on 7 October 2007
The first T.Rex album following the shortening of the Tyrannosaurus Rex name & the second electric album following on from "Beard Of Stars".
This is a wonderful, beautiful record, which holds on to elements of the Tyrannosaurus Rex material but hints at the metamorphosis into the glam rock, T.Rex.Marc's vocals on this record are stunning & the arrangements are superb.
This always feels to me like one of Marc's most intimate records & the sound is beautiful. This is a record that built the foundation for the stardom to come & is one of the most (in my opinion) under rated records ever made by a man, who himself ,is much under valued in the annals of British music history.
This record is one of a number of Bolan's albums which showcase the diversity of which he was capable,sadly this is often ignored.
My advice - buy,buy,buy !!
on 6 September 2005
The album sits, somewhat uncomfortably, between the last Tyrannosaurus Rex album, 'Beard of Stars' and the T.Rex rocker 'Electric Warrior'. As such, it is difficult to describe. Certainly the production is far more polished than 'Beard' but, at the same time, many of the tracks are rather sparse and intimate. However, taken on its own merits, rather than in comparison to, this is a great album. I particularly like the softer songs 'The Visit', 'The Time of Love is Now', 'Root of Star' and 'Suneye'. Bolan's lyrics are much clearer than the earlier stuff. On the downside, I don't like either of the re-worked tracks 'One Inch Rock' or 'The Wizard' (far too long). Also, what has happened to the beginning of 'Childe'? Numerous bonus tracks are included on this re-master - 'Ride a White Swan' plus its b-side, the definitive version of 'Summertime Blues', make it worthwhile. I am however unconvinced that the re-mastered version here sounds that great (it's all a bit hard and congested compared to the old vinyl, especially 'Swan' - although this sounds equally poor on the boxed set). If you're new to Bolan, this probably isn't the best place to start - it's not a 'pop' album. But it is an essential album, its highlights being some of the best songs Bolan ever wrote.
on 2 November 2004
Though this is the first T.Rex album for all intents and purposes it was actually the last Tyrannosaurus Rex album. In sound and theme it could be called "T.REX" by Tyrannosaurus Rex and continues in the mood of "A Beard of Stars" and "Unicorn", an inspired mix of electric and acoustic instrumentation thats bops rather than boogies. The packaging and presentation of this whole series of releases is flawless, an immaculate collection that finally does does justice to Marcs early work. Of the tracks on this album "Jewel" is awesome, "Childe" pure magic and "The Wizard" a multi instrumental workout of epic proportions where Marc lets loose his favourite instrument, his voice. The extra tracks include a poem, some studio banter, alternative takes and the last Tyrannosaurus ... well first T.Rex single "Ride a White Swan".
on 23 May 2001
i owned this album many years ago and feared as always it wouldnt replay well at all, but what a contradiction,i found this album delicious! tracks like beltane walk,and diamond meadows are among the finest stuff bolan put on record this is the real uncommercialised bolan material lots of meaty gibson guitar licks and you thought he only knew 3 chords! well give this a hearing!!!
on 6 October 2003
I discovered T.Rex in 1971, like most people did at that time. It started with Electric Warrior, then you scrolled back along Marc Bolan's career.While Tyrannosaurus Rex was a homespun group, usuing chairlegs, penny whistles and suchlike, this album marked a halfway house between hippydom and stardom. But there are some real gems here - Children of Rarn has achieved almost hymn-like status among Bolan disciples, and Beltane Walk points the direction in which the corkscrew-haired one was going. Diamond Meadows and Jewel are both classic Bolan tracks. Overall, this album may not have the commercial appeal of say, Slider or Tanx, but after the Warrior, it is Bolan's most endearing work.
on 15 November 2012
A complaint by a reviewer about the track 'childe' being chopped on this re-master is justified and its a mystery as to why it happened. Aside from that this a wonderful re-master of this milestone album which saw marc make the transition from tyrannosaurus to t.rex
However its evident that he was still testing the water here. most of this album has its feet in tyrannosaurus rex waters, especially the very confused and scrappy 'the wizard' which could have been lifted off of any of the 4 tyrannosaurus rex albums. It starts with a curious peice 'children of rarn' which is another tyrannosaurus moment - then however it explodes into 'jewel' my favourite track on the album and one of the heaviest tunes marc put onto vinyl. Alas, jewel remains the only rock out track here. The rest is mostly gentle ballads, again very tyrannosaurus rex based but with clearer vocals. Aside from that there two great bolan boogie numbers 'beltane walk' and 'one inch rock' an old tyrannosaurus track revamped and dusted down which was surely the inspiration for ray dorset and mungo jerry!
A great album, full of many colours and contrasts. still not the full blown t.rex we saw next on electric warrior, but a very interesting transition peice indeed
on 28 November 2002
I'd lent this album out to a girl in 1973 and never got it back! So buying this album on CD 22 years later, i was amazed at just how great it sounded after all these years, and reminded me of just how great Bolan was, in a time just before he released his classic album "Electric Warrior"
Here, you hear Bolan at his creative best, with songs like Jewel, Wizard, and Diamond Meadows showing a man on the verge of becoming a huge Star.
The album has a glorious atmosphere to it, conjouring up images of Goblins, Elves and Wizards that seemed to be a great fascination with Bolan at that time.
