14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Who else but Marc Bolan could pair the above surrealistic couplet with a grindingly sexy chugging guitar riff? It's one of the numerous reasons why the man was so uniquely brilliant and so special to so many.
Here then we have the newly remastered Visconti editions of `Tanx' and `Zinc Alloy', somewhat oddly, released as one deluxe package. Four discs of recordings and a DVD housed in a rather beautiful hardback book containing equally beautiful photographs, brief recording notes from Visconti and new essays by Mark Paytress.
I have noted elsewhere on Amazon that I believe `Tanx' to have been Bolan's last truly great work. Sure, there are tracks from all his subsequent releases which I consider essential for any credible Bolan playlist but, and it's a big but, increasing reliance upon Gloria's warblings and Marc's cod Hendrix multi layered guitar histrionics did little for me I'm afraid. The latter, unfortunately, is all over `Zinc Alloy' an album saved for me by Bolan's superb lyrics and wordplay.
(`Dandy in the underworld' could have been a shining return to form were it not for the Bontempi style seaside organ synths which horribly dominate and now date the majority of the songs. Interestingly, in lyric and in tune, Dandy is a close relative of Bolan's masterwork `The Slider' and I do wonder how it might have sounded if performed by the classic 1972 T.Rex line up with Visconti at the producers helm. That however, is another debate altogether!)
Many in the Bolan community have dismissed this release and see it solely as a profit making exercise largely exploitative of the fans who consistently buy the products.
Whilst it is true that there is nothing on these discs that most Bolan heads will not own already let's not forget that we have here Visconti remasters, warm and detailed in their depth, and of course they come in lush, gorgeous packaging. I myself am very grateful that Bolan's work is given the `deluxe' treatment. The subsequent focus and reappraisals can surely only promote interest in those previously unfamiliar with his unique genius. And hey..... nobody forces you to buy the releases.
Now, can someone give us a box set of live material please! There are numerous concert bootlegs around of reasonable audio quality to these ears. A professional clean up and good quality packaging is what they, and we, deserve!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
I bought Ride A White Swan in 1970. I then bought everything T.Rex had released before and after this amazing single. Was lucky enough to see T.Rex live on three separate UK tours and after Marc Bolan's death continued to buy all posthumous releases. So this review is written by a loyal fan.
We've enjoyed a vast amount of previously unreleased material - possibly the most ever released by any other artist. From the tinny home demos to unreleased masterpieces (Buick Mackane 2, Bolan's Blues etc). However, as fans, we have to face reality. As prolific as Marc was (the Prince of the 1970's) there isn't much unreleased material left. So the commemorative box sets are, in my view, a great way to honour the best works of the genius that is Marc Bolan and give fans the opportunity to hear remastered versions of his recordings. We don't have to buy them. I choose to buy them and I love them.
Tony Visconti was co-architect of the classic T.Rex sound and is the only producer who has the right to re-work or remaster Marc's work. The sound on these new versions is crisp, clear and sounds like it was made yesterday. This is a testament to the timelessness of Bolan's music. I'll only pick one song as an example. Jitterbug Love reveals the various instrumental tracks much clearer than the original. It's a joy for an old fan to listen to. A real joy.
Electric Warrior and The Slider are undoubted classics but Tanx has always been my sentimental favourite album of all time. I listened to this version with the same anticipation as I listened to it the day it was released in 1973. Tanx remains an outstanding album and is still my favourite. The following year I bought Zinc Alloy on it's released date just after seeing the band on the Truck Off tour.
Zinc contains some classics, Liquid Gang, Venus Loon, Sound Pit, Interstellar Soul, Carsmile Smith. However, this was Marc trying too hard and at times he's out of control. The best example of this is Painless Persuasion vs. the Meathawk Immaculate. A potentially great slice of Bolan boogie destroyed by Marc's over singing/shouting. At time's it's almost tuneless. If this had been recorded by the band in 1972 it could have been brilliant. The title seems to be Marc's attempts to give the album a song title to match the contemporary output of bands like Genesis.
As for releasing the albums as a package? I'd have preferred to have separate releases but it's clear that Zinc Alloy is considered less likely to sell. As the releases are aimed at true fans they needn't have worried. Zinc would have sold on it's own.
Would Marc approve? Too right he would. Marc kept tour prices low. Gave us three tracks on singles and added posters to album releases. However, he was a star and he loved being a star. So he'd be more than happy to see his music being released over and over again. He'd be even more chuffed to see his legion of new young fans and, having just seen Dallas Buyers Club, his music being a mainstay of Hollywood movies.
