CPL1-4346 Bertolt Brecht's "Baal"
Produced by Tony Visconti and David Bowie
Released on February 1982
UK CHART POSITION #29
Find it at GEMM
CPL1-4346 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

O h, this took some Baals alright. Bowiephiles were so desperate for something, anything new, that even this dramatic dalliance offered hope. After all, David’s take on “Alabama Song” was decadent fun, but this demands (a bit petulantly I say) to be taken seriously. Half-spoken/sung, it’s probably closer in effect to the artist’s narration for Peter And The Wolf (a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you say?). I’m not sure the actor formerly known as David Bowie was determined to drag us along through his theatrical career, but his recording contract ensured that the faithful were kept posted for a price, and so the television production of Bertolt Brecht’s Baal (an ephemeral entity) was immortalized in plastic. Ordinarily I’d break down the tracks and indicate which stand out from this small pack, but Baal doesn’t work like that. The creaking woodwinds of “Baal’s Hymn” is at least musical, while “The Drowned Girl” is quietly compelling in some small way as well, like a plain chant of a wire report on a murder. But this extended-play offering is perhaps the least appetizing entry in the silent age that spanned Scary Monsters and Let’s Dance. Remembering for the moment that that includes the theme to Cat People and his collaboration with Queen (“Under Pressure”), I’d think twice before picking up this Baal.

CPL1-4346 back cover
CPL1-4346 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. BAAL'S HYMN    (Bertolt Brecht/Dominic Muldowney)    4:02
  2. REMEMBERING MARIE A.    (trad. adapted by Bertolt Brecht)    2:04
  3. BALLAD OF THE ADVENTURERS    (Bertolt Brecht/Dominic Muldowney)    1:54
  4. THE DROWNED GIRL    (Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill)    2:24
  5. THE DIRTY SONG    (Bertolt Brecht/Dominic Muldowney)    0:37

CREDITS

DAVID BOWIE -- Baal
Dominic Muldowney -- arranger
John Timbers -- photography
Andrew Christian -- art direction
Partridge Rushton -- design & artwork

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK February 1982 RCA 7EP BOW11 gatefold picture sleeve
US February 1982 RCA EP CPL1-4346  
GER 1982 RCA EP PG 45092  
JPN 1982 RCA EP RPL 2122  

 

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