Universal Records (label)
03 March 2014 (released)
03 March 2014
Released in the same year as Beard Of Stars, this fifth studio album was the first undethe band’s newly abbreviated name T.Rex. Although still inhabited by mystical wizards and what have you, songs increasingly received the electric rock sound treatment, further padded out with occasional string arrangements.
Once again, Marc Bolan’s main sidekick here is Mickey Finn, with producer Tony Visconti providing additional bass on some of the tracks.
Starting off with “The Children Of Rarn”, Marc leaves fans in no doubt as far as his on-going fascination with Tolkien is concerned:
We are children of Rarn / We've trodden the vales of the sun / The child will cry / On swans they fly… delivered like a Buddhist chant.
On swans they fly… or ride… It’s interesting to note that on July 1st, 1970, Marc had an epiphany and nailed “Ride A White Swan”, which later that winter happened to morph into a huge hit.
Although the song is not included on the original album, “Ride A White Swan” graciously floats amongst the bonus tracks on DISC ONE.
The choppy and fabulously bluesy “Jewel” shines bright amongst the track lists, with wild and screeching guitar riffs toward the end, though by then our Marc hadn’t yet advanced to a full on electric warrior. We’re entering calmer waters again on “The Visit” – a love song with very poetic lyrics.
“Childe” is curiously poppy with harmonious vocals, and contrasting aggressive chord work – it all blends well. “The Time Of Love Is Now” is a pretty mellow ballad taking us back to Marc’s musical days of yesterday, while the beautiful “Diamond Meadows” further benefits from skilfully executed string arrangements, courtesy of Mr. Visconti. Trivia: the song was included in the soundtrack of the 1998 movie Velvet Goldmine.
The upbeat and feel-good “Beltane Walk” with its catchy Give us a little love from your hearts has long advanced to a T.Rex staple, though lyrically speaking it’s certainly not one of Marc’s most complex works. The groove factor is cranked up on “Is It Love?”, while “One Inch Rock” always has reminded me somewhat of Mungo Jerry.
Marc’s wondrous fantasy takes flight during “Seagull Woman”, but he surpasses himself with “The Wizard” - a piece almost 9 minutes long, and as multi-layered in construction as it is unpredictable. It’s utterly trippy, it’s utterly ‘out there’, and above all, it rocks!
The album is bookended by “We Are The Children Of Rarn”.
DISC TWO offers homes demos, including the whopping 15min-plus version of “The Children Of Ran – Suite”, as well as previously unreleased alternate takes on seventeen tracks.
T.Rex will also be available on download, single CD and limited edition double vinyl LP.
To commemorate the release of a A Beard of Stars and T.Rex, Universal Music Catalogue will also be making available 2 strictly limited 7' singles from the period ' By The Light Of A Magical Moon ' home demo/Find a Little Wood and Ride A White Swan ' Top of the Pops 12 November 1970/Summertime Blues 'BBC Radio One Dave Lee Travis Show ' 9 December 1970. These will be strictly first come, first served and exclusively available from www.theboxsetstore.co.uk