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"Every dawn of our lives a heart is forged and
Linked with lore to one so similar."
    A Day Laye - Marc Bolan.

T.Rex - The Edsel Alternate Series.

=== Review by Beartrap ===

Somewhere between Rabbit Fighter and Left Hand Luke there seems to have been a change of emphasis. While on Rabbit Fighter they tried to mimic the "flow" of The Slider, substituting other tracks when alternate versions weren't available (Thunderwing for Baby Strange, Buick Mackane and the Babe Shadow for Buick Mackane and Cadilac for Chariot Choogle), that doesn't happen on Left Hand Luke or any of the other albums.

Left Hand Luke: Shock Rock and Electric Slim are missing entirely, but you also get nine acoustic demos including a much shorter Left Hand Luke. Also present are Children of the Revolution, Solid Gold Easy Action and Free Angel. The unfinished feel is much greater here than on Rabbit Fighter, even if you only listen to the first eleven tracks.

Change: Despite what the cover says, you don't get a version of Interstellar Soul :( Instead there's a second version of Painless Persuasion. If the versions this album has in common with Rarities volume 2 aren't the same takes, they're very similar (John and Shan Bramley did a lot of fiddling where they shouldn't have done). Teenage Dream seems to be the same take as Rarities, though without that embarrassing interview slapped in half way through. Nameless Wildness (a favourite of mine) is the same as on Rarities. Liquid Gang is superb (should have been the title track!) and there are a further two demos of Carsmile Smith. There's an early version of The Leopards, this time featuring Geraldine and the Mighty Slug. Much more of an alternate, rather than unfinished feel on this album.

Precious Star: The original eleven songs all present and correct. The version of Zip Gun Boogie is the live version from the Agora which also features on the bonus CD with Live 1977. The first eleven tracks (ie the Zip Gun album) could easily have been released instead of the versions on Zip Gun, if you see what I mean. The extra tracks... Sound quality on Dock of the Bay is a little off - in fact probably the worst sound in the entire series so far - but it's not bad enough to preclude enjoyment. There are three versions of Till Dawn, one after another, which is gilding the lily just a little, and making listening to the album from start to finish something of a chore. The final two tracks, Thunderbolt Suit and Dishing Fish Wop (Golden Belt), are wonderful. While the latter is a studio run-through, the former has Bolan putting in little grunting guide vocals and yelling out the chord changes.

Dazzling Raiment: probably the least successful in the series. Four tracks from Dragon aren't represented here (Jupiter Liar, Calling All Destroyers, Theme for a Dragon and Ride my Wheels). The sound is thin throughout the album and it's difficult not to think that the compilers had a tough time putting it together.

The alternate Dandy is due pretty soon - I'm looking forward to it, not least because of the last six albums, Dandy is the one that relates most to Electric Warrior in feel.

My big criticism of the entire Alternate series is the covers. Yes, the posterise and difference filters are fun, but why did they have to go overboard with them? Were there no "false start" versions of the covers available? When I look at A Wizard a True Star alongside the Alternate series, I very much get the impression that someone in the design department had just got a copy of Photoshop and used early experiments for the packaging...

I won't attempt to list the alternate albums in terms of which is best or which is least essential: it's a pointless exercise, much like trying to compare Debora with Metal Guru...

Steve
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