The packaging is superb. The book is a great collection of photos, clippings etc in the same way as the book contained in The Slider Box. I was luck enough to get the special edition Solid Gold Easy Action/The Groover single and have my name printed in the book. This may seem like sentimental tosh but if someone had told me in 1970 as a 12 year old that my name would be printed in a book about T.Rex. I'd have thought, yea right and one day we'll listen to the music on something called MP3 and buy our music from cyberspace!!
Marc Bolan gave me the soundtrack to my life and for that I'm truly thankful.
Boogie On Bolan - wherever you are.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2014
In this big, serious box set the Tanx album is given prominence and comes first in the selection of discs. Though it is a great album, it represents the ‘tail-end’ of the Bolan’s manic fame-phase that lasted from 71-73. It is a rich, startling sound experience, with Bolan’s melodic gifts greatly in evidence. The playing from the members of the original T.REX is superb, ably assisted by saxophonist Howie Casey and Tony Visconti, that many-talented producer and instrumentalist, who contributes mellotron and recorders to the sumptuous mix.
Where Bolan falls down sometimes is in his slavish need to give another hit to the ‘kids’ and many tracks here could easily have been hits: Shock Rock, Country Honey, Rapids and The Street And Babe Shadow could all have be released as singles. In fact the album is expanded with many great singles such as 20th Century Boy and Children Of The Revolution. All of the tracks on this album are without doubt the apex of pop-rock, perfectly produced and performed. The sense of giving up on the fame-game is perhaps most fittingly illustrated by the silly ending to Left Hand Luke And The Beggar Boys, the original album closer. When Bolan, perhaps drunkenly, spits out the final syllable, he unwittingly gives the clear impression that Tanx is a bit of a throwaway collection.
Zinc Alloy, however, is Bolan's greatest album, an album so brimming with confidence and ideas it's almost bursting at the seams, it's his Sgt Pepper, his Smile, his Exile On Main St, and every song is mesmeric. The ferocity of his guitar playing, and it's amazing fluidity and grace makes every song endlessly fascinating. Even shorter, throwaway tracks like Spanish Midnight/Jive To Stay Alive are filled with his superb extemporisation, with vocal and musical inventiveness in abundance.
Some of the tracks hark back to the old T.Rex boogie machine, such as Nameless Wildness and Painless Persuasion Vs The Meathawk Immaculate, other tracks are extremely futuristic and sublime like Sound Pit and Explosive Mouth. Many tracks could have been released as singles, especially opener Venus Loon, despite it's at times gruesome lyrical subject matter. Teenage Dream was the official single, and it is Bolan's Day In The Life, his Good Vibrations, his Life on Mars. The lyrics are verbose and poetic, leaning towards a melancholia only understood by the first rock generation realising that their dream of rock n roll transforming the world into some kind of rebel paradise was never going to happen. Every time I hear the closing track Gardenia (and The Mighty Slug) I am reminded that only Bob Dylan himself every wrote anything remotely as wierd and surreal, whilst at the same time deeply moving.
The only trouble with this Tony Visconti remaster, though it sounds spectacular and beautiful, is he has still repeated the mistake of the Bolan fan club (who reissued the album on cd in the 80s) and included the horrendous 'bootleg'-style ending to Teenage Dream, which did not appear on the original album. On the plus side, he has included Squint Eye Mangle, The Groover, Truck On, Midnight, Blackjack, Sitting Here and Satisfaction Pony as bonus tracks, as Edsel did, but leaving that stupid drunken ending on the end of Bolan's greatest lyrical masterpiece is a crime. C'est la vie, I suppose, he’s the producer and it’s his choice what is used.
The discs of outtakes and demos are revealing and insightful, some very stark versions of the songs, others full-band workouts, and great songs in their own right. The dvd that comes with the set has that great TOTP performance of Teenage Dream, with saxophones instead of strings and some different guitar parts, and is a bit of a treat for all Bolan fans. Marc really belonged on that star.
