Jobriath Lonely Planet Boy

Ever since Elektra sunk nearly $100,000 into his failed 1973 debut, Bruce Wayne Campbell’s stage name, Jobriath, has served as a music-biz synonym for botched hype. Once poised to be America’s premier glam-rock superstar, the former Hair cast member failed to make any considerable retail impact and ended up living out an obscure existence in New York City before succumbing to AIDS-related illness in the early ’80s. Whether due to the fact the world wasn’t ready for an openly-gay rock star, or because David Bowie was plundering his thunder is anyone’s guess. Less dubious, though, is the quality of the music Sobriety left behind, available here for the first time on CD. Lonely Planet Boy features 15 tracks culled from Jobriath’s two long-out-of-print full-length releases and compiled by none other than long-time fan and advocate, Morrissey (the disc is co-released via Moz’s Attack Records label). The first thing unfamiliar listeners are bound to pick up on is how rich and dramatic Jobriath’s tunes are. The second is the artist’s uncanny similarities to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, both in terms of music and aesthetics. From Jobriath’s voice and phrasing, to his myriad lyrical references to outer space, there’s no denying the commonalities between the two artists. Studio master Eddie Kramer (Hendrix, Led Zeppelin) affords this material an exquisitely dated progressive early-’70s production style that makes this collection that much more of a must-have for any enthusiastic students of rock history. With this great music now digitally liberated, expect the ranks of the cult of Sobriety to swell exponentially. (Sanctuary)