Hear Two Previously Unreleased David Bowie Songs, “Karma Boy” and “Silly Boy Blue (Alternative Ending Mix)”

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

On Friday, a pair of previously unreleased David Bowie recordings were released to preview some upcoming archival releases from the Bowie estate.

Per a news release, “Karma Man” was initially recorded by Bowie in September 1967 and debuted on John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show in the Spring of 1968 but didn’t get a release until 1970’s The World of David Bowie. It was then re-tracked by Bowie and intended to be released on Toy, a near-mythical Bowie project originally planned for a 2001 release but shelved for years.

Toy will be included in a new Bowie box set, Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001), slated for release on Nov. 26, ahead of its own, separate expanded release on Jan. 7, 2022 (a day before Bowie’s birthday).

Here’s “Karma Man”:

The track is included in two upcoming archival releases, Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) (due out Nov. 26) and the TOY(TOY:BOX) collection, which were announced recently.

Click here to pre-order Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pre-order the TOY(TOY:BOX) collection from our Rock Cellar Store

Another new track is ““Silly Boy Blue (Alternative Ending Mix),” which is exclusive to this single. The original version of the track is featured on the TOY release.

Per a news release, more details regarding the Brilliant Adventure box set:

It is an 11-CD box, 18-piece vinyl set, and standard digital download box set. The collection is named after the Koto led instrumental penultimate track from the ‘hours…’ album. The box sets include newly remastered versions, with input from the original producers and collaborators, of some of Bowie’s most underrated and experimental material: Black Tie White Noise, The Buddha Of Suburbia (available on vinyl for the first time in nearly 30 years), 1.Outside, Earthing, and ‘hours…’ along with the expanded live album BBC Radio Theatre, London, June 27, 2000, the non-album/alternative version/B-sides and soundtrack music compilation Re:Call 5 and the legendary previously unreleased Toy.

More details regarding the standalone Toy release, as well:

Toy was recorded following David’s triumphant Glastonbury 2000 performance. Bowie entered the studio with his band, Mark Plati, Sterling Campbell, Gail Ann Dorsey, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Holly Palmer, and Emm Gryner, to record new interpretations of songs he’d first recorded from 1964-1971. David planned to record the album “old school” with the band playing live, choose the best takes and then release it as soon as humanly possible in a remarkably prescient manner. Unfortunately, in 2001 the concept of the “surprise drop” album release and the technology to support it were still quite a few years off, making it impossible to release Toy, as the album was now named, out to fans as instantly as David wanted. In the interim, David did what he did best; he moved on to something new, which began with a handful of new songs from the same sessions and ultimately became the album Heathen, released in 2002 and now acknowledged as one of his finest moments.

Now twenty years after its originally planned release, David’s co-producer Mark Plati says, “Toy is like a moment in time captured in an amber of joy, fire and energy. It’s the sound of people happy to be playing music. David revisited and re-examined his work from decades prior through prisms of experience and fresh perspective – a parallel not lost on me as I now revisit it twenty years later. From time to time, he used to say ‘Mark, this is our album’ – I think because he knew I was so deeply in the trenches with him on that journey. I’m happy to finally be able to say it now belongs to all of us.”
Available in 3-CD or 6×10” vinyl formats, TOY (TOY:BOX) is a special edition of the Toy album. The “capture the moment” approach of the recording sessions are extended to the sleeve artwork designed by Bowie featuring a photo of him as a baby with a contemporary face. The package also contains a 16-page, full-color book featuring previously unseen photographs by Frank Ockenfels 3.

Included in TOY:BOX is a second CD/set of 10”s of alternative mixes and versions including proposed B-Sides (versions of David’s debut single “Liza Jane” and 1967’s “In The Heat Of The Morning”), later mixes by Tony Visconti and the “Tibet Version” of “Silly Boy Blue” recorded at The Looking Glass Studio time at the of the 2001 Tibet House show in New York featuring Philip Glass on piano and Moby on guitar.

The third CD/set of 10”s features “Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric” mixes of thirteen Toy tracks. Producer Mark Plati “While we were recording the basic tracks Earl Slick suggested that he and I overdub acoustic guitars on all the songs. He said this was a Keith Richards’ trick, sometimes these guitars would be a featured part of the track, and at other times they’d be more subliminal. Later while mixing, David heard one of the songs broken down to just vocals and acoustic guitars; this gave him the idea that we ought to do some stripped-down mixes like that and that maybe one day they’d be useful. Once we put a couple of other elements in the pot, it felt like it could be a completely different record. I was only too happy to finish that thought some two decades after the fact.”

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