David Bowie 1971-09-25 Aylesbury ,Borough Assembly Rooms (Friars) – Aylesbury ’71 – SQ 8,5

David Bowie 1971-09-25 Aylesbury ,Borough Assembly Rooms (Friars) - Aylesbury '71 - SQ 8,5

David Bowie 1971-09-25 Aylesbury ,Borough Assembly Rooms (Friars) – Aylesbury ’71 –
Sound Quality Rating

08. CHANGES.wav

Live at the Aylesbury Friars Club, Aylesbury, UK; September 25, 1971. A bit rough but still a rather good audience recording. Historic.

According to gsparaco at collectors music reviews.com: “This is a very good and clear audience recording that some speculate was recorded on semi-professional equipment. For many years it was hoarded by high end collectors but finally surfaced in 2003. Except for BBC sessions, this is the earliest recording of David Bowie in circulation.”

At that time “journalist Kris Needs wrote that Bowie ‘was still going around with his long hair and floppy hats, but he was still great to watch on stage. He had just got back from New York and was full of talk about the people he’d met there, Lou and Warhol… the response to that [Aylesbury] gig was amazing.’ In Needs’ assessment, this was the show that convinced Bowie that he could attain popularity in his home country.”

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The cover notes:

What we have here is one of the rarest Bowie recordings of all time – the Pre Ziggy Stardust Show, only weeks before Bowie had his first meeting (September 10, 1971) with Andy Warhol at the Factory in New York. At Aylesbury Bowie performs with Michael Ronson (lead guitar), Mick Woodmansey (percussion), Trevor Bolder (bass guitar), Tom Parker ex Animals (piano). Weeks later Bowie and his new band would start rehearsals at the Underhill Rehearsals Studios, South London, the new band would soon be named the Spiders and Ziggy would be there. The rest is history as they say



Announcer: “Just a little bit, get closer, alright ok. Now let’s have a very warm Friars Aylesbury reception for a very rare appearance of David Bowie.”

David Bowie: “Thank you Peter, good evening, hello, this is Michael Ronson, he’s a guitarist who works with me a lot, get yourselves sat down. (tunes guitar).

“We’ll have a band on a bit later for this, but we’ll do some solo things first if we can slowly… Anybody who has seen me before knows that I don’t do many gigs and this is one of the few exceptions. So we’re gonna start slowly till we get the hang of it again coz we’re not used to it. The first song is called FILL YOUR HEART and is by an American gentleman called Biff Rose. Can I have something to drink. Thank you ok. Are you gonna get a bit nearer (talking to Ronson laughing). To the mike (sarcastically).”

Mick Ronson: “Hello.”

David Bowie: “Yeah, that’s it. As you all know it’s a long way down, anyway I’m back again.”


David Bowie: “Thanks very much. We didn’t know what kind of songs to do tonight, so we just decided to endeavour to sing the kind of songs that we’ll hope you’ll enjoy. It’s what we call entertainment, we want to entertain you. Entertain you it’s an old word, we want to make you happy coz we want to be happy doing them. The next one to follow that is also another Biff Rose number. I’m a bit keen on his songs I think they are very good, very funny. He’s a very overrated (laughs) underrated songwriter, sorry Biff, and he’s been working in America for about 5 years and nobody over here is buying his records and not many people in America seem to either and the album this comes from is called THE THORN IN MRS ROSES SIDE and it’s a good album to buy it’s called BUZZ THE FUZZ and it’s a Los Angeles song.”


David Bowie: “Ta (intro to SPACE ODDITY) This is one of my own that we get over with as soon as possible.”


David Bowie: “Thank you. That’s very good of you, thank you. This is a… a… I want to go to another um, number by another songwriter yet again. It’s by a French composer called Jacques Brel, who was writing a long time ago and he wrote this song about 15 years ago and it was called PORT OF AMSTERDAM, it was true then, it’s not untrue now, meaning insufficient. If we’re I haven’t been up very long, you see I’m very bad at getting up, always been bad at getting up haven’t you? Terrible. When I was at school my mother could only get me up. She found out the trick of getting me up, she would put on a black dress and sit on the bed and cry. I’d be up like a shot. Enough of this frivolity. This is the Jacques Brel number anyway called PORT OF AMSTERDAM.”


