leejohnson's current selection is:
Can You Hear Me
by David Bowie
by David Bowie
The album "Young Americans" went totally unheard by me back in the 1970s, coming as it did so closely (it seemed) on the heels of his "progression" from 'glam rock' to 'white soul'. The former genre was much more a favourite of mine from his career, and still is (as regular listeners here will well know!), but I did play catch-up with the release during a resurgence of 'Bowie-interest' by me in the 1980s. Chris O'Leary, in his fine blog "Pushing Ahead of the Dame", has this to say about today's chosen cut from that 1975 LP:
Bowie likely wrote "Can You Hear Me", originally called "Take It In Right", in late 1973 and he cut a studio 'demo' of it on New Year's Day 1974 (when he also taped "Alternative Candidate"). A few months later, he tried the song out in New York as a possible single for Lulu. While nothing was released from the Lulu session, it did bear fruit: there Bowie first met the guitarist Carlos Alomar, who Bowie recruited for his next album.
In August '74, Alomar came to Philadelphia's 'Sigma Sound' studios with his wife Robin Clark and their friend, a 23-year-old aspiring singer and songwriter named Luther Vandross. Before long, Clark and Vandross, who had come only to give "moral support" to Alomar, were drafted as singers, with Vandross soon becoming Bowie's de facto singing coach and vocal arranger for the sessions.
So "Can You Hear Me" was an early test of the "call-and-response" vocal arrangements Bowie and Vandross would use for nearly every "Young Americans" track. The richness of the backing vocals here, the sombre but warm assurance with which the singers hold notes, the way they work as a stronger melodic echo of Bowie's vocal (while Bowie first introduces the "take it in right" hook, the chorus is who really sells it), all serves to centre and anchor Bowie's flighty, desperate lead vocal. As Bowie told David Buckley in 2006, "my drug problems were playing havoc with my voice, producing a real raspy sound that I fought all the time when I wanted to sing high, swooping into falsetto and such."
[ So much more of this article can be found at: http://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/can-you-hear-me/
The album was a No. 2 smash hit on the UK Album chart in 1975, and reached a creditable No. 9 in the Stateside counterpart, the Billboard 200 listings, and was certified gold for sales in both countries.
1975 - RCA Victor - United Kingdom - From the album "Young Americans".
Posted: 13th December 2018