Edsel Records (label)
26 November 2012 (released)
14 December 2012
To put it upfront, this 40th Anniversary release has already been given a wonderful little review by my colleague David Spencer, and I would like to follow this up with a more detailed take on it.
The Slider is, just like Electric Warrior, one of the iconic T.Rex albums per se, and for this special release it has been lovingly re-mastered by original producer, Tony Visconti.
With a limited release of only 2000 copies, the 40th Anniversary release is an absolute treasure box and a must-have for any Marc Bolan worshipper! Although the ‘bopping elf’ died tragically young in a car accident two weeks short of his 30th birthday, his legacy will live on forever.
The Slider contains not only some of the most successful T.Rex songs ever, such as ‘Telegram Sam’, ‘Metal Guru’ and ‘Spaceball Ricochet’, but the featured songs are also intensely personal, often with ‘encoded’ lyrics that only Bolan would fully understand. The album captures the glam rock icon at the peak of his writing, with the aforementioned ‘Telegram Sam’ and ‘Metal Guru’ reaching Number 1 in the UK charts in 1972 – launching the period known as T.Rextasy. However, there are other numbers on The Slider that stray from the typical Bolan Boogie sound, such as the mellow and melancholic ‘Mystic Lady’, or the unusually hard-rocking ‘Buick McKane’ (doubt as Zep Rex). Bolan’s talent for surreal pop-poetry is particularly evident on tracks like ‘Spaceball Ricochet’ or ‘Rabbit Fighter’.
The set is comprised of two CDs, one DVD, a hardback coffee table book, a 180g vinyl pressing of the original album, its two spin-off singles and a repro of the hugely collectable promo-only Chariot Choogle 45, all in facsimile T. Rex Wax Co paper sleeves. Rounding off the package is a 40-page book of the sheet music for every song on the album, an A2 poster, sticker, plastic carrier bag, sew-on patch and facsimiles of an original Bolan fan club letter, membership card, rosette and concert ticket.
CD-1 contains the 2012 re-master of The Slider, by Tony Visconti and Ted Jensen, while CD-2 contains 2012 re-masters (also by Visconti and Jensen) of The Slider B-sides: ‘Cadilac’, ‘Thunderwing’ and ‘Lady’. In addition, CD-2 also contains various demos, radio sessions and outtakes, plus an insightful radio interview from August 1972, during which Bolan talks to Johnny Moran about the album.
As for the accompanying DVD – there’s lots of fantastic stuff to be seen and heard, like various ‘The Slider on TV’ clips (from Top Of The Pops and Music In The Round), plus surprise bonus features like Slider advert, Marc and Mickey visit the EMI pressing plant, the musicians at the Chateau D’Hérouville, and a US promo film for ‘Buick McKane’. Equally interesting is a TV interview with Russell Harty in 1972, during which Bolan prophetically announced that he doesn’t expect to live that long… indeed, five years later he was dead.
The DVD’s main feature, however, is an hour-long interview with Tony Visconti, conducted by Bolan author Mark Paytress at Soho Hotel, September 2012.
During the interview, Visconti not only talks about the re-mastering of The Slider album, but remembers his time with Marc both as a friend and a producer, telling of Bolan’s two sides… one airy fairy and sweet, a person who created pop ‘n’ roll magic by fusing the mythology of Tolkien’s world with elements of Little Richard and Elvis. In contrast stood Bolan’s other side – a person that couldn’t quite cope with the pressures of sudden fame and the ensuing media frenzy, knocking back countless bottles of Remy Martin cognac and snorting obscene amounts of the white stuff. A Bolan who desperately tried to fight his own demons, never mind rabbits.
There’s also interesting and fascinating information from Visconti about Marc Bolan’s song writing skills and his guitar techniques, often playing blues chords in the wrong key but nonetheless sounding captivating. And it was typical Bolan that he always came to the recording studio dressed to the nines, unlike other artists, who turned up in jeans and sweatshirt.
As Visconti rightly puts it: Marc Bolan could never have been anything else than a rock star!