Long known only as a song title, “April’s Tooth of Gold” was finally bootlegged in 2010, revealing itself as a piece of mild psychedelia melodically similar to “Silver Tree Top School for Boys.”
Ray Davies was central to the development of Bowie’s songwriting and “April’s Tooth of Gold” discloses the debt as openly as Bowie ever allowed. Driven by a harshly-strummed acoustic guitar reminiscent of the Kinks’ “Autumn Almanac,*” Bowie’s song concerned strange young people with blue hair and gold teeth, and the older generation bewildered by them—it was a first draft of “Oh! You Pretty Things,” with the old-timey affectations of “Rubber Band” not quite discarded yet. A minor but appealing piece that could’ve won a place on the never-recorded second Bowie Deram album.
* If it was inspired by “Almanac,” it would push the date of composition for “April’s Tooth” to post-October 1967, when the Kinks track was issued. There’s also a bit of The Lovin’ Spoonful in it.
Top: “Arbyreed,” “Hippies near Trafalgar Square, ca. 1968.”
Various business: I did a recent podcast for Zachary Stockill’s Travels in Music. You can hear me utterly blank on naming Eno’s Oblique Strategies (hey, it was early in the day).