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"Harlequin stands theatrical,
Mincing smirk dancing on the hip of his lip."
Oh Harley (The Saltimbanques) - Marc Bolan.
Tyrannosaurus Rex - Prophets, Seers and Sages.
List of Reviewers
=== Review by Mark McL ===A GIFT FROM A FLOWER TO A GARDEN: "Rose, Rose, Rose"
"Prophets, Seers and Sages, the Angels of the Ages" is the album which truly earned Marc Bolan the epithet "the Bopping Elf". This is the most personal and intimate of his albums of the Tyrannosaurus Rex era. It is more polished than the erratic patchwork quilt of "My People..." which had the nervous energy typical of a debut album. It is not as polished as the more poetic and harder edged gem that is Unicorn but it is the album that welcomes you into a pleasanter world. There is something wholesomely English about this album. A rose with its roots firmly in Middle Earth and stars on its brow. Like the shires of the Hobbit it is set it a cosy world of neat gardens, cute cottages and winding country lanes where magic can still lurk in hidden pools.
BOOK AFTER BOOK: "Know that Zeus is never loose with his Grecian kiss"
There are three literary sources that are very obviously major influences on Marc in this album:
* Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J R R Tolkein
* The Chronicles of Narnia (a series of seven books) by C S Lewis
* Classical and Celtic Mythology by unknown (dare I suggest Bulfinch's [sic] Mythology - "the bullfinch rumbles").
Essential reading for any fan of this era of Marc's music, these three-fold inspirations are interwoven in and out through the verses. I would go further and make specific comparisons.
* From LOTR: Stacey Grove is inspired by Tom Bombadil and Travelling Tragician calls to mind Aragron - the Long Strider - "stepping so lightly".
* From Narnia: "washed me with oils from Narnia", "The lavish lion aslanically scythes the hay" - Aslan is the lion king in the world of Narnia. And the "cab wrenched from lost Byzantium" is surely inspired by the scene in the Magician's Nephew where an Edwardian Hansom cab careers through into Narnia.
* From Bulfinch: "gorgon moved the lizard dial and was transformed into Grecian dust", "It's vulcan teeth and hydra spray", "like a pagan temple to Zeus", "Holy Grail head"
THE LORE AND LANGUAGE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN: "What wonders roam in the head of a child"
Although ostensibly written as children's books the chronicles of Narnia are far more complex. With talking animals, heroic children and the wicked witch, these can be simply read and enjoyed but they work at many levels. C S Lewis was a committed Catholic (but you knew that didn't you Rick ;-) and these books deal with deep issues. The books go from creation to the end of all things and deal with the problems of innocence and sin, temptation, the fall and redemption and our ability to chose between good and evil. Narnia is Eden, Adam's role is taken by Edmund, the serpent by the wicked witch. Aslan represents the prime mover and his death on the sacrificial table and his resurrection mirror that of our lord.
DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?: "Dug and Redug"
Now it can be told - I am in fact a replicant. How do I know this? Because they have done such a lousy job of installing childhood memories. I can remember very little from my early years. Not for me images of great aunt Nelly leaning over my bassinet. If asked, one of my earliest is memories is at age sixteen singing Debora as I cycled to my vacation job in the early morning sunshine of a long and glorious summer.
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED: "I know I'm small but I enjoy living anyway"
This must be the second shortest album in my entire collection ("Mass in E minor" by the Electric Prunes). Short changed I must feel. (Good grief - as I sit typing in this hotel bedroom John Peel is on the radio!). I cannot decide whether this is Unicorn part one or a separate album. They are so obviously a pair. They may be twins these albums but never identical. The frenetic bongo driven energy of the former changes to the graceful flow of the latter. Unicorn has a cold beauty but Prophets has a warm magic. The same themes occur in both:
Manicured lawns - "The flowing mane of pain swells on Trelawny Lawn" to "A ragged youth with eyes of glass was seen dancing upon the grass"
Alliteration and sigmoid susurration: "Secret sounds of giant sea birds singing songs of lonesome sailors" to "A salty shimmered shell of foam."
