Bonus Tracks

ONLY BOWIE

(Only Boy)

If the reason most tribute albums fail is that they have no focus to them, Only Bowie suffers from no such lack of direction. Jeff Smith's Only Boy Records presents here not just a cheap pun on its own name, but a testosterone-charged look (by mostly Austin bands) at a man who may have worn makeup and flaunted a feminine persona, but whose music nonetheless had no shortage of balls. There's not a runt in the litter, either (nor a single note from Let's Dance or after). Amberjack Rice, Walter Traggert & Breakfastime's twisted bluegrass take on "Golden Years" is the instant standout, a porch-romper that would put big ol' grins on the faces of the Bad Livers or Killbilly. The Fuck Emos and their deep voiced shenanigans were made for the Bowie/Lennon hit "Fame," and while they could've just settled for a jokey take-off, this beer-soaked run actually kicks up quite a frothy funk. Wounded Turkey's "Suffragette City" answers the musical question of what might've happened if Bowie and pal Iggy Pop had met and traded places in 1972. With "Hang on to Yourself," the Pocket FishRmen breathe life into a number that, in its original form, somehow fell mighty flat (though you could always feel there was energy hiding down in there somewhere). ST-37's "Speed of Life" merely launches the Low track a little further out into space, distorting the transmission and speeding it up a bit. If it wasn't an instrumental, I'd have to suggest Gary Numan as guest vocalist. I could write an essay on every track here - nobody plays it by rote, so there's a tale behind each one - but suffice it to say that David Bowie, or at least whichever of his personae penned "Rebel, Rebel," should be proud. - Ken Lieck

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