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"Automatic shoes give me 3D vision and the California blues."
    Telegram Sam - Marc Bolan.

T.Rex - Edsel

About Edsel.

Edsel (a division of Demon Records) own the rights to Marc's output from 1972 to 1977 and have issued several groups of CDs:

  • Mainline albums (listed in the main line albums section).
  • The alternate series consisting of studios out-takes and alternative demo versions.
  • The unchained series which contains all the other out-takes that did not make it into the alternate series.
  • Various other issues. The best is the boxed set "A Wizard, A True Star."

The Alternate Series.

The Alternate Series Covers.
=== Review by Beartrap ===
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
  • [Editor's note: I have divided Beartrap's reviews under the separate albums but you might like to read the complete review.]
Rabbit Fighter the Alternate Slider.
=== 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 the Alternate Tanx
=== Review by Beartrap ===
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.
=== Review by Stewart ===
What really strikes me about this album is that it has all the feeling in the acoustic work tapes that Marc put into the releised album.The song's are all there the words the music the total feel of the song's.Marc could of releised this album after Tanx and you would think that he just did an acoustic version of it, it is that good, just shows you that He really did write the music in his head and their only a handful of people in the world that can do that. Mozart comes to mind, he would write a complete works in his head. When i think of it, Marc was the Mozart of our time, strong words i know but then Mozart was never understood in his life time either.
Stewart.
Change the Alternate Zinc Alloy
=== Review by Beartrap ===
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 Alternate Bolan's Zip Gun
=== Review by Beartrap ===
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 the Alternate Futuristic Dragon
=== Review by Beartrap ===
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.

=== Review by David-Do ===
Hi,
I've just got the Alternate "Futuristic Dragon". I said only recently FD was my least favorite of all the T.Rex albums.What a total and utter surprise!!!!!!!!!!! This album is WWWWWAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Every version , with the exepton of the title track is 100 x times better than the original. If only these versions had made up the original album. I just can't stop playing it , it's like I never heard this album before. STONKIN' On the first play I skipped over the 3rd version of "Casual Agent". WOW what had I missed. This is now at this minuite my favorite T.Rex track, toaly different from the original,UTTERLY FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!! MEGA MEGA MEGA!! I realy can't believe it, All Alone,superb, My little Baby,never used to play this, Sensation B all awesome, the guitars, perfect.What a perfect title "Dazzling Rament" it sure is. Even love the "new & improved" sleeve, the dark blue swirling vortex.

Gotta go and play it again.

Dave Do.

"I did don't ya know - and don't it show"
Prince of Players: the Alternate Dandy In The Underworld
=== Review by Beartrap ===
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.

Other Issues.

A Wizard, A True Star (1996)
Moved to Collections / Box sets
Metal Guru - 7 CD Box Set (1997)
Contains the Edsel Re-issues of The Slider, Tanx, Zinc Alloy, Bolan's Zip Gun, Futuristic Dragon, Dandy in the Underworld. Also contains a mystery disc "Star and Cars in the Ballrooms of Mars" (see next entry) and a Slider T-shirt.
Star and Cars in the Ballrooms of Mars (1997)
=== Review by Russ ===

EDSEL box set contains a so-called mystery disk with (as EDSEL told me last night) NOTHING that isn't available on other edsel releases... (A kind of "Almost best of")

Disk is catalogued as "FELD 3" entitled "Marc Bolan & T.REX - STARS & CARS IN THE BALLROOMS OF MARS" compilation exclusive to the box set.

1 Metal Guru - single
2 Buick Mackane - acoustic demo (AD)
3 Auto Machine - Demo
4 Cadilac - single b side
5 Thunderwing - ditto
6 Mr Motion - demo
7 Country Honey - Tanx
8 Electric slim... - Tanx
9 Mad Donna - AD
10 Left Hand Luke - AD
11 Sound Pit - work in progress (WIP)
12 Down home Lady - demo
13 The Leopards - Zinc Alloy
14 The Groover - WIP
15 All my love - demo
16 Solid Baby - WIP
17 Thunderbolt Suit - Zip Gun
18 Dreamy Lady - single
19 Casual Agent - WIP
20 Dandy... - album version
21 I love to boogie - single
22 Jason B Sad - Dandy

Irritating typo of the day - ZG is consistantly titled "Bolanis Zip Gun"

Ruzzzz
Messing With The Mystic
Nice collection of unissued songs 1972 - 1977.
Dirtysweet
Metal Guru 2.30, The Slider 3.24, Buick Mackane 3.32, Rabbit Fighter 3.59, Spaceball Ricochet 3.39, Mad Donna 2.18, Electric Slim and the Factory Hen 3.05, Broken-Hearted Blues 2.04, Shock Rock 1.44, Tenement Lady 2.57, Venus Loon 3.04, Change 2.50, Liquid Gang 3.21, Interstellar Soul 3.29, Girl in the Thunderbolt Suit 2.23, Solid Baby 2.39, Zip Gun Boogie 3.22, New York City 3.58, Sensation Boulevard 3.52, Dreamy Lady 2.54, Crimson Moon 3.25, Dandy in the Underworld 4.36, I Love to Boogie 2.17, Soul of my Suit 2.38
Dirtysweet Volume 2
The Groover 3.25, 20th Century Boy 3.41, Mystic Lady 3.15, Rock On 3.29, Solid Gold Easy Action 2.23, Children of the Revolution 2.30, Sitting Here 2.21, Midnight 2.50, Think Zinc 3.24, Carsmile Smith and the Old One 3.19, London Boys 2.22, Ride my Wheels 2.29, Dawn Storm 3.44, Jason B Sad 3.26, Groove a Little 3.27, Spaceball Ricochet 3.39, Over the Flats 1.49, This is my Life 4.57, Shy Boy 2.37

All but the last three tracks of DS2 appear on the regular studio albums, the last three can be found in the Unchained series. No new material here...
The Definitive Tyrannosaurus Rex (1996)
Thirty songs from all four Tyrannosaurus Rex Albums including some singles tracks.
Live '77 (1997)
A number Tillers have contributed of reviews of Live 77.
The Best of 1972-77 (1997)
A mid-price double CD high-lighting the very best of Bolan's 72-77 period.

