Bowie’s album catalog includes two oddballs, three if you count his debut on the Deram label. That one doesn’t sound much like the Bowie we all know and love, so I understand the impulse to call it an oddball, but the two I’m talking about are so unique that casual Bowie fans don’t even know that they exist. Why? Even when these two were new they weren’t racked with the rest of the Dame’s albums in the “Rock” section, but rather in the classical bins. The first (actually the last) of these was 1982’s David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal. The other one: 1978’s David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.
Bowie recorded his narration for the album during his creatively fertile Berlin period. By ’78 he was clean, had Low and Heroes in the bag, and was off on the world tour from which the live album Stage was culled. Busy times! Peter and the Wolf doesn’t capture the brilliance of those three albums, but it’s a pretty delightful thing. Besides, it wasn’t meant for you, Mr. Aladdin Sane T-Shirt Wearing Bowie Fan, but rather your kid. Here’s a taste:
Come to think of it, this one may not have been meant for your kid, either. Bowie’s son was seven years-old when this was recorded, so perhaps the newly clean and proud papa recorded this narration for his own boy. Regardless, it’s a treasure.
Oh, and Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra perform, and the album’s B-side includes some non-Bowie stuff.
David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf was pressed on both black and green vinyl. A black vinyl copy is a good buy in the $10-15 range, and a green vinyl one will run you between 15 and 35 dollars. Happy hunting.