David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

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The sound is rich and full, just the way the Brits like it. The heavy compression that both Bowie and Scott favor works its magic at every turn, adding fatness and richness and lovely harmonics to the guitars and the drums.

Not many Bowie albums from his “classic” period sound good on domestic vinyl, nothing I know of before Diamond Dogs with the exception of this album and the occasional copy of Space Oddity. Strangely enough, from then on practically every one of Bowie’s albums sounds best on domestic vinyl, all the way through to Let’s Dance, after which we more or less check out — don’t know those albums well and don’t plan on finding out more.

Ah but here, here we have some truly prime period Bowie, recorded, mastered and pressed with Top Quality sound!

Side One

Mick Ronson’s guitars are wonderfully clear. The vocals can get a bit hot on the first track (as is often the case), but by track two the sound has settled in and is rich and smooth, just the way we like it. Very present and lively vocals are a strong point.

Side Two

Listen to the big bass, richness and Tubey Magic of the third track — that is some Ken Scott studio wizardry at play.

Note that the second track seems to be where Alice Cooper found his “sound.” More power to him I say. You could get away with ripping off Bowie in 1970; nobody bought this album in the states, which is why it’s so damn rare and expensive.

And the reason there are so many bootlegs. Practically every copy of ebay is a bootleg.  They sound terrible by the way.

Over the next three years Bowie would go on to record Hunky Dory (1971), The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1972) and Aladdin Sane (1973). Not many bands can produce three records in a row of such staggering artistry, four if you count this one. All belong in any serious music collection, and all of them are very hard to come by with good sound. We sure have a hard time finding them, and we do this for a living.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

The Width of a Circle 
All the Madmen 
Black Country Rock 
After All

Side Two

Running Gun Blues 
Saviour Machine 
She Shook Me Cold 
The Man Who Sold the World 
The Supermen

AMG Review

Even though it contained no hits, The Man Who Sold the World, for most intents and purposes, is the beginning of David Bowie’s classic period. Working with guitarist Mick Ronson and producer Tony Visconti for the first time, Bowie developed a tight, twisted heavy guitar rock that appears simple on the surface but sounds more gnarled upon each listen.