If you have a curiosity with what T.Rex and Bolan was all about, then treat youself to an album that is a very fine example of Bolan at his greatest.
on 3 May 2014
The last Tyrannosaurus Rex Album – Beard of Stars – and the first, eponymously named, album of the newly abbreviated T.Rex are very much a pair. Stylistically similar they both feature Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn as a duo; Bolan’s previous musical collaborator, Steve Peregrin Took, having departed after a less than wildly successful 1969 US tour. Together they also mark a transition from the shimmering and whimsical, acoustic psychedelia of the first three Tyrannosaurus Rex albums, to the highly polished “Glam Rock” sound of Electric Warrior and The Slider; performed by an expanded, four piece T.Rex.
By the summer of 1969 multi coloured paisley and psychedelia was giving way to faded denim and hard rock/blues. To some extent, these albums reflect that shift: although gifted with more imagination than virtuosity, Marc Bolan’s next step was not going to be the obvious one. All the same while they are still laced with Bolan’s personal (and borrowed) mythology, most of the tracks on A Beard of Stars and T.Rex feature an electric guitar and are palpably Rock music. T.Rex also includes – for the first time – the string arrangements, scored by producer Tony Visconti, and the backing Vocals of Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (of The Turtles fame); that would become an integral part of the classic T.Rex sound.
As someone who has loved these albums for decades, I would give them both five stars each as LPs. However, I am actually reviewing these particular CD releases so different criteria will result in different scores.
With their range of two disc Deluxe Editions, Universal Music seems to be reworking through its (now very extensive) back catalogue; tagging on bonus discs to supplement, often already re-released and re-mastered, CDs. These bonus discs are of varying quality. In some instances, such as The Who Live at Leeds, they result in a package of outstanding quality where the bonus disc seems to have been simply missing from all previous releases. This is not the case here – and I speak as a Bolan fan.
Both A Beard of Stars and T.Rex, along with the previous three albums, were re-mastered and released back in 2004 as single disc “Expanded Editions”. Both of those previous releases had a handful of extra tracks, following the original running order.
While 2004’s Expanded A Beard of Stars oddly lacked the Single B-side (Find a Little Wood) sensibly included on the Deluxe Edition, it did include a wealth of fascinating alternative takes. These particular tracks are not present on the Deluxe Edition. There are a few other interesting, previously unreleased, alternative takes on it though. However the rest of the extra material comprises of a BBC session (which I already have) and 18 home demos which at best can be described as of historical interest only.
Both the Expanded and Deluxe version of T.Rex logically include the single Ride a White Swan and it’s B-side, Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues (which I think is better than The Who’s version, by the way). Although the Deluxe version also has a clutch of BBC session tracks, which again I already have, the bulk of the extra material are good quality alternative takes. The other item of interest, included, is the original unaccompanied Children of Rarn Suite demo. Recorded in Tony Visconti’s living room, as a sketch for a proposed concept album, it is far superior to Bolan’s home demos. This long track, comprising of several songs, first appeared in 1978 on a memorial compilation; when Visconti had added backing tracks and various studio wizardry to give the piece a fuller, late Tyrannosaurus Rex / early T.Rex sound. I really loved that enhanced version and feel it is a shame that it was not included instead.
Although a diehard like me will always be prepared to pay slightly over the odds to hear stuff I have never heard before, I would resent it less if the material was compiled more logically. I would have been happier (and happier to pay a little bit more) if both albums had included all the contemporaneous A-sides and B-sides and all the alternative studio takes, in order for them to be truly definitive. The home demos could always be put out separately. I might even buy them too. Might.
However given that the same re-masters are now available at half the price, in their one disc incarnations, these two disc Deluxe Editions are not great value.
For the vast majority of music lovers, wanting to hear these albums, the cheaper Expanded Edition versions are the five star choices.
These Deluxe Editions do get an extra star each, than they other wise would have, for their great packaging and extensive notes by Bolan expert and biographer, Mark Paytress.
on 18 November 2004
This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I am Horrified that a key track on this 2004 remaster, Childe (track 4), has several seconds chopped off the beginning of the track. I have the LP and prior CD issues of this album and this CD is the only one that has the truncated intro. This album deserves better treatment than this. Universal should be ashamed.
on 10 November 2004
This magical album for Marc Bolan and his newly christened band T. Rex is a wonderful timepiece from the 1970's. It is the perfect mix of Bolan's fanciful imagination, his lyrical poetry, and producer Tony Visconti's string arrangements. It would be the album that launched the T. Rex craze in Britain for the next three years.
The "T. Rex" album marked the transition from Bolan's gentle Tolkien inspired Tyrannosaurus Rex acoustic days to the Electric Warrior, the king of fashion conscious, mascara heavy Glam Rock. Many early fans were quite disappointed with the change, as their homegrown favorite had now become the darling of the teenage set. The single "Ride a White Swan" from this time (that should be included on this CD) paved the way for the T. Rex hit machine, and was a staple in Bolan's live set until his all-too-early death in 1977. It was a huge hit in the UK and has been covered numerous times since Bolan's death.
The album opens with the short intro "The Children Of Rarn," Bolan's own piece of mythology that bridges the divide between Tyrannosaurus Rex to T. Rex beautifully. Interestingly enough, Marc had created a whole 20 minute piece around this track ("The Children of Rarn Suite") that didn't see the light of day until Tony Visconti released a version back in 1978. It could have been a wonderful concept piece. The songs that follow on the album are simply beautiful works of poetry set to music. Highlights are "Jewel," "The Visit," "Summer Deep," and "Diamond Meadows" (most recently heard in the movie "Velvet Goldmine").
While each T. Rex album is near and dear to my heart, this probably isn't the best place to start if you're interested in Marc Bolan and his band. The album of choice for a starting point would be "Electric Warrior," followed by "The Slider," then this album. Once you're under Bolan's spell, you're hooked!