David Bowie: “Thank you very much indeed. We thought it’d be nice to bring the boys on to do this gig with us before we go off to America in a few months. We’re going to America, the land of subways. The subways are rather like the Underground, you still get lots of people who wait for hours for the train, they all have that thing of going to the edge of the platform and looking down into a tunnel. I don’t know what they expect to come out? Do they expect something other than a train to come out of it? You have to be a sadist or a masochist to take the subway in America, coz if you go on in a crowd within 5 or 10 minutes somebody’s got a good grip on you (in an American accent) ‘Stay on 3 more stops and I’ll give you 50 cents’, it’s really quite grim and they’ve got a Miss Subway contest, see, and I think you only condition for entry is you have to look as though you’ve been hit by one from some of the entries we saw when we was out there. Anyway that’s where we’re going America. Land of the living, land of the dead. – Land of the dead, they’ve got lots murders, killings as you’ve probably read about in the papers. That crime wave and it’s kind of inbred in them to murder and kill and kike a family man will get into a car and drive at 90, bumper to bumper on long stretches of motorway, they come up with original ways of killing people, you read reports of old man battered to death weapon believed to have been Durex filled with ball bearings. That’s not the only problem you see coz you’ve got the apartments problem as well, because you just can’t get an apartment. I stayed in quite a nice one whilst I was there, all couples no women and I wouldn’t say ?????? island. I don’t know if any of you know America at all, not exactly quite, but I took 13 showers for excitement. One evening somebody comes and says I’m really sorry I’m afraid I have some very bad news for you, your grandmother has died. Oh that’s awful, has her apartment gone yet, did she die with central heating, really terrible. Anyway we’re going there later. They should be on now, are you on, this is SUPERMEN. This is one from an album that we did last year, which sold like hot cakes in Beckenham and no where else. It’s called THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD that’s the name of the album and this is one of the numbers off it called SUPERMEN.”


David Bowie: “Thank you. That is Woody Woodmansey, that is Trevor Bolder, they play with me. We’re gonna have a pianist on in a few moments. I’ll just get this up coz I don’t need it down again, hang on. This is a number I wrote for myself and for the album and somebody else did it, I won’t say anymore, we’ll do it anyway.”


David Bowie: “Thank you. This is where we get Tom Parker on stage, ex Animal. Tom will take over piano and play it properly for the rest of the evening. The first thing we’re gonna do with Tom is one in which I don’t know the guitar chords so I’ll stand here like a twit, like used to singing like one. ??? called CHANGES a new one from the album.”


David Bowie: “Presumptuousness of the songwriter is that he feels he can pick on anybody, I’m no exception, but this is not a picking song it’s just about somebody, it’s called SONG FOR BOB DYLAN.”


David Bowie: “Thank you, thanks very much. That was written during a spate of people songs. I got hung up on writing about people, these kind of well known figures and what they stood for. I believe very much in the media of the streets, street messages and one of the leaders in that field is a man called Andy Warhol and this is, this is about him it’s called ANDY WARHOL.”


David Bowie: “This is one with the band again. It’s the third in a series of people songs I did. This one is about a friend of mine in America called Lou Reed, who’s the singer with a band out there called Velvet Underground who aren’t that well known (audience cheer) yes they are sorry, sorry very well known band over here called Velvet Underground, they don’t know about them in Beckenham I tell ya. Anyway Lou is very funny, outrageously funny and this is a song for Lou and it’s called QUEEN BITCH.”


David Bowie: “Thank you, this is our last number. Thank you very much.”


David Bowie: “Thank you very much, thank you.”

(Audience cheer for encore)

Announcer: “David Bowie, come on let’s ?????”

David Bowie: “This is one thank God you’ll probably appreciate not being in Beckenham, are you ready Mick? It’s a Velvet Underground number, it’s called WAITING FOR THE MAN.”



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3 thoughts on “David Bowie 1971-09-25 Aylesbury ,Borough Assembly Rooms (Friars) – Aylesbury ’71 – SQ 8,5”

  1. Minor corrections from transcription:

    After playing The Supermen he comments “I’ll just get this up because I don’t sit down again”, meaning he was sitting for the early acoustic songs with the mic stand set low.

    After playing Eight Line Poem on piano, then introducing Tom Parker he says “I don’t know the guitar chords, so I’ll stand here like a twit, not used to singing without one”, meaning he is not yet accustomed to performing as a frontman without the guitar to hide behind, so to speak.

    Amazing to hear the ultimate performer say that he was still not used to being on stage with no instrument between him and his audience, and he felt like a twit!

  2. What is the source of the apparent old vinyl edition with (presumably) Bowie’s own handwriting which mentions “my album” and various amusing notes like “some V.U. white light returned with thanks” next to Queen Bitch, and “Andy Monument” written and crossed out with “Warhol” added .. he also credits all the artwork, including “front cover artwork by my good friends George Underwood & Terry his partner of Main Artory” and the self-effacing band credit “I played some guitar and the less complicated piano parts (inability)” as well as referring to Mick as “Michael Ronson” which seems to suggest the album was prepared then as he was Mick soon after .. maybe just for promotional purposes considering the audio quality is not great? Is it a real album? Surely they are Bowie’s own personal comments? I understand that art is from the CD edition on the Grow Music label in 2008 but where did they get it? The vintage vinyl if real is also on ‘Grow Records’ according to its back cover logo.

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