Autumnal presentiments: "like a thrush in the yielding harvest field the prophet deems snow" to "The barren barley fields refuse to sway"
and beyond Unicorn: "Golden cats in temples" to "Love the golden cat" and many more.
FANTASTIC VOYAGE: "We ran and swam knee deep in plasma"
Of course I knew Scenescof Dynasty by heart and used to sing it on the way to school. I think this song was inspired by the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage - "When a top scientist is shot and suffers brain damage, a team of doctors and a boat are miniaturised and injected into his bloodstream... but one is a traitor" [Halliwell]. They really "ran knee deep in plasma" in the film.
THE SECRET GARDEN:" the writer talks to me like a friend"
At sixteen, I had read Narnia and LOTR. I was the only person at school I knew who had heard of Tyrannosaurus Rex (apart from John Peel!) let alone bought the album. This was like a personal communication, a shared secret between me and Marc. It has a warm place in my heart.
That is probably all I need to say. So may I wish you "Good Night" and as always in an Elfish abode, dreams of the gentlest texture.
=== Review by Irving ===Prophets Seers And Sages, The Angels Of The Ages
Well I can't say I heard this when it first came out. No chance really - apart from the fact that I was a bit young to be a hippy in 1968, the record just wasn't released in NZ.
But of course in 1972 Polydor wanted to cash in on the great success of T.Rex so they issued "Prophets" in Doubleback form (like in the UK) coupled with "My People". Even then I didn't charge out and buy it because I had other things I needed the $6.99 for (The Slider album & various singles). In fact I remember putting "Prophets/My People" on lay-by in a store and paying it off over about 3 months (yes I was that poor).
So it was probably late 1972 when I finally got round to hearing it. Of course a lot of the people that bought it were pretty disappointed (let's face it, it's just nothing like '71-2 T.Rex), but I was fascinated.
Right from the start this record really grabs you! About a minute and a half into Deboraarobed (by the way - just how do you say it???) the thing turns on itself and goes backwards. Until you figure out that the tapes are going backwards, you?re busy trying to work out just what Marc?s singing about.
This is followed with a change of pace and the very strongly melodic "Stacey Grove". In fact the whole album feels a lot stronger than say "My People Were Fair?" . "Wind Quartets" and "Consuela" are two more strong and memorable songs from the first side.
The second side also kicks off strongly with "Salamanda Palaganda" which in spite of the acoustic arrangement really swings along. Some of the other songs aren't as strong but "Eastern Spell" and "Travelling Tragedian" have a nice sound to them. No stories for us on this album which finishes nicely with a return appearance of "Scenescof" (different song to the first album).
Overall I still enjoy this record. It's stronger sounding than the first Tyrannosaurus Rex LP but there hasn't been too much progression.
Listening to "Unicorn" after this, you can really hear and feel the great leap forward! But that's another story (maybe next month? Rick..... Your call)
Regards to all
=== Review by timot ===Hi folk's,
this is'nt much of a review, i did not get this album until the late 70,s,it was attached with My people were fair on doubleback,i had heard exracts from the album on verious gratest hits and a few B sides... Salamanda Palaganda,was the first song i knew i heard this a few times before i got fostered. I got fostered in june 2nd, and my foster sisters uncle bought her the greatest hits of t.rex album in the early 73 period,all she used to play was this song over and over again,i sat there bewildered on what was he singing and what the hell is a palaganda...as in my early years i used to breed amphibians and relise them into victoria park pond.I asked her what this other saying ment,she did not know,but we loved that song,so catchy so mystical,i still can't understand the lyrics when he sings them.
Eastern spell,another one i heard before getting that lp,the later versions he song i thought were better.
Deboraarobed,again a smashing single i must have been7-8 when i heard this,but the interest in marc did not cut in untill much later,too much went on in those early years....
Stacey grove,great lyrics once i tuned in,i dont know what i heard it off but i remember at school the older kids humming it in the play ground.Again did others have priblems in the lyrics....?
now the rest i heard when i bought it in the late 70's,i normally mark up all my albums,when ,were i got them,i did not do this but i do remember i got it from bearwood rag market and that shut down late 77 early 78 period,the funny thing about getting this one,the stall owner said for months he tried to get rid of it after marc died,so the price went up,i know i got screwed,he told me i was better off looking for the original lp on its own,but i did;nt care as long as i got some thing....
