Tuesday, December 14, 2010

David Bowie's missing album?

The Outside Outtakes have always confused me. I discovered them in 2003, when they first surfaced online. What I got was from 2 different sources from the great Bowie Audio site. I put them on 2 different CD’s and aside from a few confusing listens they’ve basically sat in my CD rack since. A lot of it kept sounding familiar and due to the nature of the recordings, I just figured that’s the way it was. There was the 22 minute Inside that I listened to a few times, but never got a grasp of what was going on. Plus several other songs that just sounded like sections of Inside (I Am With Name, The Leek Soldiers, Laugh Hotel, etc.) Throw in a few separate bits of Creep Together, 2 OK Riot’s and you can see why things are confusing. Not to mention the herky jerky nature of the recordings…..abrupt starts, chopped endings. After going through another Outside phase recently and wanting to hear more from the period, I decided to figure out the Outside Outtakes once and for all.
If you don’t know about the story, there are a couple of sites with the details here and here There’s info on the songs, but a lot of that info also adds to the confusion. You can also search youtube and hear a lot of the raw tracks. Most of them are in a pretty scattered state though, especially Inside. Although, there is a great video of “The Enemy Is Fragile” that is worth checking out. All together from my discs, I have 18 different tracks.
Out of the 18, 7 were pieces of Inside and 3 others fit together to make I’d Rather Be Chrome/We’ll Creep Together. After cleaning all that up, I did a little flipping around and found an order that works really well. It was literally a musical jigsaw puzzle. There are obviously pieces still missing. As a result, it's still a little herky jerky in parts, but that’s adds to the overall feel of the album too. And Inside definitely needs to be listened to as a whole. It’s a pretty cool 22 minutes of music, definitely one of Bowie’s finest unheard statements. With much thanks and credit to his collaborators/band at the time.
I made no adjustments to sound quality (hissing, pops, etc), just pieced together the parts. I used every bit that I have too, nothing has been left out. I did create the fade at the beginning of the first song from the existing intro. I reversed it, slowed it down and faded it in to give it a nice start. The story goes that Bowie, Eno and Reeves wanted Outside to be 2 CD’s. The first disc being Outside and the second called Leon featuring the outtakes. But they couldn't find anyone interested in releasing it. This is my version of Leon.
I think it fits really well together and would sound great on LP. It has 2 parts (2 sides) at just over 40 minutes long. Part 1 is 18 minutes long and begins and ends with an OK Riot. Part 2 is 22 minutes long and in 6 different sections. Near the beginning of the disc we meet the, “number one packet sniffers” and hear of “a superhighway of information”. And near the end “it’s time to round up the packet sniffers” and “someday the internet may become an information superhighway”.

It feels very Floydian to me. I put it together with that in mind and organized the tracks to flow as a whole piece, each leading into the other. There is a little overlap between some of them but nothing is missed. I did smooth out beginnings and ends to eliminate clicks between tracks. Also, the files are wav. Not necessarily for sound quality reasons, but to keep the flow of the album. If you burn it onto CD, there are no spaces between the songs. MP3 files always add that little space between tracks.
And does it sound better! Either as one full album or 2 seperate parts. I’ve always liked, I’d Rather Be Chrome, Nothing To Be Desired and The Enemy Is Fragile, but have really grown to love them. They’re fantastic tunes! It used to be just a cool bootleg , that I didn’t really listen to. Now it’s a missing album that I’ve been listening to alot! Maybe someday the Outtakes will actually get an official release. This is what Bowie said in 2003.
“The one thing I can truly, seriously think about in the future that I would like to get my teeth into—it's just so daunting—is the rest of the work that Eno and I did when we started to do the Outside album. We did improv for eight days, and we had something in the area of 20 hours' worth of stuff that I just cannot begin to get close to listening to. But there are some absolute gems in there...
Click the title below

