Tucker Zimmerman: Ten Songs Expanded Edition

Stunning 1969 debut by San Francisco-born wunderkind.

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It’s not hard to hear how and why this genre-scaling and wrathful album should have exerted such an influence on then-emerging Dame David Bowie.

From the opening Bo Diddley revamp Bird Lives through the scowling garage folk of Children Of Fear, Zimmerman, in exile to avoid the draft, mines disgust with American culture and politics magnificently.

Ten Songs, long unavailable and here augmented with two pre-album singles, is a still-pulverising broadside, with unsettling closing epic Alpha Centauri hanging heavy in the air, long after its final chord is strummed.

As late as 2006, Bowie still rated Ten Songs alongside such essential influences as Little Richard and The Velvets’ first album. Time for the rest of the world to catch up. It’s definitely worth the effort.

Gavin Martin

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.