Scenescof Dynasty,clap,clap,clap,i wondered if it would take off as he song it,not much else to say about it...
The travelling tragition,i liked the sound of the pixiephone ,that jingle in the back ground,,,,,,,,
Juniper suction,the less said the better.
Ho harley,i belive this track is my favorite,i played it once on that fangled effort of a record deck of mine about 100 times in a day,rose rose rose , yep i thought this song was so catchy,sitting back on me bed smoking a hamlet cigar,i did only smoke those in them days,never like ciggies......
Conesuala..... i thought this was pure magic,this accustic and percussionist sythersised bueatifuly on the lyrics of this song,ageless for me im afraid.......
as for Trelawany lawn,Aznageel the mage and the friends,these were all very hippy,melodious and sounds out of sink,but saying that i still like to get the lyric sheet to this album....
as this lp is almost as old as me,cob webs?,and flower power was in its full swing bolan made the right move at the right time doing this album,a year or two out and i dont think it would have been produced,its not a album i play a lot now,but when i got it i spent a lot of time playing my favorite tracks.
=== Review by Cliff ===Hi Tillers,
I think Dave's comments were spot on about Prophets. It's hard to add anything extra to such a perceptive response.I haven't listened to the album for at least 6 months and early Tyranno. Rex is my blind spot. I tend to listen to that period as much as I listen to early Bowie (Uncle Arther etc). Once a year or so (to my shame).
Certain songs are burned into my memory though - Wind Quartets, Travelling Tragition, Oh Harley, Conesuela. Deceptively simple and beautiful songs with twisting clever melodies. Marc's melodic sensibilities had grown tremedously in the 6 months or so after the first disc. However a question - does anybody actually like actually 'Scenescof Dynasty'?
I think on Prophets Marc, Steve & Tony had a bit more time to relax and think about how to develop the songs. 'My People' was cut in 4 days. They probably had about twice this for Prophets. So there was more time to think of subtle embellishments and to consider studio tricks. My People sounds thin and tinny to my ears - more like an album of demos. This one is much more developed and concise.
Surprisingly the album didn't chart - the only Tyranno.Rex album to suffer this fate. Promotion/concerts were a bit thin on the ground. I read/heard somewhere that Steve Took was on remand in Ashford Prison in Kent for alleged drug offences at the time and this threw a spanner in any tour plans. Does anyone know any more about this?
=== Review by Desdemona ===How can I review this album that I find to be the most beautiful of Marc's works...along with My People Were Fair.
This album has such an out of time feel to it and, for me, seemed to capture Marc's persona 100%. One of grace and heart wrenching beauty. The words, the music are perfect and as has been said many times before...transports one to another time and place. I've always thought Marc's appearance/personality seemed out of place. As though he was just dropped here from the past and Prophets captures that ethereal foggy feeling perfectly.
The part that seals the importance of this album, in my eyes, is how remarkably the music follows the words or vice versa. It's one thing to hear the songs, another to read the words alone....but it is truly an experience to follow the words with him, as he plays. I can't relate to you all how moving this is. Just amazing. So please...EVERYONE...go listen to this album again, read along, follow the amazing timing. Pure enchantment!
=== Review by Rob ===I've been out of this review lark for some time. I don't know why, I guess I just ain't had the time or the inclination to write. However, I most definately have both to give my review of 'Prophets', the best Tyrannosaurus Rex album Marc and Steve did, in my humble opinion.
After the inspirational, but in some places flawed, 'My People...' album, I hear a Marc Bolan on this release who really began to understand what this era of music was all about; and what Tyrannosaurus wanted to say. The album is full of magical concepts, creations, journeys, scenes, harmonies, bridges, codas and squeaks. At times desperately amateurish, at other times breath-taking to behold, 'Prophets' takes me to other places when I hear it. Like an author of a fantastical novel, Marc fills my head with vibrant and rich images.
