well received show at the Glastonbury festival in summer 2000.
Each era has its own appeal. True fans (at least, true British fans who've listened to the BBC in the past three decades) will be familiar with the folksy acoustic sound and lyrics, replete with Cockney accent, of recordings of songs such as "Karma Man" and "Janine" on the early disks. They reflect a plethora of influences - Dylan, the Beatles, Jacques Brel, who knows what else. Some of the material is only of historical interest; and some of it is really strong - notably "Let me sleep beside you", which would fit comfortably on the recent album "Hours...". The recordings sound as you'd expect them to - polished jam sessions - interspersed with annoying dialog from various BBC hosts ("... my mum thinks this one's dirty"). And "Kooks", dedicated to the then newborn Bowie junior, is charming.
Still more appealing, though, is the third disk - a vibrant mix of songs spanning 30 years. It opens with a brilliant rendition of "Wild is the Wind" , on which Bowie's vocals come closer to the 1976 studio recording than they ever have done before. Onwards through crowd pleasers such as the Lennon joint venture "Fame" and Nirvana-influencing "Man Who Sold the World" (of which Bowie justifiably admits to being very proud), and - best of all - great rarities such as the Pat Metheny collaboration "This is not America". The eighties weren't a complete waste of time, then!
One or two of the very recent tracks do inevitably stand out as less than inspired songwriting. Still, the band, which includes long-time collaborators Mike
Garson and Earl Slick, treats every song like a long-lost family member: with respect and love, getting the sound astonishingly close to the studio originals.
Only a performer of Bowie's stature and confidence could release this eclectic a compilation. It's not the ideal introduction for the new fan (I'd rather recommend one of the singles compilations). But anyone who wants proof of how a performer can mature, grow in stature, and not become dull, should make this the centerpiece of his year 2000 collection.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37a83fc) out of 5 stars More essential than you might think.... Nov. 4 2005
By Thomas D. Ryan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
`Beeb' is a British affectation for the BBC, the state-run media which plans (or planned) all television and radio for Great Britain. Bowie was around when the BBC was implementing its 4-station radio broadcasting, and he became one of the first guests in early 1968. BBC rules were strange and archaic by American standards, insisting that pre-recorded music represent only a fraction of airtime, the point being that this would provide employment for professional musicians. So it was that David Bowie appeared with a crew of musicians to perform his songs live a number of times over a four-year period.

I'm a very big fan of Bowie's early work (reference my review of Images 1966-1967 if you're interested), but the earliest sessions on this collection are the least fulfilling. Disk one holds interest to Bowie-philes for historic reasons, but it is disk two that presents the artist in full flight. Working with Mick Ronson, his Ziggy Stardust-era songs shine brilliantly here, in some cases rivaling the album versions. "Hang On to Yourself," "Suffragette City," and "Ziggy Stardust" all rock with authority and grace. "Queen Bitch" has more energy than the version on Hunky Dory, while the songwriting brilliance of songs like "Changes" and "Oh You Pretty Things" come through loud and clear. Most telling are the two Velvet Underground songs performed here. Both "White Light/White Heat" and "Waiting For My Man" are definitive, surpassing all Bowie versions that were previously available and perhaps even surpassing Lou Reed's original versions.

For those of you who are lucky enough to find it, a limited edition of this package comes with an extra disk of Bowie performing live at the BBC radio theatre in June of 2000. Search it out! The extra disk is extraordinary, featuring some of the best live Bowie ever recorded. The band is phenomenal, playing each song to perfection without sacrificing any energy. This version of "Stay" blew me away, forcing me to recognize the sheer funky power of this band. Just as mind-boggling are the versions of "Fame" (a new, `improved' version!), "Absolute Beginners" and "Man Who Sold the World". Every track on this extra disk is exceptional, making it an absolute must for even casual fans of David Bowie. A- Tom Ryan
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37a8834) out of 5 stars The REAL Kicker is limited edition bonus track Oct. 11 2000
By Olly Buxton - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The '68 - '72 sessions (discs 1 and 2):
The first disc kicks off with a set canvassing the silly portfolio D. Jones Esq. dished up before he went down to the crossroads - or what ever it was he did - and transformed himself from silly Anthony Newley rip-off to Global Phenomenon and Curious Living Work of Art that we all know, love and are periodically bamboozled by. Fundamentally, the "Jones" material is lousy - don't let revisionists convince you otherwise - but oddly is produced and delivered here with a lot more flourish (look mum! a string section!) than the famous material which follows it.
Of the famous stuff, there is a disappointing inverse relationship between the quality of raw material and its presentation on this particular record. The Ziggy Stardust cuts sound horrible - shrill, poorly executed and mixed badly, paling in comparison with the album versions. By and large, there are better versions of all songs to be found elsewhere: Amsterdam, for example, can't hold a match, let alone a candle to the stunning B-side to Sorrow which appeared a couple of years later (available as a bonus track on the (now deleted) Rykodisc presing of Pin Ups), and while the acoustic take of the Supermen beats the album version, there is a better demo of this arrangement available (also on Rykodisc). There are a couple of pretty tough VU covers here, though.
