David Bowie Releases to Highlight Record Store Day


David Bowie Limited-Edition Releases to Highlight Record Store Day

–Russell Hall

Two very special David Bowie releases are being issued next month to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day. On April 22, a new triple-LP set titled Cracked Actor (Live in Los Angeles 1974) will be released by Parlophone, along with an EP titled Bowpromo that recreates an ultra-rare Hunky Dory-era promo release. Both reissues are limited edition items.

As reported on the official Bowie website, the Cracked Actor set is the first official release of a much-coveted “Philly Dogs Tour” show recorded on September 5, 1974 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. The show differs markedly from David Live—the official two-album set released by RCA that same year—with respect to both the set lists and the backing musicians and singers. Specifically, the Cracked Actor show features a scaled-back cast, but is also noteworthy for the addition of soul legend Luther Vandross. The set also includes two tracks that had recently been recorded for Bowie’s The Gouster album, which was ultimately shelved and released only last year as part of the box set, Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976).

Longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti mixed the music for Cracked Actor last fall, working from the original source tapes. The music spans five sides, with a sixth side featuring an etching of the Diamond Dogs-era Bowie logo. Newly commissioned artwork and rare photographs taken at the concert are featured on the gatefold sleeve.

As regards Bowpromo, the EP was originally issued as a 1971 promotional pressing that included alternate mixes of five songs that later appeared on the Hunky Dory album. Side A of the EP also included the tracks “It Ain’t Easy” (which later appeared on Bowie’s 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars), and the non-LP track “Bombers.” Side B of the original EP also featured five tracks recorded by Bowie’s friend and fellow Gem Group artist, Dana Gillespie.

Gillespie’s tracks have been removed from the Bowpromo reissue, but otherwise, the one-sided release faithfully replicates the original promo—including all seven songs–while also adding five exclusive Bowie prints and new liner notes. More information, including full track listings, is available at the official David Bowie website.