Monday, 10 June 2013

The Riot Squad - Toy Soldier E.P

The Riot Squad were an experimental outfit from London. Initially managed and produced by Larry Page and later by Joe Meek, the band (influenced by satirical big band Spike Jones and the City Slickers) were infamous for their flamboyant use of face paint and unruly stage performances.

In March 1967, after an interview in the Giaconda cafe in Tin Pan Alley, David Bowie joined the group. The band rehearsed at The Swan in Tottenham, with David on vocals, and played live together for approximately twelve weeks before he left. Over the course of six sessions Bowie recorded four titles, featured here, he sings on all - and penned three.

Toy Soldier - a shambolic ditty detailing the questionable activities of a ‘school-girl’ dominatrix, with lyrical nods towards the Velvet Underground’s Venus In Furs conspicuously riffing with the slap-stick backing racket.

Silly Boy Blue - an early stab at a song that Bowie would later revisit, the guitarist (not Bowie himself) sounds drunk but Bowie’s vocal performance is perfect.

I’m Waiting For My Man - the Lou Reed song, released before the Velvet Underground had a chance to release it themselves. Not as vital as the VU’s version yet strangely psychedelic. The best recording of the E.P -  this is the track that DJ’s will play out.

Silver Treetop School For Boys – another proto Bowie release about his school-days imaginings. Whimsical and self-conscious, this acoustic demo will possibly be of most interest to completest Bowie fanatics.

Salvaged from the faintest audio imprint of an antiquated reel to reel tape, sound quality is necessarily raw and sonically historic yet makes for a fascinating insight into Bowie’s already theatrical creative process.

As the continuing series of Rare Mod  E.Ps get ever more ambitious, Acid Jazz Records have upturned a real gem with the Riot Squad. Previously unreleased, these earliest of Bowie recordings are possibly the rarest nuggets of the entire series.

Get it before it gets banned.

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