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Week 6 | All The Young Dudes (1972)

I only recently purchased this album by the band, Mott the Hoople, which Bowie produced. Although the title track is the best-known Bowie song performed by someone other than Bowie, I had never before heard the whole album through. I like it. Though, aside from that one song, which Bowie wrote, the rest of the album doesn’t obviously carry Bowie’s imprint. Never having worked on an album myself, I remain a little unclear on what an album producer actually does. That said, Bowie-produced albums like Lou Reed’s “Transformer” and Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” seem heavily influenced by Bowie (who in addition to producing, sang backup on some of the songs on those albums). “All the Young Dudes” (the album, not the song) seems like an almost stereotypical early 70’s classic rock album, complete with cowbells. The sound is not especially “glam.” Nonetheless, there’s not a bad song among the original tracks. My one complaint is not the lack of Bowie, but the presence (on the version I purchased) of seven bonus tracks— almost as many songs as were on the original album. I am not generally a fan of bonus tracks, especially on Bowie-related albums. Bowie usually ordered his songs in a particular way, especially in the age before “shuffle.” Even good songs that pop up after songs that were clearly meant to end an album seem out of place. I get these sense there was intentionality in the order of songs on this album, too. In this case, almost all the bonus tracks are alternate versions of songs that already appeared on the album. In total, the album contains three versions of “One of the Boys.” I hadn’t recalled hearing the song before and I instantly liked it, but I don’t like it so much that I want to hear three slightly different versions in one sitting. One of the bonus tracks is a version of the song, “All the Young Dudes,” on which Bowie joins Ian Hunter as a lead singer. I have heard versions of the song performed by Bowie, but never this version. It is good, it is interesting, but even this seems out of place coming just a few minutes after the more familiar version earlier in the album. So my verdict is that the original work is terrific. I will probably upload it onto my iPod and add it to my rotation, but as with the case of so many other re-issues encumbered by extras, less would have been more.

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