T. Rex – Remixes

T. Rex – Remixes

It’s over forty years since Marc Bolan and his band first made their presence known. At a time when synthesizers were as remote from ordinary music buyers as NASA technology and colour television was still a novelty, T. Rex were at the forefront of the glam-rock movement, bands whose appearance was glitzily colourful and whose foot-stompingly raucous, loud, attention grabbing and often manufactured music was designed solely for the pop charts. It was a winning combination for the more successful bands and an hour or so spent listening to any oldies radio station will almost inevitably feature songs by Slade, The Sweet, Wizzard and indeed T. Rex, Bolan’s popularity having endured somewhat. His premature death in a car accident in 1977 cut short the second phase of his career, ended his new wave featuring television programme ‘Marc’ and inevitably perhaps, secured his future reputation. T. Rex inhabited the psychedelic fringe of the early-’70s music charts, with songs that, while they could seem lyrically indecipherable and musically esoteric, caught the imagination of an audience that wanted something it hadn’t heard before.

As with many of his late ’60s contemporaries, Bolan’s music found itself released on several labels and through more than one publisher, and Edsel Records may have found that they hadn’t access to the complete T. Rex back catalogue. So the remixers have had to get along without classic Bolan compositions such as “Jeepster”, “Debora”, later chart hit “I Love To Boogie” and the 1970 song that transformed the hippily poetic Tyrannosaurus Rex band into singles chart regulars, the bafflingly unhinged “Ride A White Swan”. There are however 28 tracks on the complete Remix album, and the remixers themselves – Stoof, Jaxon Frank, Kent Rockafeller and Dr Smith amongst them – get their share of the available songs. So there are four remixes of both “20th Century Boy” and “Children Of The Revolution”, two of “Solid Gold Easy Action” and “Born To Boogie” while some lesser-known songs are also reconfigured into various club, trance and electrofunk incarnations – there are two versions of 1974’s “Light Of Love” and probably only T. Rex completists are familiar with “Cadillac” and “Precious Star”, and there is only one remix of the T. Rex song that is probably the best remembered of their run of chart hits between 1970 and 1973, the anthemic “Metal Guru”.

Even by the standards of the early ’70s Bolan appeared something of an eccentric, a madcap hippy loon with a loud guitar and a seemingly endless supply of nonsensical stream-of-consciousness lyrical riddles. What it all signified was probably only known to Bolan himself and his untimely demise prevented us from ever finding the more or less hidden meanings in his words, although in retrospect it does seem that those were chosen for effect, to accompany the glam metal rock sound that T.Rex could claim to have actually invented. Forty years after he left us, Bolan’s influence continues and the remixers sound as if they’ve thoroughly enjoyed themselves, which they could hardly fail to do given the sheer quality of T. Rex’s musical legacy. Get it on, bang a gong.

Edsel/Demon