I remember, during my art foundation year, charging about the countryside of the West Country in my mother's car with my mates and with Deboraarobed blaring over the stereo and all of us losing our voices as we sang (or should that be wailed) along. That song holds SO many good and cherished memories, whenever I hear it I'm transported back to Taunton and to my friends Jim, Nick and Munro, to art college, hash and dungeons and dragons. It's a wonderful start to the album.
Then follows a cascade of songs which really had an impact on me when I first heard them and still continue to. Highlights of Side One, to me are; Debs, Stacey Grove, Consuala and The Friends. Ah, I can hear their colourful rhythms now, even though I'm sitting in a grey office within the bowels of IBM.
Side Two and 'Salamanda Palaganda'. I can so distinctly remember the moment I first heard this. I was in a bar in Taunton and Side Two of the Tyrannosaurus Collection came on and this particular song with it. I was engrossed. The bar man wasn't and turn it off mid way through. However, that was it. I was hooked on Marc!
Side Two meanders and wanders through crystal clear visions which seem to me as fresh as they would have been thirty years ago. Okay, so I can do within 'The Scenescof Dynasty' but hey, even the most refined ointment as a fly of sorts within it.
Music is so personal and subjective. People will always disagree with some aspect of what you say. However, to me, 'Prophets' is something very powerful, mystical and true. He had a brilliant mind, didn't he?
=== Review by Fee ===How can I compete with Marc McL's review? I can't! So I won't even try!
Prophets, Seers and Sages.
in the head of a man is a woman
in the head of a woman is a man
but what wonders roam
in the head of a child
A delight to listen to and recently I've had plenty of time - while I am using the microscope at college. Its good on headphones! Well its good on anything, but its especially good on headphones!
Deboraarobed: How can anyone not like an album which starts with this track? The change from forward to backward is effortless and its been said before but Marc does sound just as good backwards.
Stacey grove and Salamanda Palaganda were already old favourites with me before I bought the Prophets album because they were both on the cheapie release Ride A white Swan LP from Music For Pleasure (1972). Like lots of others I get into T.Rex and then later worked backwards to discover the delights of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Nearly called my daughter Stacey.
Wind Quartets has a hypnotic quality, but not anywhere near as hypnotic as one of my favourite tracks of this album: Juniper Suction which has the most amazingly surreal backing vocals and funny squidging sounds. Love it!
Aznageel, The Mage. How did Marc fit all the words in? The high backing vocals fit in so well. Love this one too.
Our Wonderful Brown-Skin Man. Short, but wonderful. Buffalos dead, but they groan in my head. The funny sticks tapping percussion fits and the whole song is a roller coaster of ups and downs.
Oh Harley (The Saltimbanques) Wonderful lyrics.
Eastern Spell: The one with the totally manic bongos! Wonderful. ... then you know the spell you're under is mine ... Yep, I am certainly under the spell. Flows so well. Another favourite.
The Travelling Tradition. Another favourite. Boom de Boom ... Just love the sound effects.
The Scenscof Dynasty: I have to be in the right mood for this one. Sometimes I love it and at others I have to be honest I find it annoying. But then there are so many tracks on this LP which are just so magical and fill me with so many feelings and images which are impossible to put into words that this is a fine album - even when I'm not in the mood for The Scenscof Dynasty.
Keep a little Marc in Your Heart
Reefer wan (The artist Formally known as Fee)
=== Review by Marc Bolan ===Here is an interview between Marc and Derek Boltwood of New Musical Express which appeared in NME following the albums release during early November of 1969!
I was round at Marc's flat the other day listening to the new Tyrannosaurus Rex album with him, and he chatted about each track as we listened. The album, by the way, is called "Prophets, Seers & Sages The Angels of the Ages".
