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 last of the five Baal EP tracks, ‘The Dirty Song’ was David Bowie’s briefest release since 1969’s ‘Don’t Sit Down’.

It was written by Bertolt Brecht in 1918, and was known variously as ‘The Dirty Song’, ‘Baal’s Song’, or ‘If A Woman’s Hips Are Ample’. It features in scene seven of the play, in which Baal humiliates his lover Sophie while performing burlesque numbers to a drunken and rowdy audience in a cabaret club named the Night Cloud.

For the BBC’s 1982 television adaptation of Baal, Bowie performed the song song almost unaccompanied, with frequent jeers and catcalls from the onlookers. The studio recording was more elaborate but no less brief. Featuring German musicians from the Orchestra Sherry Bertram, it was recorded at Berlin’s Hansa Studios in 1981, during Bowie’s final sessions in the city.

The release

Bowie intended the Baal EP to be his final release for RCA, his label throughout the 1970s. In keeping with low commercial expectations, it peaked at number 29 on the UK singles chart.

It was released as a 7″ gatefold edition, with a sleeve containing copious notes on the music and musicians, as well as a brief biography of Brecht.

The 7″ EP was released in the UK and Canada. There was also a 12″ vinyl version issued in the US, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Greece, Spain and Italy, and a cassette edition in the US and Canada.

The EP’s 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 full EP was reissued with the original artwork on 10″ vinyl in June 2018.

Lyrics

If a woman’s hips are ample
Then I want her in the hay
Skirt and stocking all a rample
Cheerfully
For that’s my way

If the woman bites in pleasure
Then I wipe it clean with hay
My mouth, her lap together
Thoroughly
For that’s my way

If the woman goes on loving
When I feel too tired to play
I’d smile and go off waving
Amiably
For that’s my way