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Bowie General > Sigma Sound Reel 2

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gousterPosted at 2022-03-30 13:33:39(12 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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Now that the Sigma Sound Reel 2 is out there, I thought it would be useful to provide some background information to it before all the rumours and assumptions are made about its origin. No doubt there's a Japanese CD being pressed as we speak which contains the original and best possible sounding sourced version!

My website details a lot of the information - https://www.theyoungamerican.co.uk/sigma_sound_aug_sessions.htm - but what follows covers the specific Reel 2 release.

In 2003 Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia closed and the unclaimed tapes they were holding were transferred to the Drexel University Audio Archive for preservation. At that time, there was only one identified Bowie reel in the collection.

In 2009 another Bowie Sigma reel was offered for sale on eBay which, the seller claimed, was bought at a Philadelphia street market. Naturally, this drew plenty of interest because it contained 2 unknown songs - "Shilling The Rubes" and "I Am A Laser".

The seller had the tape transferred to CD and offered snippets to prospective buyers. These snippets have appeared on multiple bootlegs over the years and have even been edited to provide longer samples.

Some collectors contacted the seller and arranged to buy a copy of the whole recording on CD rather than purchasing the reel. I won't disclose the sum paid but it was quite considerable. I can also say that some received their disc and some didn't nor did they receive a refund.

Initially, the seller hadn't broken any laws and was entitled to sell the tapes. Bowie was actually quite prepared to pay the money to secure their return.

However, once the seller started to sell copies of the reel he was threatened with legal action unless he handed it over along with a second reel in his possession. The seller immediately sent the tapes to Drexel University (as requested) along with a pile of CD copies.

Drexel University then digitised the recordings and sent these plus 2 of the physical reels to Bowie. For some reason, he never asked for the return of reel 2 so this remains in the Drexel Archive.

The 7" single set was made from the seller's transfer so is different from the Drexel transfer. I've heard both and can't hear any noticeable difference between the 2 but I'm sure there must be something.

The Ava Cherry recording has been taken from an acetate which is in the hands of a private collector.

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ayresPosted at 2022-03-30 14:47:52(12 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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thank you very much for your information. Do you have any idea about the lost reel? I keep wondering what versions there would be on it, Shilling take 2, Lazer take 2 or maybe Too Fat Polka

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PortlandbillPosted at 2022-03-30 18:26:22(12 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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I have been waiting,for such a long,long time to get a copy of a full version of Shilling the Rubes just blown away listening to the Sigma Reel.

There are four reels I believe so hopefully these sessions may be available in full in the future.

Easily by far my favourite era, just looking for a "Lazer" full version and I'll be mega happy.

Thank You Gouster for the info, very much worth the read.

https://www.theyoungamerican.co.uk/sigma_sound_aug_sessions.htm



I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring.
   
I'm not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I'm living on.
 
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SteveboyDonatedPosted at 2022-03-30 18:34:32(12 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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There is an interview/broadcast with the curator of Drexel speaking about what the 'gouster ' mentioned above i'll see if I can find it and post a link.

Steveboy


PS - Great site by the way Gouster I have said before well worth spending a few hours just reading it



NO DISCUSSION I JUST WANT TO LISTEN TO THE MUSIC
WANTED
FRANKFURT 1976
1978 REHEARSALS
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SteveboyDonatedPosted at 2022-03-30 18:52:40(12 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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https://we.tl/t-6EaDpOTcqo

Link to Drexel talk about the tape



NO DISCUSSION I JUST WANT TO LISTEN TO THE MUSIC
WANTED
FRANKFURT 1976
1978 REHEARSALS
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gousterPosted at 2022-03-30 20:13:24(12 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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Thanks for the kind words about my website. Hopefully, the next update isn't too far away... I just need to get my kitchen finished first!

To address some of the questions/comments...

ayres - I do have a theory about the lost reel. I think that it almost certainly contains yet another version of "Young Americans" but I have no idea what else. I once asked David Bowie about "Too Fat Polka" and he assured me that it never existed.

Portland Bill - The full "Lazer" is part of the recent release.

Steveboy - Thanks for that link.

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professormouseDonatedPosted at 2022-03-31 17:20:40(12 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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I thought where the studio is had some sorta refit and as work was done 'stuff' went ?
Or were they just stolen ??

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PortlandbillPosted at 2022-04-11 19:44:20(10 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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LOL@Gouster,
Confusing "Lazer" with I am a Laser.

It's an age thing!!.  :D



I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring.
   
I'm not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I'm living on.
 
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professormouseDonatedPosted at 2022-04-28 13:44:02(8 wks ago) (Bowie General / Sigma Sound Reel 2)


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Did 'he' record the other side of the Ava Cherry disc, ‘Everything That Touches Me, Touches You' as well ?

Last edited by professormouse on 2022-04-28 13:44:19


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