David Bowie - Leon
Part 1

I’d Rather Be Chrome 5:26 – The beginning is the end with an ad of an OK Riot. This has been floating around in 3 different pieces, but finally put together here as, “I’d Rather Be Chrome”. After 2 and a half minutes it begins the segue into We’ll Creep Together Pt. 1 and then the speech, “friends of the trust, you’ve been a breadth filled crowd tonight, you’ve been positively fly boys, we are surely on our way, upon that superhighway of information, as far as I’m concerned, you are all number one packet sniffers…so sing with me”.
Dead Men Don’t Talk 1:19 – interlude. Studio chatter and experimentation. This song actually comes from the Eart_hl_ing sessions and is featured on the documentary, "Inspirations". It was included with the Outtakes when I first got them and I didn't realize it's true origins until just recently. Thanks to Maarten for the info. I've decided to keep it in here because it fits really well.
Nothing To Be Desired 2:09 – A funky chanting number “Nothing to be desired, it leaves nothing to be desired, nothing….”, “mind changing, mind changing, change your mind changing, mind changing…” with a cool wah-wah guitar. This song was officially released, on the U.S. only CD single for “Hearts Filthy Lesson” and also on a 2004 limited double CD. I have the CD single and aside from the better quality, being official and all, it’s the same song. For consistency though, I stuck with the outtakes version.
Inside The Motel 1:56 – interlude. Experimentation at first, then becomes a short, early version of “The Motel” from “Outside”.
The Enemy Is Fragile 4:07 – One of his best unreleased songs. A great beat, great bass line and great lyrics. “Hello Leon, would you like something really fishy?”…”the enemy has always been here”. No real verse, chorus or structure…but oh so cool!
Baby Fingers :10 – interlude. Very short and sinister.
The First Time 1:53 – A track that’s obviously missing pieces. Abrupt start, then settles down with some soothing vocals. But ends quickly after Nathan happened to “look up at the blood red sky and I saw the words, Ramona A Stone”.
OK Riot 1:21 – The end is the beginning with an ad of an OK Riot. Part one finishes…..repeating, distorting and fading away.
Part 2
Inside 22:06 – It’s identified in 6 parts….
a)       I Am With Name – The first 3:39, almost the same as album version.
b)       Anxiety Descending - Begins at 3:40 when the guitar swoops in and anxiety descends on Bowie, “It won’t eat me, it will hide me, he should take them, I wont kill it, she can’t take them…” “She can’t hide me, he said do this, he said tell it, I wont take them, she can’t eat me, he said kill that…”. At 6:10 begins an early version of a segue from Outside. Followed by another speech that ends up as a segue on the official release. Ten minutes in, the chaos end with “At this time you can think of me as a sillanabot, someone who eats their own words”
c)        We’ll Creep Together pt. 2 – Begins at 10:20. Slows down to jazzy piano and guitar. Bowie crooning, “We’ll creep together……..we’ll creep together…..you and I”. Very cinematic and ends with, “You’d die for diamonds but you would live for love”
d)       She’s All I’ve Got (This Is The Chrome) – Begins at 13:02. The piano picks up and Bowie sings, “She’s I don’t wanna bitch, it plays like I don’t wanna bitch, she’s I don’t wanna bitch, but sheeee’s….she’s all I’ve got”. At least I think that’s what he’s singing.
e)       The Leek Soldiers – Begins at 15:25……..“Then there was nothing left to do but to bring on the Leek soldiers, round up the packet sniffers and clear up what remained of that sensational life”. Segues into, “Here they are, the Leek Soldiers” and “Twist-fly-boy, twist-fly-boy, twist-fly-boy…”.
f)        The Laugh Hotel – Begins at 18:00. The buzz saw guitar returns and then another future segue, “At this time, before yous could say boo to the troops, Leon was up on that oh so vividly wide stage with a criss criss machete, he could not wait for 12 o’clock, midnight…he slashes around and cuts a zero in everything, I mean a zero in the fabric of time itself”. Then back into, “they will kill that, it will hide me, he should take them, I won’t tell it, she can’t take them, it will do this, he said, he said smell this…”  Slowly fades out.
“Say goodnight honey….”


  1. Thanks Russ for the mammoth task of pulling all of this together. It's one of the best and most cohesive collections of Outside material I've heard



  2. Excellent Russ!

    Can you imagine the deluxe edition of this if it ever hits the shelves? Hours and hours of db at his weirdest and most wonderful!

    happy hols from radioShirl & mr.K

  3. Thanks Russ
    This is really good, I am playing it heaps. I appreciate all the work you put into it and yes you should put it out there in the public :)
    I love the weirdness, well everything really.
    Thanks for the great Bowie chrissie pressie, Happy Silly Season mate from Vicki

  4. Just discovered the whole OutsideOuttakes soup, thanks for your contribution. Just wondering - what about this one: http://syllannibal.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/david_bowie_something_really_fishy/ ?

    Still haven't listened to it. I understand 'Hello Leon' is indeed 'The enemy is fragile', but what about the rest?

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  6. Hi Russ, have you heard these ones? Brilliant mind at work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQK8j6ObNB4&list=PLM8gH4ZJed-aUUReO1DGvYACGpYJOY4Hg

  7. Hello, interesting work for a very interesting collection.
    Any chance you could upload it back? Thank you.

  8. Very very interesting, another going away present.....
    Cheers Dude.....

  9. This looks great, thanks. Just one thing, wondering if the files are all supposed to be mono; when I converted to mp3 for my Ipod they seem to be mono in the converter program.