by Tom Hibbert / Q Magazine
THE COLLECTION (Castle Communications CCSCD 118) On the evidence of these early, pre-ground-control-to-maayjer-Tom, recordings, you’d have had to be insane or mischievous to predict a glittering future for the David Bowie boy. Anyone doing a novelty quite so creepy as The Laughing Gnome-a half-baked retread of Tommy Steele’s magnificent Who Puts The Lightie On (There’s a little man in the fridge/Hiding `neath the ham and the butter)-in 1967 was surely dumper bound. With Davy Jones And The Lower Third (six dismal tracks included), the fellow displayed a terrifying lack of feeling for beat music. With his first forays into solo artistry, he became yet more excruciating as he adopted that fey and camp and annoying Anthony Newley vocal style to quaver things like A little chappie with a golden wand (Rubber Band, coy Carnaby Street whimsy) and A little old man with a little shovel in his little bitty hand (Please Mr Gravedigger, how quaint). The one non-irksome thought in the head of this young man (before he bloomed in make-up) seemed to be to purloin the chords and bass-line of Hey Joe on She’s Got Medals.