I have to admit that the Under Review series is one of my favorites, I have watched a number of these British documentaries and they never fail to impress. The basic concept is to focus either on a single album or a relatively narrow time frame in a musicians career and have commentary from music historians and people that worked on the projects.

David Bowie makes affine subject, and The Calm Before The Storm explores his career during the period 1969-1971, three very crucial and formative years.

I must confess that I was never much of a Bowie fan. And certainly I knew little of his beginnings. In a short period of time he moved from Folky to Freaky.

It is very clear that the period between 69 – 71 shaped the superstar David Bowie. At the time, Bowie was not a Space Oddity, merely a regular Oddity. Bowie, however was a force to be reckoned with. He loved to play outside of the box. Musically his early years were unremarkable, he was just another folk singer trying to eke out a living plying his trade in small venues.

What I like about this documentary is not so much the music, but rather the commentary. There are three names that spring to mind, DJ John Peel, record producer Tony Visconti, and T-Rex lead Marc Bolan.

This is an interesting DVD. You can order your own copy from the Amazon link above.

Simon Barrett

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