David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht's Baal EPWritten by: Bertolt Brecht, Dominic Muldowney
Recorded: 25, 26 November 1981
Producers: David Bowie, Tony Visconti
Arranger/conductor: Dominic Muldowney

Released: 13 March 1982

David Bowie: vocals
Eckehard Scholl: piano
Bernd Machus: bandoneon
Ingo Cramer: guitar
Michael Bucher: tuba
Thomas Hoffmann: drums
Erwin Milzkott: flute
Joachim Welz: clarinet
David Kreitner: alto saxophone
Axel-Glenn Müller: tenor saxophone
René Waintz: trumpet
Ralf Armbruster: trombone
Hans-Joachim Glas: concert master
Uwe Weniger: viola
Rolf Becker: cello
Ulrich Berggold: contrabass

Available on:
A New Career In A New Town (1977–1982)

The third song on the David Bowie In Bertolt Brecht’s Baal EP finds the protagonist in a bitter, vituperative mood.

‘Ballad Of The Adventurers’ is the Baal EP’s least melodic moment. It appears in the play in a bar scene, shortly before Baal stabs and kills his friend Erkart.

‘Die Ballad Von Den Abenteurern’ was partly a lament for Baal’s dead mother; birth and death weigh heavily in the lyrics. He recalls the joy of childhood, and yearns for a return to the comfort of being nurtured by a maternal figure. The anger and aggression may have been in part because Brecht suffered the loss of his own mother while writing the play.

The release

The Baal EP was released as a 7″ gatefold edition in the UK and Canada, with a sleeve containing extensive notes on the music and musicians, as well as a brief biography of Brecht. It reached number 29 on the UK singles chart.

There was also a 12″ vinyl version in the US, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Greece, Spain and Italy, and a cassette edition in the US and Canada.

The songs were reissued as digital downloads in 2007, and as part of the Re:Call 3 compilation in the 2017 box set A New Career In A New Town (1977–1982). The EP was reissued on 10″ vinyl in June 2018.

Lyrics

Sickened by sun, with rainstorms lashing him rotten
A looted wreath crowning his tangled hair
Every moment of his youth apart from its dream was forgotten
Gone the roof overhead, but the sky was always there

Oh you, who are flung out, alike from heaven and from Hades
You murderers who’ve been so bitterly repaid
Why did you part from the mothers who nursed you as babies
It was peaceful and you slept and there you stayed

Still he explores and rakes the absinthe green oceans
Though his mother has given him up for lost
Grinning and cursing with a few odd tears of contrition
Always in search of that land where life seems best

Loafing through hells and flocked through paradises
Calm and grinning, with a vanishing face
At times he still dreams of a small field he recognises
With a blue sky overhead and nothing else