Marc explained as the needle started to circulate: "This first track is 'Deboraarobed' -it's not the original recording of 'Debora'. Halfway through in this, the first half is played backwards to the end -hence the name. It has an amazing effect-I really like it. I find it fascinating-it takes on a life of its own, with its own melody. A melody in fact that I wish I'd written. The funny thing is that it doesn't notice that it's backwards, it seems to flow on quite naturally. I got the idea when I heard another of our songs played backwards. I wasn't expecting it-and was knocked out by the sound. I wanted to give away a free LP with 'Prophets Seers & Sages The Angels of the Ages' with all the same tracks played through backwards. But it just wouldn't have been practical.
"The next track," continued Marc-we sat cross legged on an Eastern rug and ate cake and drank coffee "is 'Stacey Grove'- ahout a person who's a sort of amalgam
of about 10 people I know.
Then after that, 'Wind Quartets' is really the other side of what we do. We make two sorts of music, -loud and freaky and soft and pastoral. 'It is the soft side." I commented that I personally prefer the softer songs. Marc agreed, "but most", he said, "seem to go for the more freaky material. I suppose it's because that's what we mostly do, so they expect it from us.
"'Conesuala is very straightforward really - it's a summer song, all about a woman who makes clothes for animals. But Trelawny Lawn is one of our more pastoral songs. It tells the story of a different earth. It's the man versus animal theme, and the man is bad and the animals are good.
'Aznageel the Mage', the next track, is about Aznageel, a man of great evil who's been around for a long time, and the condor who goes in search of him.
The last number on side one, 'The Friends", is just a straightforward little story about a little boy who sees a Satyr.
"I couldn't he more pleased with this album - everything has worked out perfectly, not only the record, but the cover, the photographs, the whole thing. It's much more of a creation than our first - with that we were just gassed to he doing an album. It was very much a live performance -we were impatient to get it done, and we didn't know anything about technique, It was just an album to say 'we're here', With this one we're more relaxed, and we treated it differently. For every two hours we spent recording we spent another thre hours on reduction, perfecting it technically. It's just so nice that everything seems to work on it.
"The first track on the second side is 'Salamanda palaganda'. The title is really nothing to do with the song. We were driving along in the car one day, and I was looking for a name -I don't know why, then I suddenly thought of 'Salamanda Palaganda. and i couldn't stop saying it. For the rest of the journey I said it in just about every possible way. I got a real buzz out of it. I wrote the song after that, but it's not about Salamanda Palaganda. That just comes into it.
"'Our Wonderful Brownskin Man' is simply a straightforward hymn for the American Indians. Steve plays sticks on this one.
Then '0 Harley (The Saltimbanques)' is really two themes in on - it's about a small girl called Rose. She's very small-no bigger than a bubby's thumb'. And about Harlequin. And there's a moral-'naughty to pretend it's so naughty so bad".
Eastern Spell' is just about casting spells.
"The Travelling Tragltion' is about a Greek actor who's always theatrical. He always has a painted face, and he's always playing - but to himself, He never acts to anyone because they're not interested. There are many men like this - they have something to say, but nobody wants to know, so they say it anyway. But it's ignored. It's very sad.
"'Juniper Suction' is about making love. Some of the verses on this are played back- wards, but they're double-tracked behind the main verse. Steve plays the African Talking Drums on this-they really make a nice sound. Sometimes I think Steve misses not having a big drum kit to work on- so he really goes to town on the talking drums.
The last track, 'The Scenescof Dynasty', is a complete story. Scenescof is a very bad man, very evil. And he sucks two people into him through his eyes-the story is about their travels through his body, start- ing off at his head. At first they don't realise that he's evil, but they gradually discover it. Then Scenescof send a gorgon after them-but the gorgon changes sides and helps the two people. And because they're inside the body they realise that it's easy to kill him-a thing Scenescof hadn't thought about. So the couple go back up the body to the head and kill him.
I'm pleased with the LP because everything is very together-and it's exactly where we're at now. which is how it should be. Releasing an album is like a ship sending up a flare. It shows where it is, and by plotting the different flares you can find in which direction it's going in. That's why albums should be representative of where you're at at a given time, and not just a collection of A-sides and B-sides and any old track just to fill space. "with this album we're giving a lyric sheet-as we did last time - it makes it easier for people to understand what we're doing. A thing I hadn't realised was that it's difficult to hear what I'm singing-so with the song sheet you can understand the words at the same time as enjoying the music. If it's important to know the words, they're written down for you. With our next album I'd like to give away a little book. I think it's nice to have treats in record~they're expensive things to buy, albums, so it's good to give a little extra."
