David Bowie Lodger (1979)

Lodger is the thirteenth studio album,released in 1979. The last of the ‘Berlin Trilogy’ recorded in collaboration with Brian Eno, it was produced in Switzerland and New York City, and was more accessible than its immediate predecessors Low and “Heroes”, having no instrumentals and being somewhat lighter and more pop-oriented. It was still an experimental record in many ways and was not, by Bowie’s standards, a major commercial success. Indifferently received by critics on its initial release, it is now widely considered, along with Diamond Dogs, to be one of Bowie’s most underrated albums.

Track listing
All lyrics written by David Bowie; all music composed by Bowie and Brian Eno, except where noted.

01 “Fantastic Voyage” – 2:55
02 “African Night Flight” – 2:54
03 “Move On” (Bowie) – 3:16
04 “Yassassin” (Bowie) – 4:10
05 “Red Sails” – 3:43
06 “D.J.” (Bowie, Eno, Carlos Alomar) – 3:59
07 “Look Back in Anger” – 3:08
08 “Boys Keep Swinging” – 3:17
09 “Repetition” (Bowie) – 2:59
10 “Red Money” (Bowie, Alomar) – 4:13

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Reissues
Lodger has been re-released several times on CD. RCA first issued the album on CD in 1985. Rykodisc (in the USA) and EMI (elsewhere) released a version with two bonus tracks in 1991. The most recent iteration appeared in 1999 on EMI (featuring 24-bit digitally remastered sound and no bonus tracks); subsequent editions are merely repackagings of the current EMI edition.

1991 reissue bonus tracks
“I Pray, Olé” (Previously unreleased track, recorded 1979) – 3:59
“Look Back in Anger” (New version, recorded 1988) – 6:59

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Personnel
David Bowie – vocals, backing vocals, piano, guitar, synthesiser, Chamberlin, producer
Carlos Alomar – guitar, drums on “Boys Keep Swinging”
Dennis Davis – percussion, bass guitar on “Boys Keep Swinging”
George Murray – bass guitar
Sean Mayes – piano
Simon House – violin, mandolin
Adrian Belew – guitar, mandolin
Tony Visconti – backing vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass guitar, producer, recording engineer, mixing engineer
Brian Eno – synthesisers, ambient drone, prepared piano, cricket menace, guitar treatments, horse trumpet, eroica horn, piano, backing vocals
Roger Powell – synthesiser
Stan – saxophone
David Richards – recording engineer
Rod O’Brien – mixing engineer

UNCUT magazine interviews Bowie in 2001:
UNCUT: Lodger is an album which really divides Bowie fans – it is either devout love or total indifference. Can you understand both reactions?
DB: I think Tony and I would both agree that we didn’t take enough care mixing. This had a lot to do with my being distracted by personal events in my life and I think Tony lost heart a little because it never came together as easily as both Low and Heroes had. I would still maintain though that there are a number of really important ideas on Lodger. If I had more e time I would explore them for you…but…you can probably pick them out as easily.
UNCUT: Moving away from pure electronic sounds – was this a deliberate strategy to stay ahead of the synthesizercopycat bands who were busy aping Low and “Heroes”?
DB: I think it’s the lack of instrumentals that give you the impression that our process was different. It really wasn’t though. It was a lot more mischievous though. Brian and I did play a number of ‘art pranks’ on the band. They really didn’t go down too well though. Especially with Carlos who tends to be quite ‘grand’.
UNCUT: Was the backwards tape of All The Young Dudes for Move On originally an accident? And does this song have any connection to the unfinished Iggy collaboration Moving On?
DB: Not really an accident but I did stumble upon it. I had put one of my reel to reel tapes on backwards by mistake and really quite liked the melody it created. So I played quite a few more in this fashion and chose five or six that were really quite compelling. Dudes was the only one to make the album, as I didn’t want to abandon the ‘normal’ writing I was doing completely. But it was a worthwhile exercise in my mind. It has the same title as the song I wrote for Iggy. But as the one for Jim was a working title, I passed it onto the Lodger song.
UNCUT: The final refrain in Red Money – “project cancelled”. Is this significant? A curtain being drawn on the Eno triptych?
DB: Not at all. Mere whimsy.
UNCUT: What is ‘cricket menace’?
DB: Little crickety sounds that Brian produced from a combination of my drum machine ( I would and still do, use one to write with when I’m on my own) and his ‘briefcase’ synth. You can hear them on African Nightflight .

