In the early '70s late rock god David Bowie was in the middle of his so-called "Plastic Soul" era. At that time he recorded an album with a powerfully funky soul vibe titled The Gouster. It was never released, though some tracks were edited and made it onto Bowie's epic Young Americans studio album.
Now Consequence of Sound reports that as part of a posthumous release planned by the artist prior to his death at the beginning of 2016, fans can hear The Gouster as part of Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976).
The set is also streaming on Spotify, and you can listen to it here.
The Gouster Tracklist:
01. John, I’m Only Dancing (Again)
02. Somebody Up There Likes Me
03. It’s Gonna Be Me
04. Who Can I Be Now?
05. Can You Hear Me
06. Young Americans
In his 2015 book David Bowie: The Music and The Changes, author David Buckley explained that "lost" might not be entirely correct when referring to The Gouster—it was really the early form of the album that would become Young Americans, Bowie simply didn't like some of the tracks, such as "It's Gonna Be Me."
As CoS noted, one-time Bowie producer Tony Visconti gave further background in the box set's notes. He stated that the term "gouster" was slang related to the way African-American teens dressed in the Chicago area in the 1960s. It was used as the prospective album's title to convey a certain kind of cool:
David had a long infatuation with soul as did I. We were fans of the TV show Soul Train. We weren’t ‘young, gifted and black’ but we sure as hell wanted to make a killer soul album, which was quite insane, but pioneers like the Righteous Brothers were there before us.
So The Gouster began with the outrageous brand new, funkafied version of David’s classic ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’, a single he wrote and recorded in 1972, only this time our version sounded like it was played live in a loft party in Harlem and he added (Again) to the title. It wasn’t the two and a half minute length of the original either...
Visconti goes on to say the album was "Forty minutes of glorious funk."
Give it a listen and see for yourself—music history is never this cool.