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Jobriath - 1973 Jobriath

ARTIST: Jobriath
ALBUM: Jobriath
LABEL: Elektra
YEAR: 1973


LINEUP: Featuring: Billy Schwartz, Steve Love, John Syomis, Andy Muson, Ken Bichel, Peter Frampton, Carl Hall, Tasha Thomas, Rhetta Hughes, Heather Macrae, Zenobia

TRACK LISTING: 01 Take Me I'm Yours * 02 Be Still * 03 World Without End * 04 Space Clown * 05 Earthling * 06 Movie Queen * 07 I'm A Man * 08 Inside * 09 Morning Star Ship * 10 Rock Of Ages * 11 Blow Away

Much has been made about Jobriath's personal life as one of the first 'openly gay' rock stars, which to my mind means nothing in the context of his music in the same way I listen to Freddie Mercury and Elton John without thinking about their love lives, but I guess for some people..well.. Yes, it seems Jobriath the man (real name Bruce Campbell) had overshadowed Jobriath the musician until a CD of his best work on The Smiths former vocalist Morrissey's label-Attack Records was released a couple years ago. Up until that point, his two albums 'Jobriath' and 'Creatures Of The Street' have been near impossible to find, going for huge sums of silly money bought by people who had no idea what Jobriath sounded like and not helped by critics who heaped praise on the record fueled by ridiculous statements - for example by 'Allmusic' who in a review for the debut said and I quote: 'his arrangements make Queen sound like an underachieving garage band'. Huh? (well Eric.. Allmusic's reviews haven't exactly been known for their accuracy.. lol! Ed)

The Songs
This was not Jobriath's first album. He dabbled in psychedelic rock with a group called Pidgeon whose sound was similar to Yes on their first two records and early Bee Gees - and suitably featured a dead pidgeon in the middle of a sandwich on the group's only album cover. A good record for what it was actually, but by the time Jobriath received his extraordinary (for the time) advance of $500,000 dollars for his first album, Glam rock was raising its glittery head and Jobriath was the new David Bowie and T-Rex. A massive promotional campaign followed the release of the record, but no one bought it. Produced by Eddie Kramer, this is not your average glam rock album. Jobriath's vocals are very similar to Mick Jagger which isn't always a good thing, but it works. He obviously worshipped the ground David Bowie floated above with songs like 'Space Clown', 'Earthling' and 'Morning Star Ship' similar in some ways to New Zealand's Bowie followers Space Waltz although with more New York grit in Jobriath's case. Some comparisons to Queen who ironically would release their debut on the same label that year are valid especially on 'Take Me I'm Yours' which has a little of that 'Somebody To Love' vibe as well as 'Be Still' and 'Movie Queen' that both have a Freddie Mercury feel to them, but as far as coming anywhere near to the power of Queen, I say nay.

In Summary
Overall, a good record with some decent moments and I suggest picking up the compilation mentioned earlier, although I would rather have both Jobriath albums on CD in their entirety but that's just me. For David Bowie, T-Rex, Mott The Hoople and Queen fans, Jobriath is definitely an artist of interest.

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#1 | Explorer on June 13 2015 12:52:24
Dug out both of his album`s again this last week, got them via I tunes a few years back. A curious mix of Glam, Brechtian musings and lounge music. Definitely worth checking out, purely for curiosity value.The soundtrack to Velvet Goldmine (a top film which is loosely based on Bowie et al in the early 70`s)also pays homage to Jobriath in it`s artwork.

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