T. Rex (album)

T. Rex is a 1970 album by Marc Bolan's band T. Rex, the fifth since their debut as Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1968, and the first under the name T. Rex. It was released on 18 December by record labels Fly and Reprise. The album continued the shift begun by its predecessor from the band's previous folk style to a minimal rock sound.[1]

T. Rex
T. Rex (Album).jpg
Studio album by
Released18 December 1970 (1970-12-18)
RecordedJuly–August 1970
StudioTrident, London
GenreRock, psychedelic folk, glam rock
Length37:41
Label
ProducerTony Visconti
T. Rex chronology
A Beard of Stars
(1970)
T. Rex
(1970)
Electric Warrior
(1971)

ContentEdit

Although the album was credited to T. Rex, all the recordings (as well as the cover shot) were done when they still were Tyrannosaurus Rex, with the two-man lineup of singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Bolan and percussionist Mickey Finn, although producer Tony Visconti played bass and recorder on a couple of tracks. "Ride a White Swan" was recorded during the same sessions but did not appear on the album. They officially changed the band name to T. Rex to release that single in October 1970.

MusicEdit

The album continued in the vein of the duo's previous album A Beard of Stars, with an even further emphasis on an electric rock sound and the addition of strings on several tracks.[2] Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, aka "Flo and Eddie", sang backup vocals for the first time on a T. Rex song, "Seagull Woman". They would go on to sing on most of the group's subsequent string of hits.

The album contained electric reworkings of two old Tyrannosaurus Rex songs, one of which, "The Wizard", was originally recorded as the A side of Bolan's (solo) first single, back in 1965. The second was an electric version of the second Tyrannosaurus Rex single, "One Inch Rock", with an intro of scat-singing by Bolan and Finn, which the duo had been incorporating into live acoustic versions for some months prior to the album sessions. The remaining short songs, however, were new material.

The album was bookended by a track called "The Children of Rarn", which was part of a longer piece known as "The Children of Rarn Suite". A Tolkienesque children's story in several movements, it was recorded only in demo form at the time, although instrumentation was added posthumously by Visconti for its release on the 1978 compilation MARC: The Words and Music of Marc Bolan.

ReleaseEdit

The album was released on 18 December 1970 by Fly and Reprise. The sleeve design was unusual, requiring a sideways look to unfold the cover, or to have the artwork sideways to remove the LP.

T. Rex broke T. Rex in the UK, following the surprise success of the then-recent single "Ride a White Swan", which reached No. 2 in the charts, and its smash No. 1 follow-up "Hot Love". The album is today listed by the Official Chart Company's website as having eventually reached a chart peak of No. 7 and accumulated several runs on the charts totalling 25 weeks.[3] This peak however took place during the 1971 United Kingdom postal workers strike during which no album chart was issued and therefore the site recognises the Melody Maker chart for February–April 1971.[4] The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums which did not recognise any album chart for the missing weeks, listed the album as having peaked at number 13.[5]

The US pressing of the LP concluded with "Ride a White Swan", rather than "The Children of Rarn (Reprise)".

Reception and legacyEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [6]
Rolling Stonefavourable[7]

In his retrospective review, Mark Deming of AllMusic wrote, "T. Rex is the quiet before the storm of Electric Warrior, and it retains a loopy energy and easy charm that makes it one of Bolan's watershed works".[6]

Richard Barone of The Bongos covered "The Visit" on his first solo album, Cool Blue Halo (1987).[8]

Siouxsie Sioux covered "Jewel" in 1999 with her second band the Creatures.[9]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Marc Bolan, except where noted.

Side A
No.TitleLength
1."The Children of Rarn"0:53
2."Jewel"2:46
3."The Visit"1:55
4."Childe"1:41
5."The Time of Love is Now"2:42
6."Diamond Meadows"1:58
7."Root of Star"2:31
8."Beltane Walk"2:38
Side B
No.TitleLength
1."Is It Love?"2:34
2."One Inch Rock"2:28
3."Summer Deep"1:43
4."Seagull Woman"2:18
5."Suneye"2:06
6."The Wizard"8:50
7."The Children of Rarn (Reprise)" (the U.S. version features "Ride a White Swan" in place of this track)0:36
2004 Expanded Edition bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
16."Ride a White Swan (Single A-side)" 2:30
17."Summertime Blues (Single B-side)"Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart2:42
18."Poem" 0:34
19."The Visit (Take 4)" 1:57
20."Diamond Meadows (Take 6)" 1:56
21."One Inch Rock" 2:26
22."Seagull Woman" 2:19
23."The Wizard" 8:33
24."The Children of Rarn" 0:42

PersonnelEdit

ChartsEdit

Chart (1970/71) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 37
UK Albums Chart 7 (Official Charts website)[3]
13 (Guinness Book of British Hit Albums)[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Deming, Mark. "T. Rex biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  2. ^ "... in December, he released the T.Rex album which also became a smash hit. Strings added by producer Tony Visconti had given an extra dimension to T.Rex's music ..." Bolan - Born To Boogie, Chris Welch, Simon Napier Bell, Plexus Publishing 2008 edition p77
  3. ^ a b "T. Rex | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, Guinness Books, 1977-2006 editions
  6. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "T-Rex – T. Rex | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  7. ^ Everett, Todd (22 July 1971). "[T. Rex review]". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  8. ^ AllMusic.com, Richard Barone "Cool Blue Halo", AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
  9. ^ "Siouxsie / the Creatures 'Jewel' (T. Rex cover) live in Oxford, Zodiac 1999". Youtube. February 1999. Retrieved 2 June 2018
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 302. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.

External linksEdit