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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marc at his very best
It is really easy to underestimate A Beard Of Stars particuarly in light of Marc's commercial breakthrough with the albums that follow but this album really does represent Marc at his peak.
There's great beauty within many of these songs - the simplicity of the acoustic sound in addition to the sparing use of electric guitar adds up to a really effective mellow and...
Published on 21 Jun 2005

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I love the album but cant give five stars as I didn't receive the goods
I was going through my reviews and apparently I bought this is April 2012 - if I did I never recieved it that's for sure
Published 7 months ago by Ilpyondanshim


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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marc at his very best, 21 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
It is really easy to underestimate A Beard Of Stars particuarly in light of Marc's commercial breakthrough with the albums that follow but this album really does represent Marc at his peak.
There's great beauty within many of these songs - the simplicity of the acoustic sound in addition to the sparing use of electric guitar adds up to a really effective mellow and intimate feel.
The use of electric adds more variation between the songs than can be found on some Tyrannosaurus Rex previous albums.
There aren't any weak moments on this album - every song has earned the right to be on the album and that includes the couple of instrumentals.
I personally prefer it to Marc's more commercially popular albums (Electric Warrior, The Slider etc). It represents the core of Marc's unique lyrical and musical talent before the commercial sheen was added.
T.Rex were great of course but they were different. Marc in achieving his commercial aspirations made sacrifices.
However successful he became he rarely made music with such emotional purity and simplicity again.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Crop, 6 Jan 2007
By 
L. N. Nixon "nlnxn" (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
This is probably the best of the 21st century Fly reissues simply because it comes with - near enough - a good second album's worth of bonus cuts including some gems; 'Find a Little Wood' and 'Once Upon the Seas of Abyssinia'. This is right on the borderline between the fantasy folk and the rock n roll periods and the moods and ideas collide to make this an enchanting collection. Having already bought it on vinyl, tape and the earlier CD I'm still glad I got this collection.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Elf at His Apotheosis, 23 Oct 2007
This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
If, like me, the early Tyrannosaurus Rex LPs were the real-time soundtrack to your tie-dyed youth, you may remember how "A Beard of Stars" divided the band's fanbase: hard to imagine in these po-mo mix `n match times, but droves of sandle-shod freaks were outraged that their underground "progressive" band had embraced (whisper it, softly) POP! With its shorter songs, catchier melodies and electric riffs, "Beard" smelt to them of "sell-out".

Bare months before its release, Bolan had sacked Steve Took, his partner of three albums, during sessions that would yield several tracks intended for the new album. (One of the joys of this reissue is its inclusion of these lost gems, most noticeably, "Find a Little Wood" and "Once Upon The Seas of Abyssinia") Took, unlike Bolan, was a genuine, acid-dropping hippie who provided the band's link to the W11 Freak Scene. His less-than-amicable departure certainly lost Bolan support, but his "underground" following was, in any case, fading along with the last blooms of Flower Power. A deceptively canny study, Bolan drafted in an easier-going, if less virtuoso, side-man in Mickey Finn. Finn played broadly the same range of instruments as Took and, with the addition of a beard, he even resembled his predecessor physically: "The kid's `ll never notice the difference!" exulted Bolan.

"A Beard of Stars" cemented and reflected the new dynamic perfectly. Gone are the lyrical excesses of the preceding albums, replaced with simpler, more direct poetry that retains its preoccupation with classical mythology and Tolkienesque legend, but does so in simpler words and sweeter melodies. (Even die-hard disciples had to admit that The Elf's earlier flights into Edward Lear Land could grate painfully on the ear: producing a rhyme for "Stonehenge" by the expedient of inventing a mythical serpent called a "clenge" might be permissible once or twice; to scatter neologisms until the lyrics read like an Esperanto shopping list, smacks of desperation.)

The new maturity in Bolan's craft becomes apparent even before the disc is spun. Compare and contrast these ungainly lines from the lyric sheets preceding "Unicorn" LP:

Of the misty coast of Albany
With its charm
Pining pillar of the wild willows end
Womanly waiting
For your manly friend.

To the simple radiance of "Beard"'s opener, "A Day Laye":

Every Dawn of our lives
A Heart is forged
And liked with Lore to one so similar
Born with life-dust
Stored beneath its Soul
To bless and pass on to its Children

"ABOS" is loaded with similar gems. The lucid stanzas of "Organ Blues" would surely please Haiku-Master, Basho:

Well there's Gold in the Mountains
And a People living in the Sea

This new purity of approach illuminates every track, sometimes to transcendental effect. "Lofty Skies" captures a moment of epiphany between two lovers; "Fist Heart, Mighty Dawn Dart" an Ur-Rex foray into grandiose mythology displays a new urgency, propelled by pounding percussion and multi-tracked handclaps, while the original LP's closer, "Elemental Child" is a joyous six-minutes of alliterative nonsense that catches Bolan's wide-eyed delight at his rediscovery of the electric guitar at the moment it happened, and features some of his best Buddy Holly yips and hiccups into the bargain. If your cup of joy ain't overflowing by now, you shouldn't have bought this record in the first place: you just ain't worthy.

So say it loud, "A Beard of Stars" is Tyrannosaurus Rex at the peak of their form, a collection of songs and sounds fit to stand beside the so-called "Classic Albums" of the period, and many times more enjoyable generation or so later: have you actually tried listening to "Disraeli Gears" or the Floyd's "Piper" all the way through lately? Of course not; they sound atrocious.

The expanded, re-mastered CD package offers these timeless songs in clear, tactile sound with extra tracks, rare band photos, lyrics and more. You won't buy many records this year that will still delight and surprise you in a year's time, let alone a generation's time. This will, I promise.

