Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Little Toy Soldier

 In december 1966 David Bowie was gifted a test-pressing of The Velvet Underground & Nico by his then manager Ken Pitt who in turn had received it from Andy Warhol during a visit to The Factory in New York.
The Riot Squad. From Up Lef. Del Roll, David Bowie, Butch Davis, Rod Davis, Bob Flag, Croke Prebble.
Just after The Velvet Underground had released their first album The Velvet Underground & Nico(whitch would take almost a year from it's initial recording in April 1966), David Bowie (vocals) with The Riot Squad (Bob Evans - sax, flute / Croke Prebble - bass, vocals / Rod Davies - guitar / Derek Roll - drums / George Butcher - keyboard) would go into Decca Studios on 5th april 1967 to record some demos.

 With Gus Dudgeon as engineer the songs "Little Toy Soldier", a cover of VU's "I'm Waiting For The Man" and an instrumental of "Silly Boy Blue"(here is another version, most likely recorded with The Lower Third) were recorded. 
Little Toy Soldier borrows much from The Velvet Underground's excellent "Venus In Furs", the chorus is partially copied from the original. The song is a mix between Anthony Newley style children’s cartoon-pop and snarling vocals with a S&M theme in great Lou Reed style.

Gus Dudgeon is responsible for sound effects and gnome-laugh, something that lifts the song to the most bizarre work Bowie has ever done. Originally the song ends with "..and he beat her to death", but Gus would later add a long part of sound effects to create a chaotic climax at the end of the song.

The first of a long line of recordings of VU's "I'm Waiting For The Man".

Little Toy Soldier(Albino Records AL 7153, 1983) is the name of the first known  bootleg containing the songs "Little Toy Soldier" and "I'm Waiting For The Man" from this session. In addition there is an early version of "Space Oddity", the first demo of "The Supermen"(whitch is going to end the album The Man Who Sold The World in 1970), "Right On Mother" and "He Was Alright"(early version of "Lady Stardust"). 

A copy of the original master tape with 7 versions of "Silly Boy Blue", 4 of "Little Toy Soldier" and 3 of "I'm Waiting For The Man" was in the early 80's given by Gus Dudgeon to a buddy of his. It would not be long before this bootleg would "mysteriously" appear in 1983.

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