The special edition reissue of David Bowie’s 1976 album Station to Station sort of comes out of the blue. Are we celebrating the 34th anniversary of Bowie’s highest-charting album in the US? The one with the fewest number of songs on it? The album he himself remembers little about due to having recorded it at the height of his drug consumption? Whatever the reason, the remastered release is a welcome decision, as the record is a revelation for those revisiting it, maybe for the first time in years, or for those hearing the album for the first time ever.
Station to Station features six lengthy tracks of dynamic, futuristic soul, influenced by the sounds of German electronic bands like Kraftwerk & Neu!, as well as Bowie’s own performance in the 1976 science-fiction film, The Man Who Fell to Earth. Starting with the minute-long chug of a train on the epic opening title track, to the riff-heavy top 10 single “Golden Years,” to the unexpected inclusion of the tear-jerking Academy Award-nominated tune, “Wild Is the Wind” (inspired by Bowie’s appreciation of Nina Simone’s version), the record is as weirdly genre-busting as the rest of his catalog, but performed with supreme confidence by a crack band that would continue to play with Bowie for the rest of the decade.
That confidence is also in full effect on the previously-unreleased full-length concert recording Live at Nassau Coliseum ‘76, which comprises discs two and three of this special edition. This exclusive live material captures the charisma of Bowie live on stage, with over 80 minutes of live recordings and crowd-pleasing performances of iconic tracks like Suffragette City, Fame, Changes, Diamond Dogs, and Rebel Rebel.
Artists as diverse as Janelle Monae and Anthony & the Johnsons echo the impact the original Station to Station record left in its wake, and it feels good to go back to the source with this unexpected reissue, made all the better by remastered audio and the new live material. It might make you clad yourself in bell bottoms and shake off the complications of 2010 in exchange for the free spirit of 1976, at least for a night.
-- Eric J. Lawrence, KCRW Music Librarian and DJ
Photo by Andrew Kent
David Bowie Disc 1: Station to Station [Original 1974 Album]
1. Station To Station
2. Golden Years
3. Word On A Wing
6. Wild Is The Wind
David Bowie Disc 2: Live at Nassau Coliseum ’76
1. Station To Station
2. Suffragette City
4. Word On A Wing
6. Waiting For The Man
7. Queen Bitch
David Bowie Disc 3: Live at Nassau Coliseum ’76 (continued)
1. Life On Mars?
2.. Five Years
3. Panic In Detroit
6. Diamond Dogs
7. Rebel Rebel
8. The Jean Genie