Uncle Arthur Lyrics - David Bowie

Review The Song (1)

Strikes the bell for 5 o'clock, Uncle Arthur closes shop
Screws the tops on all the bottles, turns the lights out, locks it up
Climbs across his bike and he's away
Cycles past the gasworks, past the river, down the high street
Back to mother, it's another empty day

Uncle Arthur likes his mommy
Uncle Arthur still reads comics
Uncle Arthur follows Batman

Round and round the rumours fly, how he ran away from Mum
On his 32nd birthday, told her that he'd found a chum
Mother cried and raved and yelled and fussed
Arthur left her no illusion, brought the girl round, save confusion
Sally was the real thing, not just lust

Uncle Arthur vanished quickly
Uncle Arthur and his new bride
Uncle Arthur follows Sally

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Round and round goes Arthur's head, hasn't eaten well for days
Little Sally may be lovely, but cooking leaves her in a maze
Uncle Arthur packed his bags and fled
Back to mother, all's forgiven, serving in the family shop
He gets his pocket money, he's well fed

Uncle Arthur past the gasworks
Uncle Arthur past the river
Uncle Arthur down the high street
Uncle Arthur follows mother

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Foundling Songwriter | Reviewer: D Connelly | 10/22/09

This comes from a period where David Jones/Bowie was awakening to the idea that he may be somebody someday. Looking around for the inspiration, he applied the rule that the best knowledge comes reliably from close at hand. In this way he was revealing a snapshot of cosy sixties acceptability, something which wouldn't ruffle too many feathers and cast him in the same spotlight as Tommy Steel whilst adopting a "handful of songs" or "Pop goes the weazel" arrangement from his imagined "Gurney Slade" fixation.

I think it's fair to say that it offers the same 'mindshot' he leaned on later with his more trenchent views on Space Oddity or later Man who sold the world, domestic discord and momentary loss of faculty, this time Uncle Arthur's unbreakable maternal bond.

It gives us a clear chance to see where he came from without the psychic melodrama he would give us to review on his later sixties folk to seventies rock albums.

The arrangement is a wonderful whimsy and the faux cockney vocals dreamy, it's very much a fans' collector piece and very charming in it's basicness. The lyrics very repressed yes but an excellent rythym is created fitting the subject's imagery and creates the sense of a time more innocent and a commentary on a life less complicated. No marks out of ten just It's at about 5 past 12 on Bowie's musical clock.

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------ Performed by David Bowie

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------ 08/27/2014

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