The last Tryrannosaurus Rex album was more related to modern - perhaps more physical- things than "Prophets Seers and Sages the Angels of the Ages"- This is more escapist, related to a mystical. sometimes Eastern world. "I suppose it is escapist," said Marc when I commented. "it's a personal thing-and obviously the songs are very personal. For one thing I dislike cities and the realities of modern life -I find plastic things repellent. My innermost thoughts are classi- cal, and sway from everyday life. I'm not trying to dismiss modern civilisation -things are good. Motor cars are good, telephones and televisions are good. It's just that they're misused ,we can't seem to be able to control the things that we invent. The television's continually on in some homes - not just for a specific programme. Telephones often intrude on private lives - specially when some crank starts breathing heavily down the other end of the line at you. Lorries are great for carrying things fom A to B but they're also noisy, and they release their exhaust fumes everywhere, "Civilisation now is very plastic, people have the wrong sets of values. So I write about different lands - places where the good things ARE good, and not just because we've been brought up to accept them that way. For example -nudity. What would be basically morally wrong if everyone were to walk around naked? It might be a bit cold, but if every- one did it, and always had done, what would he immoral about it? It's just that we've been conditioned by civilisation to think of it as bad. That's just one example of where our values are twisted~ and why I write about different more acceptable places."
As well as the songs for Tyrannosaurus Rex. Marc writes poetry. For himself. His first book of poetry is to be published in the near future, and is in the process of being printed at the moment. The poetry is very personal - modern in form and yet at the same time classical. The words and references are sometimes Marc's own, but they belong to a different world, his own world where there are no intrusions from telephones and tele- visions and lorries. The world of the Paradise and the Purgatory of Milton, peopled by creatures of the mind - but without the tweeness of the fairy story.
I don't pretend to be a poetry critic, and besides, my tastes in writing, my style, is almost opposed to Marc's. To judge them on a technical level would not only be pedantic -it would be unnecessary. But I appreciate what Marc's doing. His poems are like his music - personal and at tbe same time accomplished. Sometimes the writing shines through the style and I like it very much, but mostly I find his style a barrier. This is personal, though, and nothing to do with whether it's good or bad poetry. But the very fact that it is poetry is good. Just more proof that we're entering another phase. another sort of involvement within pop. Perhaps pop is growing up, preparing itself for a higher level than it was given.
=== Review by DaveR ===I missed January (or is it Janruary) and February is fast becoming history. So I sat down last night and listened to the Prophets, Seers, and Sages CD (twice in fact) in order to "get into the mood" to write this review.
Rather than a song-by-song analysis, however (because I'm not to good at that), I instead settled on a generalization which ties in to another thread we've been discussing the last couple of weeks and which applies not only to Prophets but to "My People" and "Unicorn" as well. Depending on your viewpoint I may either be stating the obvious or spewing outrageous blasphemies - you decide.
Anyway, I pose a philosophical question. If you take the T.Rex LPs starting from, say, Electric Warrior on and removed Mickey Finn's sound tracks from each of the songs, would it make a difference to the final outcome of the song? Conversely, were you to take the first three Tyrannosaurus Rex LPs and remove those sound tracks attributed to Steve Took would it make a difference to the final outcome of those songs? My answer to the two questions would be "probably not" and "definitely so".
My point is (and every time I listen to one of the first three albums it always jumps out at me) is that Steve Peregrine Took (originally Steve Turner I believe), was far more creative musically (or a least percussionately) than any other musician who ever played with Marc. In other albums I am mostly fascinated by Marc's music. In Prophets, My people, and Unicorn I am equally mesmerized by what I hear Took doing as well. The biographies, if we are to believe them, say that Marc rarely had to "direct" Steve Took but rather Took simply latched on to what Marc was doing and proceeded to do his own thing as he felt was appropriate (unlike later musicians where I believe I've read Marc more vigorously directed their output to correspond with what he had in mind). Later we are told that Steve reached the point where he wished to contribute to the song writing as well. This, along with some other factors - drug use among them, eventually led to a falling out between the two. Marc was furiously competitive as we know from many of his interviews and I assume probably felt increasingly threatened by Took's desire to share more of the limelight. Upon ejecting Took, Marc replaced him with a painter who looked and acted the part well but no doubt lacked the potential or, more importantly perhaps, the desire to ever upstage Marc.
