Too Late to Stop Now
Who Can I Be Now? [1974-1976] (Rhino/Parlophone)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Dec. 16, 2016
Digital universe expanding by the nanosecond, Who Can I Be Now? [1974-1976] unwinds a tale of the tape – part two. 2015's 12-CD Five Years 1969-1973 bit off long-players two through six from Great Britain's extraterrestrial talent, remastering four definitively while also gathering most Ziggy Stardust live accompaniment and a pair of odds and ends discs. Another dozen discs only corral three studio LPs – Diamond Dogs ('74), Young Americans ('75), and Station to Station ('76) – but bulks up on better bonus content. Sorry, did someone say "only"? Not only are these titles among David Bowie's best – dystopian "Rebel Rebel" rock, Soul Train albinism, and Berlin trilogy precursor, respectively – their refractions here bolster each case. Two mixes of Dogs spin-off David Bowie Live each double disc a tour run-off better appreciated now than then, one brittle, one booming. Americans gives up a shelved alternate titled The Gouster, deeper gospel cabaret than its smash sibling ("Fame"). Station to Station fortunately fairs best, its dizzying space lab R&B ("Golden Years") tripled by an alternate mix and a 2-CD live reckoning in New York previously available only on the 2007 deluxe reissue. A sole mixes disc tops off the box. Four volumes left, most likely, starting with landmark trilogy Low, Heroes, and Lodger. Station to Station remains their launch pad.