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36
4.7 out of 5 stars
Tanx
Format: Audio CDChange
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2013
I purchased this thinking I was getting the version with the extras; turns out it was the standard album, but bereft of the singles T.Rex released in '73 doesn't diminish 'Tanx'; if anything, it makes the listener realise how the singles-buyers of the era were only being exposed to one side of Bolan. Don't get me wrong - '20th Century Boy', 'The Groover' and (to a lesser degree) 'Truck On (Tyke)' - are all corking 45s, but they would have seemed a little out of place on this album. If only Bolan had released the sublime 'Broken-Hearted Blues' as a single in the summer of '73, perhaps those whose soundtrack was solely centred on TOTP could have been made aware there was more to T.Rex than the Glamtastic grooves that the most schizophrenic year of Bolan's career is generally remembered for.
'Tanx' largely eschews the rockier material prevalent on 'The Slider' and often drifts into a neo-psychedelic MOR (if there could be such a thing); it has a dreamy, laidback and occasionally melancholy vibe to it that sounds like Bolan searching for a sound that could jettison him from the Glam bandwagon that was picking up too many hitch-hikers to keep driving in a straight line for much longer. It offers several possibilities as to where his career could have gone next, but hindsight bestows it with a rather sad full stop. We know he never scaled these heights again and was to never return to the top ten in his lifetime. If you want the hits, buy a 'best of', if you want proof he could make albums packed with tracks as good as the hits, buy 'Electric Warrior' and 'The Slider'; but if you want to hear a string of the Marc Bolan bow that surprisingly few realise he had, buy this and complete the set!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2014
Today when rock music is so mainstream, corporate and omnipresent, it is hard to imagine the controversy when Marc Bolan switched from underground, counter culture, acid folk mystic - The National Elf - to seek commercial acclaim. There was a great deal of animosity aimed at him for 'selling out' and, to a degree, this dogged him for the rest of his career. This is relevant to Tanx because it was Bolan's attempt to create a fuller, more mature sound with girl backing singers, horns and mellotron to create an album which he hoped would have a wider, more adult appeal and gain him respect from "The Heads" while keeping his new young audience on board. At the time the music press were divided about Tanx - the puerile cover did not help - but could not write it off because it is a great album, although some tracks lack his usual sharp focus as Bolan's work rate and use of stimulants started to take their toll. However, like so much of Marc Bolan's work, Tanx has got even better in the decades since it was released as people appreciate how unique, fun and timeless his sound was. This is the only post Hot Love album not to contain a single and it does not need one because it is a great selection of songs including Tenement Lady, Rapids, Mister Mister, The Street and Babe Shadow, Electric Slim And The Factory Hen, the brilliant Country Honey, Born To Boogie and the wonderful Broken Hearted Blues. If you are starting out exploring Marc Bolan's music, this is the last of the first four T. Rex albums to offer an easy starting point. From now on it was largely down hill critically and commercially until March 1977 but, for those who stayed with him through the dark years, some of his most exciting music was to follow. Like all the most recent re=issues this comes with great packaging, sleeve notes by Bolan biographer, Mark Paytress and a bonus disc of largely fascinating material.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2014
Firstly, the downsides. Puerile cover and poster shot, pointless 'Shock Rock' track, throwaway lyrics on Mad Donna....and that's about it really. Following on the consumate pop and sumptuous production of 'The Slider', 'Tanx' was a stripped back, progressive, and yet retrospective, T.Rex album. The strings, Flo & Eddie, and multi layered guitar tracks were left behind, replaced by a basic three piece rock and roll backing embellished only by piano, mellotron, and sax. Obviously more rushed and cheaper, and consequently more immediate and urgent, than it's esteemed predecessor,'Tanx' focused much less on the 'I' and returned to the observational and storytelling style of The Tyrannosaurus Rex canon...moreover there were no singles included, whilst Marc's vocals were on occasion almost as wierd as 1968, and the inspired piano ramblings on 'Mister Mister' and 'Left Hand Luke' recall Steve Took's wonderful percussive and vocal contributions to the first three albums. At the same time the album offers a glimpse of a potentially sustained and developing art....'Born To Boogie' (perhaps the last great T.Rex b-side?) and 'Country Honey' maintain the mighty boogie of '71 & '72, 'Life Is Strange' remain's enchanting, and a clutch of tracks (the under rated 'Mister Mister' among them, but more specifically 'Babe Shadow', 'Broken Hearted Blues' and the epic (if vocally slightly overwrought) 'Left Hand Look') point the way to a soulful cosmic plateau in waiting. 'Tanx' may well then be the album where Bolan takes a step back from being a pop star and attempts to redefine and redirect his carreer onto a new artistic path...the accompanying '20th Century Boy'' single, much more expansive and substantial than those from 1972, suggests the same, but the b-side, the ineffectual and cheap 'Free Angel', also suggests that Bolan was not always prepared to invest the effort, time, or cash to remain on top of his game. Hence the tacky cover playing at being a pop star, which goes someway to undermine the very valid musical worth contained within the record grooves? In short, 'Tanx' was good, but not strong enough bring back the 'old' fans who had drifted away as Marc play acted on TOTP's, or the 'new' fans who jumped on in 1971 but fell off again when they bought the re-released 'My People' /'Prophets' mid '72 and thought wtf!!!, and by March '73 Bolan had probably become too passé to generate enough interest to bring aboard new fans. As an artistic endeavour however, it continues to mature with age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2009
This is the last great T.rex album of its genre, released at a time when the bands popularity had just started to wane slightly. Nevertheless it is still a great album with a more fuller sound and some classic tracks, the opening track tenement lady starts off at full pace and glides into a more subtle haunting middle and end. The album includes born to boogie a great little bopper and the street and babe shadow a repetitive but catchy track which includes a great saxophone accompaniment.
This is not the same sort of album in feel and sound as electric warrior or the slider but makes great listening for any bolan fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2003
This is something of a transitional album between the traditional T.Rex sound of the Slider and the experimentation of Zinc Alloy. A wider range of sounds, arrangements and instruments are used than on previous albums, with the mellotron, piano and saxophones being well up in the mix. The album contains some great tracks such as Tenement Lady with Bolan at his warbling best, the seemingly out of key Broken Hearted Blues, the magnificent Electric Slim, the sax fuelled Street and Babe Shadow and imploring Highway Knees. The gospel-tinged Lefthand Luke is one of Bolan's longest tracks and a bit over sincere. On the down side there are several tracks which are Bolan-by-numbers and frankly irritating, in particular Country Honey, Shock Rock and Mad Donna. Had the original album contained the brilliant singles Children of the Revolution and 20th Century Boy as well as the some their b-sides, such as Free Angel and Jitterbug Love, instead of the aforementioned tracks, this album would have been up there with Electric Warrior and the Slider. As this album contains all these and more as bonus tracks, you can pre-programme your own perfect Tanx!Tanx
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2015
Produced at the height of Bolan's commercial success this has never had the acclaim of Electric Warrior or the Slider. But there's some pretty good stuff on here and the original release had no singles on it which may be why it's got overlooked in later years. A weird cover (it was the early 70s) but quite a bit of soul and blues fused with the rock of the time and even a nod to what we'd come to call funk. Enough on here to remind us that Bolan was a true innovator and merited the monicker genius. Sadly missed.
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on 15 November 2012
Tanx is a very strange album indeed. Firstly - the production. As with its three pre-decessors, visconti turns in a beautiful job here, and this fine re-master makes it even richer

