Released: 17 May 2019
David Bowie: vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, Stylophone
John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson: vocals, acoustic guitar
- ‘Space Oddity’
- ‘Lover To The Dawn’
- ‘An Occasional Dream’
- ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’
- ‘Life Is A Circus’
The second set of acoustic and predominantly solo demo recordings by David Bowie released in 2019, Clareville Grove Demos was as a box set containing three 7″ vinyl singles.
The recordings were made in early 1969 at 22 Clareville Grove in South Kensington, London. Bowie shared the flat with his girlfriend Hermione Farthingale, whom he had met the previous year.
Clareville Grove Demos are predominantly acoustic, although contain some Stylophone on ‘Space Oddity’. The recordings were made live-to-tape, meaning no overdubs were added.
All but one of the six songs were written by Bowie. The exception was ‘Life Is A Circus’, written by Roger Bunn and originally recorded by the quartet Djinn, with whom Bowie briefly played. The union may not have lasted, but Bowie retained ‘Life Is A Circus’ for live performances for a number of months.
The Clareville Grove recordings were made with John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson. David Bowie and Hutch were a duo in the early months of 1969, following the demise of Feathers, the band which also featured Farthingale.
The cover photography for the box set cover and interior print was taken by Bowie’s manager, Kenneth Pitt. Bowie’s military-style haircut was a result of his brief appearance in the film The Virgin Soldiers.
The press release for Clareville Grove Demos was published on 12 February 2019. Here’s the announcement from davidbowie.com:
“I recall how we lived, On the corner of a bed”
DAVID BOWIE – CLAREVILLE GROVE DEMOS
3 x 7″ VINYL SINGLES BOX SET FEATURING PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED DAVID BOWIE RECORDINGS
Following the recent Spying Through A Keyhole announcement, Parlophone is set to further commemorate the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s first hit, Space Oddity, with a 7″ vinyl singles box set of six home demos, four of which are previously unreleased recordings. This set further documents the earliest stages of David’s journey and development as an artist and songwriter.
Recorded early in 1969 in David’s flat in Clareville Grove, London, this live to tape demo session features David performing as a duo with John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson following the end of the Feathers trio, which featured David’s then girlfriend Hermione Farthingale.
The photography featured on the box front and the print inside, is by Bowie’s then manager, Ken Pitt, and was taken in the Clareville Grove flat that David shared with Hermione. His military haircut was due to the very brief appearance he had in the movie The Virgin Soldiers.
As with the Spying Through A Keyhole vinyl singles box set, the design of each single label is presented to reflect the way David sent many of his demos to publishers and record companies, featuring his own handwritten song titles on EMIDISC acetate labels. The singles themselves are all mono and play at 45 rpm.
CLAREVILLE GROVE DEMOS (3 X 7” SINGLE BOX SET)
DAVID BOWIE (WITH JOHN ‘HUTCH’ HUTCHINSON)
3 x 7″ SET TRACKLISTING
Now featuring the final lyrics, this version of the demo first appeared on the long deleted Space Oddity 40th Anniversary 2 CD release, and is now making its debut on vinyl. It predates the 2nd February Morgan Studios recording that featured in the Love You Till Tuesday television film.
‘Lover To The Dawn’
This song aimed at a former lover would eventually morph into ‘Cygnet Committee’, recorded for the David Bowie (aka Space Oddity) album later in the year.
Previously recorded in October 1968 by the trio Turquoise featuring David, Hermione and Tony Hill (who became Feathers when Hutch replaced Hill). David and Hutch continued to perform the song as a duo following Hermione’s departure.
‘An Occasional Dream’
Slightly different lyrically to the later album version, this version of the demo also first appeared on the deleted Space Oddity 40th Anniversary release.
‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’
A studio version was first recorded in September 1967 but remained unreleased until The World Of David Bowie album in 1970. The song was later recorded in session for the BBC in October 1969 and was a song David clearly believed in, recording it once more for the unreleased Toy album 30 years later. That version finally saw the light of day on the Nothing Has Changed 3 CD set in 2014.
‘Life Is A Circus’
A cover of an obscure song written by Roger Bunn recorded by vocal/instrumental quartet Djinn. Vocals are shared Simon and Garfunkel style by David and Hutch.