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This album tends to get lost in the amazing run of perfect albums Bowie did from 1970-80. It’s great. Sabbath-heavy arrangements by the oft-undercredited lead guitarist Mick Ronson. He’s also the guy that did all the arrangements for Lou Reed’s TRANSFORMER album and most Bowie from 1970-73. -Ian

Even though it contained no hits, The Man Who Sold the World, for most intents and purposes, is the beginning of David Bowie’s classic period. Working with guitarist Mick Ronson and producer Tony Visconti for the first time, Bowie developed a tight, twisted heavy guitar rock that appears simple on the surface but sounds more gnarled upon each listen. The mix is off-center, with the fuzz-bass dominating the compressed, razor-thin guitars and Bowie’s strangled, affected voice.

The sound of The Man Who Sold the World is odd, but the music is bizarre itself, with Bowie’s bizarre, paranoid futuristic tales melded to Ronson’s riffing and the band’s relentless attack. Musically, there isn’t much innovation on The Man Who Sold the World — it is almost all hard blues-rock or psychedelic folk-rock — but there’s an unsettling edge to the band’s performance, which makes the record one of Bowie’s best albums. [Rykodisc’s 1990 CD reissue includes four bonus tracks, including the previously unreleased “Lightning Frightening,” and the single “Holy Holy,” and both sides of the 1971 “Arnold Corns” single, “Moonage Daydream” and “Hang On to Yourself,” which are early and inferior versions of songs that would later appear on Ziggy Stardust.]

-Ned Raggett, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
David Bowie-THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD (1970)
320kbps MP3

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