To cut a long story short - this double is great for completists, and Bowieheads like me will find much of fascination, but if you're a beginner, go buy The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust (preferably on Rykodisc if you can find them) and come back to this in six months when it's in the bargain bins if you still aren't satisfied.
At the Radio Theatre, 27 June 2000 (disc 3)
If this July 2000 live album were released by itself, it would be worth ten stars. It is staggering, and will please young and old alike. To my immense excitement it undermines a truism about David Bowie: viz., he is disappointing live. He has always tended to shout, and has frequently made dreadful mistakes in personnel - Peter Frampton, Thomas Dolby, for very good example - and has emphasised visual over aural impact. Er, remember Glass Spider? No? Good.
But the news is all good here - he's in fantastic voice throughout and by no means pulls his punches - kicking off the set with Wild is the Wind, for example, is not for the faint of larynx, but it sounds magnificent, and it sets the tone for the remainder of the set. The band is first rate: Station to Station (and, er, Serious Moonlight)-era guitarist Earl Slick, the pianist who MADE Aladdin Sane what it was, Mike Garson, together with a band which has everything but cold fire (ahem).
And the choice and arrangement of songs will delight all. Yes, he does Fame, Ashes to Ashes and Let's Dance for the top 40 punters, but check this out - Always Crashing In The Same Car? Hallo Spaceboy? Stay? Cracked Actor? WOW! Wheeling out such hidden gems sure warm the cockles of this old Bowie-nut's heart, especially when they sound so choice. So, A good new album (...Hours) and a great live band? What ever next? The critics will be saying David Bowie's got good again... No, don't even GO there.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37a8bf4) out of 5 stars WHam, Bam, thank you BOWIE! Oct. 9 2000
By Matthew Turner - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An incredible set! Get it! All the tracks on the first two discs are a fascinating glimps into the evolution of that spaced out glam man that Bowie became. The early folk influences really shine on God Knows I'm Good, and Janine. They are wonderfully sung...and his voice! Damn good...who in rock can rival his high end vibrato? It is beautiful. The versions from Hunky Dory and Ziggy are incredible...enough of a difference from the studio discs to make this very worth while. And the bonus live CD is wonderful. I have read a few reviews that pan it as a come down when compared to his earlier material...boy did they miss the boat! Did they even listen to the disc! IT IS AMAZING to hear Bowie in his 50's still belting relevant rock that has an edge to it. And it is great hearing some very rare gems done live, especially Always Crashing in the Same Car, which is totally revamped and very spacy. I wondered though, where was Gabreil Reeves, his usual guitart sidekick, but don't get me wrong, Earl Slick is great...and a Bowie veteran and very attuned to the Thin White Duke's stage work. All in all an extremely rewarding ear orgy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37a8ba0) out of 5 stars 5 years, seven days... Sept. 27 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I recently discovered (to my pleasant surprise) that Bowie had a "new release" on the way less than a week ago, and this set should indeed be a welcome addition to anyone's Bowie collection (for those who have been following him throughout the years it is somewhat essential). For me the high point is the 3rd "bonus" cd which highlights his performance earlier this year in Glastonbury (15 out of the 22 songs he performed on that occasion are included, with no repeats of any of the tracks which appear on either of the former two cds in earlier versions).
Up until this point I had been somewhat secretly lamenting the passing of his Outside/Earthling phase (I tend to favor his more experimental periods, including the Berlin trilogy he did w/Eno in the late 70's) and, admittedly, had even worried that he might be close to losing his "commercial integrity" as he had once before in the 80's (the idea of performing such crowd-pleasing hits as "Let's Dance" on the previous two tours was not an idea which he would have entertained, for instance, although the inclusion of it here really does not seem too out-of-place luckily).
Having said that, this set is, for lack of a better word, "brilliant". The band is tight, Earl Slick's guitar work feels so good and is a breath of fresh air from Reeves' more abrasive style (the Station to Station tracks on here really groove!), and Bowie's voice, despite the bouts of laryngitis which he had been fighting at the time, sounds fantastic. So nice that we are treated to such less-commonly performed gems as "Always Crashing in the Same Car" and "This is not America" in addition to the more predictable (but still good) material like "Fame" and "Man Who Sold the World" (the latter of which has been transformed back into a version similar to the original, as opposed to the overly-played quasi-Indian/electro versions of '95-'97).
Discs 1 & 2 are the "from the vaults" discs and give us a glimpse into some of Bowie's earliest recordings for the BBC. Highlights are "Let me sleep beside you", "(Port of) Amsterdam" (I wish he had also done "My Death" for the BBC, but alas!), "God knows I'm good", as well as a number of the alternate versions of songs from the HD/ZS period on disc 2 which should thrill any fan of Bowie's "glam" period (as well as fans of the film "Velvet Goldmine", although keep in mind that THIS is the "real deal" kids!).
All-in-all a solid set and well-worth the price, especially with the inclusion of the additional live cd. Buy it while you can (the 3cd package is limited), lest the Glastonbury set disappear forever as Mr. Bowie again takes us to "the edge of time" in the coming months and (hopefully) for many years into the future...