The songs - a very eclectic mix. The highlights are 'tenement lady' 'highway knees' and 'electric slim' - all three up there with the very best bolan material. whats compelling about these songs in particular is the desperate sense of sadness that underpins them. A definate sense of melancholy that perhaps was a sense of the downtimes that were soon coming for marc. 'country honey' and 'shock rock' are both very short songs that have an unfinished feel about them and thats a shame because they never get the chance to spread their wings and they feel like they need to. 'broken hearted blues' is a very nice ballad. 'Street and babe shadow' is quite unusual and has a very nice sax line which was surely borrowed by x ray spex in their song 'oh bondage up yours' some years later? The rest are all very catchy numbers with the exception of 'left hand luke' which is clumsy and directionless

another essential t.rex album then and the last of bolan at the top of his game
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on 19 January 2011
Most people rave about The Slider and Electric Warrior, I personally think this album was in par with the latter, and was a major improvement on the The Slider. Marc turned a corner with Tanx, he started to mature, with a reduction in the Glam theme, Born to Boogie, Shock Rock, Mad Donna and Country Honey, being the only Glam tracks.The rest of the album was more sophisticated mix of soul and blues, which brought the best out of Bolan writing, tracks like Electric Slim and the Factory Hen,Tenement Lady, Rapids, to name a few are brilliant, however the last track on the album Left Hand Luke, is my favourite Bolan penned song ever, from the first chord to the last it sucks you in as the tempo rises and suddenly falls at the end, classic. Like the Slider this failed to hit the no 1 spot, and stalled at no 4, but given no hit singles came off this album, then if at the time 20th Century Boy Solid Gold Easy Action and Children of the Revolution, had of been included this would have made no 1, and would have been seen as the classic album that it was
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on 9 June 2013
I purchased the record as a teenager and found it sonically amazing. In recent years I have come to realise the unwritten extra member of TREX was Tony Visconti. Its obvious that on this record he tried to weave a little different sound into this album. I still rate it as one of the best produced TREX Albums ever and as DB found out you can't beat a bit of TV.

The CD looses little of its warmth over the Vinyl - I'm still going to say I prefer the original Vinyl but this is 99% near damn perfect. If you only buy three Bolan Albums you need a Electric Warrior , the Slider and then Tanx . It will probably leave you wanting more and you'll buy ZincAlloy next... A hidden gem or maybe his last long player Dandy in the Underworld , which some say was a return to form. Get ELectric Warrior, the Slider and Tanx and you have Bolan in full flight, fully on form. A master of the 3 minute pop song. Ke EP a little Marc in your heart
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on 4 December 2014
I am a huge Marc Bolan fan and have had all of his albums since I was a kid but wanted to get some of the expanded editions that have been released over the last few years. Tanx seems to be a little bit tired compared to The Slider and Electric Warrior. There are still some great tracks here, I especially like Country Honey and Electric Slim And The Factory Hen but elsewhere it can be a bit 'T.Rex by numbers'. Like The Beatles, Marc would often leave his hit singles off his albums but you have got all of the late '72 and '73 hits included here including 20th Century Boy, Children Of The Revolution and the wonderful Sunken Rags. There are loads of bonus tracks included that are really interesting and the packaging and sleeve notes are first class.
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