April’s Tooth of Gold

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April’s Tooth of Gold (demo, unreleased).

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).

14 Responses to April’s Tooth of Gold

  1. Steve says:

    New entry? Does this mean Blackstar approaches?

    • col1234 says:

      no

      • Greg says:

        Hi Chris. What about “Heat?” Did I somehow miss that one, or is it coming later?

      • col1234 says:

        you did not; it is

      • Greg says:

        Excellent. I think that will be the first song post I’ll be reading in “real time” – I’ve worked my way from the very beginning, reading each and every post and comment. Now just a few of the misc categories — I think “Uncategorized” and the Victory/Savage Years — and I’m completely caught up. So very strange to feel like I know the various players on this board, from Maj and Momus to Duke and the rest — all based on conversations they had years ago.

  2. Matthew says:

    Having just listened to autumn almanac I can see what you mean but my first thought on hearing this Bowie track was ‘Syd Barrett’. Something from one of his solo albums I think, but I haven’t heard either in a long while.
    If composed in 1967 its too early to have been influenced by those albums, but contemporary with Pink Floyd’s early shows at the Marquee or UFO club.

  3. Steven Guthrie says:

    Flaming Lips mentioned the golden tooth in, Is David Bowie Dying!!

  4. Jasmine says:

    Bowie didn’t really do psychedelia that well, not a classic for me. Isn’t this one of the songs Bowie had to ‘give back’ to Essex Music later on? Presumably someone has ‘Mother Grey’ on master tape. Has that demo ever been heard?

  5. s.t. says:

    Great podcast, Chris. By any chance, are you originally from Arkansas or somewhere nearby?

    • col1234 says:

      nowhere near. southwestern Va, outside of Roanoke

      • s.t. says:

        Ach, there go my dreams of placing the accents of passersby for cash. 😦
        I’m moving to NoVa quite soon. No more NYC for me. 🙂

  6. Tim says:

    What about the influence of the Small Faces 1967 LP release on this era? – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8a8cutYP7fpVQf7SlZ1NmKFncMk8HpRL

  7. BenJ says:

    Kind of a fun demo. I can hear the Kinks influence, a little bit of “Afternoon Tea” maybe.

  8. Spot on, this track always reminded me of “Autumn Almanac” as well.

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