T-Rex and Marc Bolan

Gift guide

Reissues

T. Rex

The T. Rex Wax Co. Singles A's and B's 1972-77 (Rhino)

Marc Bolan & T. Rex

Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow (Rhino)

T. Rex

The Slider (Rhino)

T. Rex

Dandy in the Underworld (Rhino)

That's four, count 'em, four deluxe, 2-CD reissues from Marc Bolan's days of dandy foppishness and cosmic funk glam balladry. It's a lot of material, and at times, too much. The title track to 1977's Dandy in the Underworld doo-wops over lyrics about cocaine nights (disc two's live version is better), while "I Love to Boogie" is fuzzed-out pop, and "Jason B. Sad" echoes the opening of T. Rex's hit turned car commercial jingle, "20th Century Boy." "Teen Riot Structure" features the line "Licked up on my lollipop, but I didn't get the joke," and the harmonies on "To Know You Is to Love You" are choice, but there's something missing in many of Dandy's songs. Oh yeah, drugs and sex. Not to worry, as Bolan was cursed with libido and a sharp tongue on 1972's The Slider. Opener "Metal Guru" revs up soul harmonies, and "Baby Strange" is pure Chuck Berry worship dripping androgyny ("I wanna call ya, I wanna ball ya all night long"). "Ballrooms of Mars" is epic guitar solos and cosmic trails riding on white mink vocals. 1974's Zinc Alloy is the flop here, though opener "Venus Loon" has the hand claps and "Explosive Mouth" has the innuendo ("I wanna lay my lips on your explosive mouth"). "Teenage Dream" is high-pitched vibrato from Bolan, more female harmonies, violins, piano – it's a typically sexy T. Rex song. The singles collection has "20th Century Boy," but sadly no "Bang a Gong" or "Cosmic Dancer" from 1971's Electric Warrior. "Children of the Revolution" and "Telegram Sam" make up for it in spunk and gospel-quality testimony. Who knows if America would have "gotten" Bolan's affinity for camp and theatrics the way it did Bowie. Then again, there's really nothing to get.

(Zinc Alloy)

**

(Singles, Dandy in the Underworld)

***

(The Slider)

****

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