The notes by Visconti himself are always insightful and I loved seeing his original musical scores reproduced - also, the bieographical journalism by Mark Paytress are really well written and informative. What a great set!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2014
I've been a T. Rex fan since I was 12 and am delighted with the newest remixed and remastered versions of Tanx and Zinc Alloy. No new material, except for DVD showing a home VHS recording from Top of the Pops of Teenage Dream. The presentation is first class with additional sleeve notes and pictures, perhaps it would have been better if the two albums had been presented separately but .............. I hope there are plans afoot to do the same with the rest of the Marc Bolan and T. Rex catalogue.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
Tanx is a great great album which I first bought when it was originally released. Loved it then still love it and really like the improved sound quality to hear even more of the "sound". I've never been taken with the sleeve image and for me it's still a poor selection that devalues the quality of the songs and talent of the artist. The other sleeve images including ZInc Alloy are all really strong so I'd love to understand what the deal is with the Tanx image. Having said all that great songs. Zinc Allloy I think is a very under rated album and as the man said at the time it was a different sound and has some great songs. Personally I would have preferred that they were released individually but no doubt the marketing guys considered and rejected this. Take it we'll be seeing the other gems coming our way?? T.rex always!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2014
The classic T-Rex TANX album needs no introduction: it's fantastic! Bolstered by the brilliant additional singles "20th Century Boy," "Children of The Revolution", and "Solid Gold East Action" - without question - some of the finest singles ever made. However, focusing on 'Zinc Alloy," -- his STAR power fading, Marc and a new, non-glam image complete with extravagant album concept saw the glam-rock King become the soul wizard with 'interstellar soul' aspirations. Space themed imagery - presumably HENDRIX inspired witnessed Marc aim for stratospheric chart action, he failed, except for top 20 # 13 hit "Teenage Dream," but a lack of further recognition deemed the album a clunker. A reappraisal reveals much to admire about the 1974 T-Rex super soul reinvention: it's strangely addictive and a captivating listen > ZINC ALLOY & THE HIDDEN RIDERS OF TOMORROW (A Creamed Cage In August) > is T-Rex's space funk opus and adds SOUL to the bands rock/boogie sound - there's oodles of Bolie magic here to devour -- with Marc channelling hot-funk & gospel/rock! The album finally gets its recognition due to the DEMON Deluxe TANX/ZINC ALLOY CD/DVD Book Set. The standouts: the soul infused "Venus Loon" rocks! The potent backing vocals of Gloria Jones & Pat Hall, aka > the Cosmic Choir on the funked-up "Explosive Mouth" -- soulful hit single "Teenage Dream," and its fabulous gospel/blues ending. Also >"my gang live down the local drain, King Kong built a car inside his brain" -- Marc sings on the outrageously titled, "Gardenia (And The Mighty Slug") -- The King Kong reference a nod to Marc's love of classic cinema. SHAFT and blaxploitation movies were flavour of the month in the early 1970s, and Marc's ZINC ALLOY could have made an interesting movie soundtrack. In addition, the pop hooks of "Interstellar Soul" would have made a great follow up to "Teenage Dream." More standouts: Marc's wah-wah wig-out on The Avengers (Superbad) > Marc took it on from Hendrix: Marc was a huge fan of the Seattle born guitar legend and T-Rex's US mid-seventies tours witnessed Marc's glorious OTT guitar histrionics, a la Hendrix.
More: the personal inflected "Change" is paired back with a subtle bluesy touch. Moreover, there's a veritable treasure-trove of additional treats on a bonus CD, including various demos and singles from the era. Super singles the "Groover" and "Truck On Tyke" - besides more thrilling wah-wah guitar - MIDNIGHT -- and, white-hot funky rock'n'soul on > SATISFACTION PONY ('Teenage Dream' B side), both delicious and particularly pleasing. The addition of Marc's girlfriend, chanteuse Gloria Jones & soul sister Pat Hall add soul power to the spicy mix. Think: a hotter version of the Ikettes & the Blackberries (Humble Pie) > proof indeed that Marc didn't stand still with more than one trick up his sleeve... More: the books magnificent with essays from Tony Visconti and Mark Paytress. There's Stacks of great photos and lyrics and an additional DVD of TV performances. Bowie had success with the soul genre but was he influenced by his pals earlier foray into all things soulified? The chances are he was. Like top shelf brandy there's quality here in abundance with a selection of tasty nuggets. 'Electric Warrior' - the 'Slider' & 'Tanx' are classics and now this excellent TANX/ZINC ALLOY remaster by Tony Visconti adds another fascinating chapter. All things considered > this STUNNING release ticks all the boxes for 1970s, soul-lovin' rock hogs - 10/10.
on 1 June 2015
While I love it, it was a bit odd to couple these 2 albums together. The 40th anniversary editions of T.Rex albums seemed to appear a year too late, so this is a bit of a catch up. Very nice package though and bonus discs have a few unreleased tracks.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2014
There is nothing on offer here that most T.rex fans will not already have. The two albums in my opinion should NEVER have been put together, They are two separate entities, Both able to stand on their own. And why dose the packaging of these re-release deluxe editions all take on different sizes? There seems to be no continuity between them, they are ugly. Poor Marc, I am sure he would hate the way his albums are being put out. And like me see it as a messy, money grabbing exercise.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2014
A bit expensive plus I think Tanx merited a a solo release and lumped together with the inferior Zinc Alloy. This was perhaps the reason for the afore mentioned lumping as Zinc Alloy would probably have not been a profitable product no it's own.
on 1 May 2015
Perfect, thank you.