The first "Electric" album Marc Bolan released and the last under the name Tyrannosaurus Rex. This is a great album underrated even by some fans. Contains some of his best work up to this point (1970) Fist Heart...... , Magical Moon , Great Horse, Lofty Skies & Dove. But the crowning glory on this album is the final track Elemental Child, one of Bolan's best guitar workouts and the highlight of the album.
By the time Marc Bolan recorded A Beard of Stars, Steve Took has been sacked, evidently for his drug taking but perhaps also because he wanted to get some of his own songs on the next Tyrannosaurus Rex album. His replacement Micky Finn looked similar but had none of Took's talent as a percussionist or singer. Having introduced electric guitar on the mighty summer 1969 single, King of The Rumbling Spires, Marc introduced it to A Beard of Stars which is the closest he ever got to a solo album. It is fascinating how, in the quest for a bigger audience, he did it so subtly. Lyrically this is still very much a Tyrannosaurus Rex underground album yet pop elements are starting to creep in with songs such as Woodland Bop, Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart, with its strange staccato chorus and the single, By The Light of A Magical Moon, which appears to have screaming fans taped over the final seconds while, interestingly, Organ Blues is actually a slower version of Hot Love. While some of the songs such as Great Horse and Leafy Blue could almost belong to Unicorn, others such as Elemental Child, one of Bolan's greatest ever songs and performances, Pavilions of Sun and Lofty Skies step towards the full-blown rock of Electric Warrior. Crucially, even though it was released less than a year after Unicorn, Beard of Stars still sounds contemporary and is, quite simply, a masterpiece. It is a great place to start if you are just starting to explore Bolan and, equally, a useful album with which to persuade doubters of his genius. I cannot recommend it too highly
A marvellous album, the last from Tyrannosaurus Rex, before Marc shortened the name & superstar status then beckoned. This is arguably the pick of the Tyrannosaurus Rex albums (depending on your outlook) & it certainly has more of an edge than "Prophets" or "My People", whilst still retaining alot of the folky,other worldly lyricism which abounded on the first two albums. There are alot of songs here which would probably knock alot of preconceptions some people might have about Marc's music,if they were only familiar with the glam T.Rex - this is a different kettle of fish altogether. I absolutley love the track "Elemental Child" & it remains one of my favourite ever Bolan songs. The album is terrific but that one song for me, is Bolan at his rawest & his best. The first album on the road of evolution to T.Rex - worth every penny.
I recently heard a theory linking the four Tyrannosaurus Rex albums to the seasons. "People" was summer, "Prophets" autumn, "Unicorn" winter, which of course makes "A Beard of Stars" spring. The new growth and expansion is certainly audible here! Picture what a shock it must have been in 1970 to hear a Tyrannosaurus Rex album open with an instrumental number, and not only that, but an instrumental using an electric guitar! This is the first of two transition albums between the acoustic style of the earlier Tyrannosaurus Rex and the full-on boogie of Electric Warrior. The main stylistic difference between Beard and its follow-up (the self-titled T-Rex) is that Beard doesn't have string arrangements. Sometimes the electric guitar appears to be an afterthought: the same song could have appeared without the electric guitar on "Unicorn" (A Daye Laye, The Woodland Bop), on others, it's essential (Lofty Skies, Elemental Child). As well as being a damn fine record, this CD is essential to understanding what made Marc Bolan tick...
I had this album originally on vinyl around 30 years ago, and it was rebought for me recently on CD. This is one of many Bolan masterpieces, with the standout track being the magical 2 minute instrumental title track.
Incredible. Marc Bolan is known mostly here for his electric numbers, but this cd has amazed me and destroyed any expectations I've ever had of what music had to sound like. You must buy this and it's children as well. ( Prophets, Seers, and Sages, Unicorn, My children were fair and had sky in their hair. ) If you are a casual listener or a musician, prepare to be blown away by a sense of style we've lost the grace of and may never have again...
I had this album back in the 70's and loved it. It's great original stuff by T. Rex...quite different from their later stuff. If you are a bit of an ageing hippie you'll probably appreciate this album.