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My Favorite T. Rex Album,
This review is from: Tanx (Audio CD)
This album to me represents the last great T. Rex album. This was Marc Bolan's attempt at breaking big in America after having conquered the UK charts. It ranks as my favorite T. Rex album, (actually, my favorite album of all time) with some of Marc's most melodic songs.
After the phenomenal success of "Electric Warrior" and "The Slider," Marc's record company expected big things. What Marc gave them was "Tanx;" an album very different from its predecessors. Unfortunately, the critics and many of the fans didn't like the direction Marc took and the album was deemed a disappointment.
Why is this my favorite album of all time? When I first came upon this album several years ago, after all the bad critical press it got, I was expecting the worst. My thought was, Heck, I loved Electric Warrior and The Slider, how bad could this be? I put the needle down on the turntable and was captivated for the next 40 minutes or so.
"Oh, my darling there are many ways..." The album opens with the guitar boogie and spacey lyrics of "Tenement Lady," a combination of two songs. You'll note on disc 2, it's listed as "Tenement Lady/Darling". Two songs fused together into one great one. Lots of great production work on this one.
"Your mama said, clean out your head, boy..." Next is "Rapids," with lots of guitar slide overdubs. Again, lots of spacey lyrics in a Bolan boogie mind poem.
"I'm just lookin' for a change in my luck.." "Mister Mister" is great light acoustic song with a great sing-a-long at the end. Excellent orchestration by Tony Visconti.
"This is a song that I wrote when I was young..." "Broken Hearted Blues" is, to me, one of the most beautiful songs Marc Bolan ever wrote. Beautiful lyrics, beautiful orchestration, Marc in perfect voice... poetry set to music. Possibly the best song Marc ever put on an album. The only complaint I have it that it was too short.
The rest of the album just flows beautifully. From start to finish, I never skip a song. Plus you get the added bonus of the Marc's singles from '73: "Children of the Revolution," "Jitterbug Love," "Sunken Rags," "Solid Gold Easy Action," "20th Century Boy," and the beautiful "Free Angel".
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Dec 2010 11:42:10 GMT
Although not a complete Bolan fan,I had quite a few compilation LPs.Most of them were in his Tyrannosaurus era e.g.both blue and orange label Flybacks and a strange one called "The beginning of doves".On top of that I had mainly singles.This album to me represents everything that was good and clever about Bolan..great guitar lines and terrific rock melodies.Not only was he a pop star,but also a rock star as well.I bought Zinc Alloy after this but thought that apart from Interstellar Soul it was dreadful. One Bolan track that I cant find listed is"Is it love?" which along with "Summertime Blues" was part the B side of "Ride a White Swan".
Posted on 14 Jan 2013 15:49:34 GMT
Very good review, James, but there is one factual thing I disagree with.
T. Rex did it's North American tour right after "The Slider", not "Tanx". I live in Montréal (Canada) and became an instant Bolan's fan when Electric Warrior came out. I was very excited when I heard on the radio that my city was part of the tour.
The concert was a flop. It was actually performed in a small arena in a suburb and didn't last very long. Bolan said at one point "We are giving so much heart and you people are giving so little response". Montreal (and French Canadians) were always found of British Music. A lot of UK bands were huge here before anywhere else in America. So I can only guess that the T. Rex concerts went probably worst elsewhere in America.
When "Tanx" came out, I interpreted the sleeve design as an aggressive statement, reflecting Bolan's hurt ego. But what an album, my favorite T. Rex work.
In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jan 2013 22:21:40 GMT
You will find "is it love" on the T.Rex Album, known as the brown album, it was the one before Electric Warrior.
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2013 20:55:56 GMT
James Choma says:
Thanks for the correction, Guyt! I would have liked to have seen Marc on this tour -- any tour for that matter.
I had always heard that "Tanx" was a playful "Thanks" to the fans for all the success. But your comment about the name taking on a more aggressive tone makes sense too. From what I've read, Marc's ego was indeed hurt that he wasn't a bigger star in America, and I recall a review of the album from the time stating, "Marc's 'Tanx' Takes Aim at America (and His Critics)." So maybe there's some truth to that.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Apr 2013 16:08:22 BDT
beautiful review,well written.
i may just buy this album now.
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