The Unchained Series.

T.Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings Vol.1: 1972 Part 1 (1995)
Scraping the bottom of the outtakes - for serious completists only. But they certainly do contain a number of tracks I have never heard of before. OK you guessed - I have in fact bought all of them myself!
T.Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings Vol.2: 1972 Part 2 (1995)
Ditto.
T.Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings Vol.3: 1973 Part 1 (1995)
Ditto.
T.Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings Vol.4: 1973 Part 2 (1995)
Ditto.
T.Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings Vol.5: 1974 (1996)
Ditto.
T.Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings Vol.6: 1975 (1996)
Ditto.
T.Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings Vol.7 (1996)
=== Review by Russ ===

Track list:
1. RIFF. Literally just that - a riff (another Boley classic hook that never saw the light of day), lasting 1min30. The band is present but this is little more than a studio run thru. Reminds me a little of the Buick guitar sound on Slider.

2. FREEWAY. As the sleeve notes say, owes a little to "Where did our Love go". Possibly a solo multitracked effort, using a rudimentary drum machine, acoustic guitar chop and hand claps. Disappointingly the track fades after only 50 seconds.

3. I'M A VOODOO MAN. Classic Bolan 3-chord blues rocker. The sleeve notes call this a "Jeepster-like derivative"... nonsense Mr Barden. The ONLY thing they share is the time signature.

4. DECADENT PRIESTESS. More Boley blues - Marc plays solo electric guitar. "A Random house gambler, A homosexual dock-of-the-bay, 's what I say!"... more evidence to my mind that Marc, at least in private, was searching for a more conventional blues avenue to follow. So much of the Unchained stuff is littered with classical one-man blues... wonder why Marc didn't put a solo-ish blues album out? Oh, I wonder why... (almost forgot, the old cadillac gets more than a mention).

5. MIDNIGHT CREEPS ACROSS YOUR WINDOW. Rough-ish, solo acoustic demo (do I hear an out-of-tune 12 string?). Title is more likely "Please Little Girl" methinks. This is embryonic stuff - Marc searching for a melody (if not a coherent chord structure<g>).

6. DEMON GRAVE. Slow, soulful, solo demo available elsewhere (not certain if this the exact same take). Song is complete in itself, tho still awaiting the full band/studio treatment.

7. MEMPHIS HIGHWAY. Another embryonic tryout... solo acoustic. Introduced by Marc as "[...roffers?] an Elvis Presley song. Get it sent to him." This owes more, in chord structure at least, to Jeepster. "Good old Memphis girl, walked out on my world...". Lasts less than a minute and again sounds like Marc is searching for the right melodic line.

The London Opera suite

8. BOMBS OUT OF LONDON. "Baby keep those bombs out of London..." Bolan begs for London not to be bombed... part of the "London Opera" suite. Solo acoustic.

9. FUNKY LONDON CHILDHOOD. More "London Opera" fare... solo acoustic demo.

10. LONDON BOYS. Solo acoustic - Best version I've heard.


11. SAVAGE DECEPTION OF LOVE. Back to the blues with a little bebop... for all of 30 seconds...

12. ANGEL WHEN I'M MAD. Mad? "My [...] baby is a mean mother-f**ker, she's an angel when she's bad". Acoustic demo that certainly should have been taken further...

13. OVER YOU BABE. Marc plus Gloria on vocals. Demo, acoustic 3 chord rocker.

14. MELLOW LOVE [SOLO]. Not solo in my opinion. Multitracked layered acoustics (again sounds like 12 string). Track uses excessive echo effects that lend an offbeat feel to the whole mix. Some Gloria? and occassional piano. Different.

15. LOVE DRUNK [SOLO]. Solo acoustic tryout of this little classic. 3 takes.

16. 20th CENTURY BABY [SOLO]. Solo acoustic demo.

17. SHY BOY. Full studio version.

18. LOVE DRUNK. Full studio version.

19. FOXY BOY. Full studio version.

20. 20th CENTURY BABY. Full studio version.

21. HOT GEORGE. As released on Billy (I think it was). It would appear that Marc's voice has been brought forward in the mix from the "original". Why does it it cut off so early? Is that all there was?

22. WRITE ME A SONG. The sleeve notes say about this and the following track "untouched studio recordings". Not sure I'd agree with that but what do I know? they both sound like a TV studio (Granada) monaural takes - except here Marc is singing "Write me a song" and not "Sing me a song". Same band as the show (well, this is most definitely Herbie on Bass).

23. MELLOW LOVE. Again, sounds like a TV monaural take.

24. ENDLESS SLEEP. As went out on the Marc show.

25. SING ME A SONG. As went out on the Marc show. Still love the strings on this track. There's a spot on this where the backing vocal is distinctly off-key - at 2:44 on my CD player.

26. RIFF. Yep, another guitar riff (solo this time)... probably a precursor to the riff on track 1.

Summary.
Interesting... but painfully painfully inadequate to sate my hunger.
Russ.
T.Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings Vol.8 (1997)
Yet more.
The Best of the Unchained Series: Unreleased Recordings (1997)
A budget compilation.
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