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Non-Prog CD Reviews

David Bowie

Diamond Dogs

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve always preferred the glam rock era of David Bowie. The music seemed more intriguing with multiple layers of sound creating all kinds of drama and power. While I wouldn’t consider Diamond Dogs to be as strong a disc as Hunky Dory, it’s close. It’s a great hard rock album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Future Legend
Weird sound effects and odd musical elements serve as the backdrop for a spoken vocal part. It gets more musical as it continues to work forward. This is short and just a weird introduction to the album.
Diamond Dogs
Sounding like a live recording, this is a good rocker. A horn section is a nice touch and there’s a bit of an old school rock and roll sound to this.
Sweet Thing
There’s more of a theatrical meets balladic sound to this cut. It’s pretty and only a little of the weird futuristic texture pervades it.
One of the standouts on the set, this is sort of along the lines of the title track and yet it’s more effective and dramatic.
Sweet Thing (Reprise)
Harder edged and very cool, this is another highlight of the set. It starts off much like the original track, though, but shifts out into some killer harder rocking music from there.
Rebel Rebel
This number was a hit and it sounds a lot like Mott the Hoople. That’s a little odd because this album found Bowie recording without the Spiders From Mars – who became Mott The Hoople. It’s got a classic riff driving it. 
Rock 'N' Roll with Me
A soulful rock and roll balladic cut, this is dramatic and powerful. It’s also a highlight of the set.
We Are the Dead
There’s a more dramatic and magical texture to this one. In many ways it’s a plain rocker, but the overlayers create something more special than that. This is exactly the kind of music that always drew me to David Bowie.
With a disco segment to this, the vocal line is powerful enough to elevate the track beyond that point. In fact, I’d say that (and I really don’t like much disco) that this is one of my favorite cuts on show here. It reminds me a lot of Jeff Wayne’s Music Version of the War of the Worlds
Big Brother
This hard rocker has a horn section featured prominently. The track is effective enough, but not really a standout.
Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family
Here we have basically an extension of the previous cut ending in some weird effects and processing of the sounds.
The first of two bonus cuts, this one is a rather poppy sort of rocker. It’s a good tune but perhaps not up the level of uniqueness of the main album.
Candidate (demo version)
As the title suggests, this is a different version of the track that appeared on the main portion of the album. Frankly, I think I prefer this version.
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