The Second Disc

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Bowie Plays with “Toy” and a Thought on Bootlegs

with 10 comments

Here at Second Disc HQ, this author has had a nuanced take on digital downloading, particularly as it relates to catalogue music. The hard, fast rule I tend to hold myself to is this: if material is excessively difficult or impossible to find on CD, then it’s fair game. The original mix of Billy Joel’s Cold Spring Harbor? The excellent vinyl rips I’ve found in my travels will stay on my iPod until Legacy releases it officially. (And I will happily buy a copy that day!) On the other hand, I wouldn’t seek a torrent of a James Brown singles set if the real thing is a few clicks away.

Keep this in mind as we discuss David Bowie’s Toy after the jump.

If Toy doesn’t look like a familiar title in your David Bowie discography, that’s because it isn’t. It’s never been released. It was intended to come out some 10 years ago – a set of re-recorded versions of his earliest works (including stuff from the Deram album and even further back!), combined with new material. But Bowie had problems with his label, Virgin, and would soon leave them, taking Toy with him. A select few tracks were released around the time of Bowie’s next record, 2002’s Heathen, mostly as B-side material.

Now, a decade later, someone – no clue who, as is always the case – has leaked the album. Now, for many reasons – not the least of which is the desire for new Bowie material (you may recall we got tripped up on a vintage live concert disc last week that turned out to have been a bootleg release) – we’d of course love to see Toy come out as an official set. But until that happens – and who knows, this could be in someone’s possession because it’s going to be released sometime in the future – we’re going to talk about it.

But we’re not going to link you to it – at least, not in this post. There will be a link in the comments, which will be yours to do what you wish. If the link goes dead, I leave it to our dear readers to supply another, because this isn’t a road I want The Second Disc to keep going down. (Unless, of course, more awesome archival stuff gets leaked from classic artists with no impending release plan in sight.) But everyone should have a chance to hear it, even if it’s not in the best of contexts.

David Bowie, Toy (unreleased album – intended EMI/Virgin, 2001)

  1. Uncle Floyd
  2. Afraid
  3. Baby Loves That Way
  4. I Dig Everything
  5. Conversation Piece
  6. Let Me Sleep Beside You
  7. Toy (Your Turn to Drive)
  8. Hole in the Ground
  9. Shadow Man
  10. In the Heat of the Morning
  11. You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving
  12. Silly Boy Blue
  13. Liza Jane
  14. The London Boys

Track 1 later re-recorded (as “Slip Away”) and released on Heathen (ISO/Columbia, 2002).
Track 2 later released on Heathen.
Tracks 3 and 11 originally recorded in 1969 by Davy Jones and The Lower Third. Those original recordings released as Parlophone single R-5315, 1965. These Toy recordings later released on “Everyone Says ‘Hi'” U.K. CD single (ISO/Columbia, 2002).
Track 4 originally recorded in 1966 and released as Pye single A-side 7N-17157, 1966.
Track 5 originally recorded in 1970 and released as the B-side to “The Prettiest Star” single (Mercury MF-1135, 1970). This recording later released on bonus disc with certain copies of Heathen.
Tracks 6 and 10 originally recorded in 1967 and later released on The Deram Anthology 1966-1968 (Deram, 1997).
Track 7 later released as HMV/iTunes bonus track on Reality (ISO/Columbia, 2003).
Track 9 later released on “Slow Burn” CD single (ISO/Columbia, 2002).
Track 12 originally recorded and released on David Bowie (Deram, 1967).
Track 13 originally recorded by Davie Jones and The King Bees in 1964. Released as Vocalion single A-side V-9221, 1964.
Track 14 originally recorded in 1966 and released as the B-side to “Rubber Band” (Deram DM-107, 1966).

Written by Mike Duquette

March 21, 2011 at 13:30

10 Responses

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  1. It is a tricky business, especially when there’s some utterly superb Bowie stuff out there that hasn’t been released. Case in point that 1997 50th birthday concert which was falsely announced, it’s probably one of the best live albums I’ve ever heard and a shame it’s not coming out for “real.” I do love what Dylan did with his “Bootleg Series,” I’d love to see Bowie do something like that too.

    NIK

    March 21, 2011 at 13:54

  2. After the false alarm on the Bowie birthday album, I immediately started thinking about Toy. Hopefully these rumblings will get Bowie to release it, as well as any other nuggets from his vaults.

    ward

    March 21, 2011 at 17:33

  3. Thanks for the notice on this Bowie album. There are plenty of fine Bowie rarities floating around the Internet. (A particular favorite is a 1977 show with Iggy Pop.)

    Peter

    March 21, 2011 at 19:18

  4. Wow. I was hugely disappointed when Toy was shelved. The original Conversation Piece has always been one of my favorite Bowie tracks, and was happy when it was released as a bonus track on Heathen. I hope that someday Toy will get an official release with a vinyl version as well. Thanks for the story. I am a huge Bowie fan. If you’re interested, check out my Best of Bowie Blog: http://brethelm.blogspot.com/2010/11/15-best-of-david-bowie-it-aint-easy.html

    Cheers!
    Bret

    Bret

    March 21, 2011 at 23:31

  5. “– and who knows, this could be in someone’s possession because it’s going to be released sometime in the future –”

    I had the same hope, that perhaps the files were moving around because some final touch-up work may have been underway in prep for a release. But no, evidently this leak is of the same portable file that have been in someone’s stingy possession for years now; it does not represent an impending release. (Though that may happen if this leak gets enough press.)

    Supposedly this exact set of files was in the hands of a dick who wouldn’t let anyone hear it for years and years, but hard times must have hit because multiple copies recently appeared on ebay for $50+. It was then immediately freed by more responsible fans who did not want to see some dick making a profit on Bowie’s work. That’s all third-hand, via a fan on the Steve Hoffman forum.

    Will

    March 22, 2011 at 01:16

  6. Great post! Thanks!

    Now if only we could get the rest of the ‘Outside’ sessions, I would be a SUPER happy camper – it’s one of my favourite albums of his, and I was disappointed when he shelved the trilogy.

    The Thorn

    March 22, 2011 at 13:11

    • Would LOVE to see the Outside sessions released. Such a great album. 🙂

      Bret

      March 22, 2011 at 15:36

  7. That is very interesting piece!

    guitars

    November 19, 2011 at 01:31


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