MUSIC MONDAY: “AfroBowie” – A Soul-Filled David Bowie Collection (LISTEN)

by Marlon West (FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

I’m back with another batch of tracks. AfroBowie” is a collection devoted to David Bowie, who,  in a 1976 Playboy interview, described his own album Young Americans as “the definitive plastic soul record. It’s the squashed remains of ethnic music as it survives in the age of Muzak, written and sung by a white limey.”

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Though those funky soulful tracks made Bowie one of the few white performers to be invited to perform on Soul Train.

He would also go on to call out MTV on not featuring Black artists: “I’m floored by the fact that there are so few Black artists featured on [MTV]. Why is that?” “The only few black artists one does see are on in about 2:30 in the morning until 6:00,” Bowie continued, “Very few are featured prominently during the day.”

Almost a decade before James Brown would become constantly sampled, the Godfather of Soul would borrow Carlos Alomar’s guitar riff from David Bowie’s crossover hit “Fame” to create his track “Hot”.

Bowie would later team up with Queen Latifah for a version “Fame” in 1990. This collection features Bowie covers from Black artists like Robert Glasper & Bilal, Durand Jones & The Indications, Rhonda Dakar and others.

There are Bowie tracks written with his longtime collaborator Alomar including: “D.J.”, “Fame”, “Never Let Me Down”, “Red Money” and “The Secret Life of Arabia”. And of course his team-up with young Luther Vandross on “Young Americans” is in the mix.

I’ve included David Bowie’s covers of “Almost Grown” by Chuck Berry, Nina Simone’s “Wild is the Wind” and versions of “Knock on Wood” (by Eddie Floyd) and “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” (by Ohio Players) from DAVID LIVE.

There are a few tracks from Ziggy Stardub, a spectacular reggae recasting “Ziggy Stardust” by the Easy Star All-Stars.

There are also songs from the tribute record Modern Love. It features covers from across Bowie’s catalog by Helado Negro, Khruangbin, Jeff Parker, We Are KING, Meshell Ndegeocello, and more. P

lus, Seu Jorge’s beautiful set of Bowie covers from Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Hope you enjoy AfroBowie as much as I’ve enjoyed making it.

As always, stay safe, sane, and kind. See ya next month.

Marlon West (photo courtesy Marlon West)