David Bowie – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

10th April 2024 · 1970s, 1974, Music, Soul

The deepest of deep cuts, this little-known cover of a little-known soul song is one of the hidden gems in Bowie’s repertoire.

Despite my life-long love of David Bowie I was never the biggest fan of his mid-70s soul period. I could take or leave Young Americans – and the double David Live album was a dismal disaster.

But when it was remastered by Tony Visconti 30 years later and re-sequenced in the original live running order, this track was added to the album – and stood out by a distance.

It’s a cover of an early single by The Ohio Players and was the opening tune on their outstanding 1969 debut album, Observations In Time.

Bowie’s in great voice, thanks to his vocals being brought forward compared to the album’s original mix, which was somehow simultaneously tinny and murky, and despite his often cocaine-ravaged voice during this mid-70s period.

David Live was recorded on the first leg of Bowie’s Diamond Dogs tour of the US in the summer of 1974, on which he gave many of his hits a cabaret treatment.

Stylistically he was transitioning from Aladdin Sane into his Young Americans persona – it also produced a cover of Knock On Wood that gave him a hit single – but the album was a flop.

It was awarded a solitary star in Rolling Stone and Robert Christgau described Bowie as being “at his laryngeal nadir” while Lester Bangs called the album “a dismal flatulence” – and Bowie himself claimed in 1977 that he had never even played the album himself.

It ought to be brilliant: the composer Michael Kamen is Bowie’s bandleader and plays various electric keyboards, while David Sanborn plays the sax and flute, Earl Slick’s on guitar and Herbie Flowers on bass, Mike Garson on piano and Tony Newman on drums.

And on this track it is.