UNCUT magazine interviews Tony Visconti in 2001:

UNCUT: Lodger is an album which really divides Bowie fans – i.e. either devout love or total indifference. With hindsight, does it deserve? both these extremes?
TV: I wished it was sonically better, the studios we used were poor choices, but the content of that album is wonderful. I play it a lot despite how bad it sounds to me.
UNCUT: Moving away from pure electronic sounds – was this a deliberate strategy to stay ahead of the synthesizer copycat bands who were busy aping Low and “Heroes”?
TV: I guess so. We didn’t do an ambient side on this one either.
UNCUT: What about the “Planned Accidents” strategy (for example, Adrian Belew being put in the studio and told to play whatever came into his head over unknown tracks)?
TV: A lot more chaos was intended. Brian was doing some strange experiments like writing his eight favorite chords on a black board and asking the rhythm section to “play something funky.” Then he would randomly point at a chord and the band had to follow. This didn’t go down too well, but we were trying all sorts of different things. Yassisin was a deliberate attempt to make a hybrid form of music – Reggae/Turkish. Fantastic Voyage and Boys Keep Swinging are the same song harmonically and structurally, as well as a third track that was never used. Adrian Belew was a champion because he’d do whatever strange thing that was requested of him.
UNCUT: Eno’s credited as adding ‘cricket menace’. Please explain?
TV: That’s the chattering sound on African Nightflight, a sound and rhythm pattern on David’s Roland beatbox, played very, very fast. On the track sheet it said, “Enraged crickets.”
UNCUT: Was the recording of Boys Keep Swinging based on Oblique Strategy cards (‘Change instruments’ and / or ‘Use unqualified people’)?
TV: Probably. Fortunately Carlos could play good drums.
UNCUT: The final refrain in Red Money – “project cancelled”. Is this significant? A curtain being drawn on the Eno triptych?
TV: I have no idea. Ask David.

SINGLE RELEASES
Boys Keep Swinging
DJ

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Single ‘Yassassin’ (1979) Only in the Netherlands and Turkey.

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Musicians

Fantastic Voyage
David Bowie: piano, vocals, backing vocals
Dennis Davis: percussion
George Murray: bass
Sean Mayes: piano
Simon House, Adrian Belew: mandolin
Tony Visconti: mandolin, backing vocals
Eno: ambient drone

African Night Flight
David Bowie: piano, vocals
Dennis Davis: percussion
George Murray: bass
Carlos Alomar: guitar
Sean Mayes: piano
Eno: prepared piano and cricket menace

Move On
David Bowie: vocals, backing vocals
Carlos Alomar: rhythm guitar
Adrian Belew: rhythm guitar
Dennis Davis: percussion
George Murray: bass
Sean Mayes: piano
Tony Visconti: rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Yassassin (Turkish for: Long Live)
David Bowie: vocals, synthesizer
Dennis Davis: drums
George Murray: bass
Carlos Alomar: guitar
Tony Visconti: guitar
Simon House: violin
Everyone: backing vocals

Red Sails
David Bowie: vocals
Dennis Davis: drums
George Murray: bass
Carlos Alomar: guitar
Adrian Belew: guitar
Eno: synthesizers and guitar treatments
Stan: saxophone
Simon House: violin
Sean Mayes: piano

D.J.
David Bowie: vocals, piano and chamberlain
Carlos Alomar: guitar
Adrian Belew: guitar
Dennis Davis: drums
George Murray: bass

Look Back In Anger
David Bowie: vocals, guitar, backing vocals
Dennis Davis: percussion
George Murray: bass
Carlos Alomar: guitar
Sean Mayes: piano
Eno: synthesizer, horse trumpet, eroica horn
Tony Visconti: backing vocals

Boys Keep Swinging
David Bowie: vocals, guitar, backing vocals
Carlos Alomar: drums
Adrian Belew: guitar
Dennis Davis: bass
Tony Visconti: bass, backing vocals
Simon House : violin
Eno: piano

Repetition
David Bowie: vocals
Dennis Davis: drums
George Murray: bass
Carlos Alomar: guitar
Simon House : violin
Adrian Belew: guitar
Roger Powell: synthesizer

Red Money
David Bowie: vocals, guitar, backing vocals
Dennis Davis: drums
George Murray: bass
Carlos Alomar: guitar
Adrian Belew: guitar
Roger Powell: synthesizer
Tony Visconti: backing vocals

Bonus track details
I Pray Ole written by David Bowie.
I Pray Ole
David Bowie: vocals, guitar
Dennis Davis: drums
George Murray: bass
Brian Eno: synthesizer
Look Back In Anger
David Bowie: vocals
Erdal Kizilcay: drums and bass
Reeves Gabrels: guitar

The final of the Berlin albums. Note the juxtaposition of performers on the various tracks, particularly Boys Keep Swinging where Carlos plays drums and Dennis plays bass.

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