Peter Johnson,
King of Kidlington,
Overlord of Oxford,
Scourge of the Universe,
King of the Rumbling Spires
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woodland Bop, 19 Nov 2004
By 
Michael F. Maloney "Michaelfm" (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
With much of "A Beard of Stars " already recorded before Mickey Finn arrived on the scene this album is very much a Marc Bolan and Tony Visconti collaboration. Mickey shouldn't be undervalued though, his contributions are simple, restrained and effective. Steve Peregrin Tooks unique and wonderfull vocal and percussion, that reached it's peak on "Unicorn", is largely compensated for by Marcs electric guitars and the use of bass guitar and organ, a Woolworths childrens one by all accounts. Mickeys percussion and vocals are kept very low key and simple on the finished product so it's especially interesting to hear the bonus tracks. Songs such as "Organ Blues" started out with much more going on and then were simplified .. refined . "A Beard of Stars" is an adventure of sound with instrumentation that really is unique and some lovely romantic and yearning lyrics such as "Lofty Skies" and "Lofty Skies". Things get boppier with "Pavilions of Sun" ... and when the bass comes in on "Elemental Child", well the album is worth listening to for that moment alone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transitional Bolan, 16 April 2009
By 
John F (Staffordshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
I remember hearing a Tyrannosaurus Rex compilation in the mid 70s and thinking how much better this early material was compared to Marc Bolan's glam rock output. Although the songs are stonger on 'Unicorn' there is some gorgeous electric guitar on this album. 'Great Horse' and 'Lofty Skies' sound like folk music from another planet while 'Elemental Child' is an impressive Jimi Hendrix-style jam.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality product!, 20 July 2010
This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
The forth album to be released by the rather wonderful Tyrannosaurus Rex and the first with Mickey Finn replacing Steve Peregrine Took.
This 2004 expanded edition is superb with loads of alternative takes, great pics, lyrics and an outer sleeve.
Wow!
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost genius., 27 Mar 2007
This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
amount of tracks(not including bonus tracks):14
excellent:9
v.good:1
good:2
fair:2
poor:0

in the annals of music history there are five songwriters/songwriting teams from the uk who reign supreme. bowie,lennon/mccartney,davies,jagger/richard, and marc bolan (with roy wood and donovan close behind) bolan, however , eclipsed them all (even bowie) with the inventiveness and downright strangeness of his lyrics and melodies. never has there been a talent more under-rated than marc bolan. so many people only know him only for his chart hits (which were all FANTASTIC slices of pop rock by the way), and are completely unaware of the incredible diversity of this mans work, not only on the first four epic t.rex albums , but also on the otherworldly four TYRANNOSAURUS rex albums - this one, a beard of stars, being the very best.
ok....his lyrics ARE strange, out dylan-ing dylan with ease, but its not so much the wordplay as the quite incredible melodies and hooklines that are present within every song that are really something special, along with a voice that sounds like no one else before or since. in fact, NO ACT has ever come close to sounding like any of bolans projects. its very significant that bands tend to steer clear of covering his songs. of those that have attempted, ALL have failed!
But back to this album, its a quite extraordanary trip, ranging from the totally off the wall to exquistive peons to love such as 'dove' (surely one of the purest and most heart wrenching songs ever recorded) the highlights here are so many that im not even gonna bother listing them. suffice to say that this album, along with the other 3 tyrannosaurus rex and first 4 t.rex albums, are absolutely indispensible peices of masterwork. my only complaint here is that theres an inferior version of 'once upon the seas of abyssenia' included as a bonus. theres 3 or 4 versions of this song about, my advice would be keep looking until you find the definitive one - youll know it when you do!
marc - rock on brother, not everyone out here has a short memory. this day and age with the sad state everythings in, maybe youll never gain the recognition you deserve. but there'll always be some of us out here who KNOW the truth
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of an era, 11 Dec 2012
By 
K. O'CARROLL "kevoc" (Helensburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
After the brilliant "Unicorn" the signs were on the wall that Bolan had an inkling for change, and this is the delightful result. For a start, Steve Took had left and was replaced by Mickey Finn. Also gone was the sometimes chaotic but brilliant percussive work which Took supplied, and the general sound was more electric. Bolans not-inconsiderable skill as a guitarist was in evidence here, and showcased particularly on "Elemental Child" (possibly a reference to the failing relationship with June). "By the light of a magical moon" was released as a single, but failed to ignite the charts, although it did provide most of us with a hint of what was to come. The album (and the abbreviated name) pointed the way to a much more commercialised version T.Rex, greatly appealing to the masses of teenybopper fans of the burgeoning era of glitter and glam rock. Sadly, in my view, this was Bolan's swansong - the later stuff wasn't a patch on this. As with "Unicorn", the bonus tracks are fine, interesting but not startling, but worth having. Overall - a brilliant album which should be on everyone's music shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stars in my beard!, 27 Sep 2012
By 
Graham Spafford (newcastle under lyme Staffordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
Bolan fans well you have to buy, this is one of my fave albums by marc,
i love the cover pic and the songs from this cd are as fresh as the day they where recorded, a very slick album full on very magical songs from marc& micky finn,
elemental child dove by the light of the magical moon and loads more to get your teeth into, with all the demo work in ro extra tracks its a great cd to hear
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another must have., 30 Dec 2011
This review is from: A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] (Audio CD)
Another fan must have, this time with the band change for Mickey Finn. The feel of the albums are starting to get to where we all know and love.
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A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition]
A Beard of Stars [Expanded Edition] by Marc Bolan & T Rex (Audio CD - 2011)
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