Jobriath | Jobriath + Creatures Of The Street

 Collectors’ Choice (2008)
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  November 7, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
jobriathINSIDE.jpg
So, you were intrigued by the rambling last track on Okkervil River’s The Stand-Ins — the cumbersomely titled “Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979” — and curiosity led you to YouTube, where you found an astonishing video of said less-than-momentous event. Bruce went by “Cole Berlin” at the time, and he was working on a cabaret musical in his pyramid-shape room (not even Todd Haynes could make this stuff up), but a few years back he had pranced all over the rock landscape as “Jobriath,” Broadway’s answer to Bowie. Jobriath was all the things the early Bowie either wanted or pretended to be: all-American, a bona fide musical-theater performer, and unabashedly gay. The two albums now reissued are the lone vestiges of that brief moment in the limelight, strange amalgams of Ziggy Stardust, musical-queen culture, and more than a hint of street hustle. The end result is not genius (though Morrissey and others have argued otherwise) or even amusing camp, but it is real in a way that the soundtracks to The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Velvet Goldmine — both mutant companions to these platters — could never be. Of course, in 1973-’74 the American market was not ready for an out-and-proud free-love boy proclaiming “Take Me I’m Yours” and extolling “Street Corner Love.” Even Bowie had a hard time pushing his tame Soho androgyny in the heartland; he adapted by turning his alien drag show into a plastic soul revue. For an insistent coterie, though, Jobriath (dead of AIDS in 1983) still shines on from a little club in Heaven where every night Bruce Campbell plays the piano while Klaus Nomi out-Dietrich herself with their rendition of “Falling in Love Again.” As below, so above. They can’t help it.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, David Bowie, Musicals,  More more >
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