Monday, 10 October 2016

"T. Rex: Deluxe Edition" by T. REX [Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn] (2014 Universal/A&M 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' Reissue - Sean Magee Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Jewels Upon Her Lips..."

In May 1970 - Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn were still TYRANNOSAURUS REX for "Beard Of Stars" (their fourth platter under that Jurassic band name). But by the release of their self-titled fifth LP in December of that same year – the dynamic Hippy-Folk duo had wisely shortened it to T. REX and began to 'Bolan Boogie' for real. And that's where this uplifting yet oddly infuriating Universal 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' comes in.

The December 1970 album "T. Rex" was Marc Bolan going Electric – itching to rock 'n' roll your daughter and wear spangly stuff in his hair on Thursday night's 'Top Of The Pops'. And followed by the brilliant and uber-catchy "Ride A White Swan" 7" single in October 1970 – the tail end of 1970 really was the first time the British Public began to sit up and notice a genuine Pop Star in their midst. "...Wear your hair long baby..." as Bolan urged in the lyrics. Let's get to the details and the jewels on his lips...

UK released March 2014 - "T. Rex: Deluxe Edition" by T. REX on Universal/A&M 534 732-2 (Barcode 600753473221) is a 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' Remaster and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (58:34 minutes):
The Original Album
1. The Children Of Rarn
2. Jewel
3. The Visit
4. Childe
5. The Time Of Love Is Now
6. Diamond Meadows
7. Root Of Star
8. Beltane Walk
9. Is It Love?
10. One Inch Rock
11. Summer Deep
12. Seagull Woman
13. Suneye
14. The Wizard
15. The Children Of Rarn
Tracks 1 to 15 are their fifth album (first as T. Rex) "T. Rex" - released 18 December 1970 in the UK on Fly Records HIFLY 2 and in the USA on Reprise RS 6440

16. Ride A White Swan - 1st single as T. Rex - 9 October 1970 UK 7" single on Fly Records BUG 1, Non-Album Track, A-side
17. Summertime Blues - Non-Album Track, 2nd B-side to "Ride A White Swan" - the LP track "Is It Love?" was Track 1 on the B-side
18. Jewel - BBC Radio One, Top Gear, Recorded 26 Oct 1970, Broadcast 7 Nov 1970
19. Woodland Bop Medley (i) Woodland Bop (ii) Conesuala (iii) The King Of The Mountain Cometh (iv) Woodland Bop
BBC Radio, John Peel's Sunday Concert, 20 Dec 1970
20. Beltane Walk - Backing Track, Mixed For BBC Radio One Club, 29 March 1971 (prepared on 2 March 1970)
21. Summertime Blues - BBC Radio One, Dave Lee Travis Show, 9 December 1970

Disc 2 (59:36 minutes):
1. The Children Of Rarn Suite
2. Jewel (Alternate Take)
3. The Visit (Alternate Take)
4. The Time Of Love Is Now (Alternate Take)
5. Diamond Meadows (Alternate Take)
6. Root Of Star (Alternate Take)
7. Beltane Walk (Alternate Take)
8. Is It Love? (Alternate Take)
10. Summer Deep (Alternate Take)
11. Seagull Woman (Alternate Take)
12. Suneye (BBC Radio One, Top Gear, 26 Oct 1970)
13. The Wizard (Alternate Take)
14. The Children Of Rarn (Take 6)
15. Ride A White Swan (Mono) - BBC TV, Top Of The Pops, 12 November 1970
16. Dark Lipped Woman (Home Demo)
17. Deep Summer (Alternate Take)
18. Meadows Of The Sea (Electric Demo)
All PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED except Tracks 1 and 12

The four inner flaps of the gatefold card digipak are filled with repro's of NME reviews, Fly Records promotional leaflets and sepia-tinted photos of MARC BOLAN and MICKEY FINN. The original British LP came with a die-cut front sleeve where the colour photo of the two on the front would come away from the cover and is pictured on the front of the jam-packed 24-page booklet. CLIVE JONES conceived, compiled and did the Tape Research - co-ordinating his extensive efforts with JOE BLACK at Hey Joe! and NIGEL LEES at Thurderwing Productions. MARK PAYTRESS - former leading light at the Record Collector Magazine well known worldwide authority on all things Marc Bolan did the hugely detailed liner notes. They’re peppered with a large number of unseen photos, memorabilia, the lyrics and a repro of a rare "Ride A White Swan" picture sleeve. SEAN MAGEE did the mastering at Abbey Road Studios using original tapes and the Audio is different to Gary Moore's version from 2004 for the single disc reissue that came in a card slipcase. There's wonderful clarity on this new go-round of familiar material.

I'd love to state categorically that "T. Rex" is an undiscovered masterpiece - even as a fan I couldn't say that with a straight face. After a 53-second intro in "The Children Of Rarn" (the final version also under the same name is 36-seconds) - we soon get down to something way more Funky-Rock - the wickedly good "Jewel" - a nasty groove that's still exciting to me - especially that grungy sound he gets and that wild ending. That promising start is followed by five Folkies - "The Visit", "Childe" and "The Time Of Love Is Now" amongst them - those warbling acoustic strums a little clearer. It's not until we reach "Beltane Walk" does that 'commercial' T. Rex start to register and I've always loved "Is It Love?" - another clever groover. But the side and even the whole album is dominated by the nine-minute new Rex sound of "The Wizard". The "...what's it called Marc?" dialogue that preceded the 'studio chatter' version of "Ride A White Swan" along with "Poem", Take 4 of "The Visit" and the Alternate Take of "One Inch Rock" that tail-ended the 2004 Remaster are oddly absent - replaced with BBC stuff - the best of which for me is their great cover of Cochran's "Summertime Blues". Amidst Disc 2's rarities - the fifteen and a half minute version of "The Children Of Rarn" is hard to take in one swallow but that "Dark Lipped Woman" demo is fascinating as is the Electric demo of "Meadows Of The Sea".

The precursor to "Electric Warrior" in September 1971 – "T. Rex" had that hangover Tyrannosaurus material that Bolan did well to ditch. So it’s a transitional album and has always suffered from that. In fact I’d argue that the now forgotten British compilation LP "Bolan Boogie" from May 1972 (a UK No. 1) was the LP "T. Rex" wanted to be all along but just never got there.

Still there’s much to love and even though it may cost you a wee bit more than its initial LP price of 42s 5d - this T. REX 'DE' has wickedly good audio and transitional stuff worth shelling out on...

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