David Bowie: The Man Who Sold the World (Mercury)
Colman Andrews, Phonograph Record, March 1971
THE MAN Who Sold the World is a vaguely-sophomoric, vaguely-mystical, thoroughly logical extension of the Music Hall tradition in British pop music. This is a phenomenon unique to British rock (how many American groups have roots in Vaudeville, America's Music Hall?); David Bowie sings and writes long (or seemingly long), theatrical program pieces, which flirt with the rock idiom without ever really embracing it. It's rather like Frankie Howerd on DMT or Gracie Fields Forever.
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