In summary of this somewhat overly philosophical section, it is my opinion that for Prophets as well as My People and Unicorn, Steve Peregrine Took was a true partner in Tyrannosaurus Rex who deserves much credit for the early (if somewhat cult) success of the band. It begs the questions of just how history would have played out had Marc never recruited Took in the first place or had never ditched him later on. (Editors note: the author is in no way associated with nor has received funds from the Steve Peregrine Took Appreciation Society).
Now Prophets historical relevance to me (and some of this is probably a repeat from the things I said in the Unicorn review): I had obtained Unicorn, Beard of Stars and most of the T.Rex LPs back in the seventies (the exception being I had Light of Love as opposed to either Zinc or Zip Gun). But I knew little about Marc's history until I became re-interested in Marc around the early nineties. It was only then that I even realized that there were two earlier Tyrannosaurus Rex albums and I had already concluded that finding copies of the LPs anywhere in the states might well be impossible. You can then imagine my excitement when I walked into a newly opened used record store in Mesa, Arizona and found the original copies of My People and Prophets in nearly mint condition (as a matter of fact they did not appear to have even ever been opened). I literally leapt home that evening and listened to both albums multiple times. Definitely was a memorable night for me from a T.Rex perspective. I still consider them (all Tyrannosaurus Rex LPs actually) to be among my favorite Bolan material.
One last thing that seems appropriate here. During February and March we have our annual Renaissance festival way out east of Phoenix beyond Apache Junction next to the forbidding range of mountains known as the Superstitions (the Apaches believed they were haunted by the dead). I've brought my children there 3 years in a row and always have a great time. The employees and cast (cause they all seem like "Actors on a Stage") do a great job of making you feel like you really are in England back in some other century (all the cacti and sage brush have, of course, been removed from the compound so as not to remind you that you're really in the middle of the Arizona desert). Despite always having a good time there with my children, I always feel some hint of sadness or dislocation because at every turn I envision that there should be somewhere on some patch of grass a cross-legged Marc Bolan and Steve Took playing Wind Quartets or Eastern Spell to a crowd of visitors. It would all fit so perfectly. In some space and time once it was and perhaps in some space and time it will someday be again.
=== Review by David Do ===I love this album, it gives me a very warm feeling. It reminds me of my teenage years. It's an escape, it's tranquil, it's peaceful yet stimulating. It's uplifting, dark and funny. There are Diamond Meadows, warm summer days, strange creatures, minstrels, prophets and travellers. It's a unique combination of nightmares, bad trips, nonsense and reality, it's a mosaic of invented words, fantastic images interwoven with the most pleasurable sounds ever produced. Marc's almost slurred style of singing blends one word into another , meaningless becomes meaningful.
Debora backwards, amazingly, takes on a life of it's own, words backwards become decipherable, I swear you can hear these lines during the end of Deboraarobed "Ahh ruby, please have my heavenly nights of you when I sit by your eastern nights"
For me Prophets captures a moment in time, a mood, a vibe and preserves it for all time.I get something different from it each time, sometimes I'm just blown away by the sheer beauty of the music and Marcs clear crisp guitar. Next time the lyrics will paint vivid pictures in my mind, wonderful characters, forests, lakes and streams. The words to these songs are incredible, I wonder if Marc even thought what he was writing, I imagine this poetry just flowed effortlessly from his mind. "slaughtered tulip in the psalm of his lillywhite".........beauliful abstract images, my favourite line is,"Separated by lace cinnamon folds" I don't know why.
Not originally having a lyric sheet it was years before I knew exactly what all of the words were, so I still hear them 'wrong' and in a way that adds something, words that I've made up to fit with what I think I hear. Unseen pleasures are still exploding fore me!
=== Review by MarcO ===I've reviewed this before but seeing as we got a lot of new members since then, and seeing that master Rickles likes to see plenty of input, "don't we all dear" <bg> I'll chat about it, and other stuff as well.
A little acoustic guitar, a pair of bongos and a handful of cheapo percussion instruments you could buy in "Wollies" thats all it takes to produce an album of depth, richness and a diverseness that borders on the rediculous. Add to that the current music trend of that time and you have to start asking some serious questions.where was the influence? Cochran, Elvis, Holly, Dylan, not on this album they aint.
Marc was a genius at putting together a catchy melody and combine this with the unique Bolan vocal style of that time and steves amazingly uncanny perfect vocal blend plus TVs relatively inexperienced production and what have you got?
Youve got the equivalent of throwing 1000 jigsaw pieces in the air and they all land on the floor face up and joined together.
We all marvel at Marcs achievments and how he managed this and that, a lot of the posts on TD are questions like, how did Marc manage this or how did he achieve that and the real answer is probably, although it may seem hard to beleive, there are people out there who can just pull stuff like that out of the air.
Marc would be singing live, jeepster for example, and he'd start making up new lyrics, there and then, on the spot, unrehearsed. You try it, i challenge ya, you might be able to snatch a line but Marc could do it with whole verses, straight off the top of his head. You cant give Prophets a ten out of ten rating cos if you did youd have to give unicorn 20 out of ten wouldnt ya?
=== Review by Stewart ===I must admit it took me almost 10 years to find this album and i had to go to the UK to get it,and it was worth it .
=== Review by Michel ===This was the third album I bought. After UNICORN and BEARD OF STARS, how important it was to find more about Marc's unique musical and poetical universe. So there was life before UNICORN. Marc didn't come out of the blue. There were roots and evolution and PS&S was so good.
When I saw the cover with Pete Sanders' picture of Marc and Steve and the bauble... nothing in the world could have prevented me from buying this album. And even without money, I would have stolen it, or give my shirt aways...
There was more! How could that be possible... Already I was fulfilled with Unicorn's poetry, Beard of Stars' electric magical fantasy, and here was another chapter of this incredible musical book. Even a wisper from Marc would have been a symphony.
And this most peculiar and bizarre voice... it was true, everything I had read about fairies, elves, sorcerers... there was the living proof. No ordinary human being could write and sing like Marc* and, wasn't it true as well that only few of us on this earth could recognize and really appreciate his genius. We were the chosen ones...
Just for this wonderful period, it was worth taking birth on this planet to witness - within few notes of music sung by a bard - a whole universe of a bygone mystical and magical age. Prior to Marc, only the Beatles were important enough for me as they had opened the door. But Marc was taking me beyond any possible cultural frontiers.
Oh, those little bells as the opening of Salamanda Palaganda... no, I don't want to get into any particular songs... it would take years to express the dreams and joys I had listening to this record. I remember my parents couldn't believe I was able to listen to these 3 albums so often. They even started to miss the Beatles records...
Of course, they didn't know the brown album was due few months later, followed by ELECTRIC WARRIOR... but, luckily for them, I was married when EW came out and had moved to the big city, Montreal...
* One should write a book about Marc being from the Fairy people. As music was the proper medium to contact human beings and communicate with them he joined a young band - John's Children - but he couldn't find the right angle of expression with them. He then started to envision his musical work as poetry and reminiscences of his native land and time with Steve Peregrine Took and Mickey Finn as Tyrannosaurus Rex. Fame and fortune slowly and inevitably ask their dues and he became more and more 'materialized', enjoying as T.Rex the illusory pleasures of the human body and, with sex, alcohol and drugs, he entered the artificial world of rock stardom and decadent living. Marc Bolan had become a real human being, prisoner of a gross material body... The elf was trapped... When would he finally be freed and re-enter his long forgotten kingdom?...
Thanks to David Do and Romany Stew for their review...
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