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"Silver Surfer and the Ragged
Kid are all sad and rusted, Boy, they don't have a
Believe me Pope Paul my toes are clean, Whatever happened to the Teenage Dream."
Teenage Dream - Marc Bolan.
T.Rex - Zinc Alloy
List of Reviewers
=== Review by Chadders ====
Let's get the Bowie connections out of the way first. For a start there's the cover, reminiscent of 'Aladdin Sane', and the supposed band name is too close to Ziggy Stardust to deny, but most importantly the black laced gospel/funk/soul/shout prefigures the blue eyed soul of Bowie's 'Young Americans' the following year.
'Venus Loon' is probably the most easily accessible track and although hailed and trailed on BBC Radio 1 as the next single it was thankfully left on the album, 'Explosive Mouth' was always a favourite of mine probably because of the 'art-deco deli' line but it harks back to past glories as well, 'Galaxy' has more than a shadow of 'Universe' (from 'Dandy') about it, 'Teenage Dream' is a major work in all departments though the longer version favoured on the Edsel CD is a mistake, 'Change' is superb, 'Interstellar Soul' is a return to form and 'Leopards ...' rewards repeated hearings. The rest of it fades into an indistinct blur.
All that said, this album is a real departure, though how it sits in the Bolan catalogue is a real puzzle, we never really got anything like it again. It doesn't have the wholeness that distinguishes Bolan albums, but you can't get away from that big black sound. There is some sweet word play and there are riffs of distinction. But over all it fails to engage me and I rarely return to any part of it.
=== Review by Chadders 2 ====The well respected UK music journalist Ian MacDonald (writer of 'Revolution in the Head' about the songs of the Beatles) has a theory that successful rock musicians do their best work before they are 27. After 27, he says, the money is the bank, the hunger mentality that drove them to success has diminished and girlfriends have become a partner and then mother to the happy couple's new child - in short they no longer have anything to prove.
There are exceptions, says MacDonald, Bowie and Springsteen being the most notable. He goes on elsewhere to say that the 'Get Back/Let it Be' fiasco was the Beatles attempt to reinvent themselves against this background of not really being interested in Beatles anymore.
Give a year or two and this theory fits Bolan around 1974. After three outstandingly successful years the big two seven loomed on his horizon. So out came the wildly different 'A Creamed Cage in August'. Originally planned to be credited only to 'Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow' (Shades of 'Richie and the Red Streaks' a possible Beatles pseudonym in 1969) it was to have been left to sink or swim on its own merit without the T.Rex badge until EMI intervened.
'Zinc Alloy' bears no relation to the in your face 'Slider' or more uncertain 'Tanx', and is a real musical departure. Was it a deliberate, but very unfocussed, attempt to reinvent Marc Bolan as a serious musician with a heavy black sound, and shed the teen idol skin while maintaining his distance from the 'prog rock' bores? What would we have called that new sound? Glam Soul?
I don't think this album, in itself, was responsible for the downturn in Bolanic fortunes, they were going to slip anyway. The time and place was against him for this album. It is very rare for teen idols to reinvent themselves successfully as 'serious' musicians, (I think only George Michael has succeeded), but Boley was going about it the right way by abandoning all previous stylistic motifs and taking on something recklessly new. However, the rigid conventions of the time meant that pop/rock experimentation was out of the window unless conducted in very measured terms and then only by a previously agreed list of artists. 'Zinc Alloy' and Marc Bolan were neither of these in 1974.
Caught between the self important musical pomposity of 'prog' and the flimsy manufactured bubble gum disco of the mid 70's, there wasn't much room for Bolan to flex his entertainly original ideas. The largely anti-black bias of 'serious' rock of the period meant that fans who had come in with the Glam hits were left holding the intriguingly different but socially unacceptable music of 'Zinc Alloy'. This is all they had to show to their 'prog' mates that Bolan wasn't just about 'commercial' pop and could return to 'contemporary' rock. The fact it wasn't very good was a real handicap.
By the time 'Bolan's Zip Gun' came along no one was listening.
=== Review by Vampyre ====
Zinc Alloy was the first T.Rex album not released in the US and so, it became the Holy Grail for me. Each successive album seemed to me to get better & better. I couldn't wait to hear Zinc Alloy....
When I finally got the album and had my first listen, my jaw dropped! Where was my beloved Bolan boogie? Like most new albums, it takes me several listens to really hear everything and get familiar. The first thing I noticed was that the familiar Bolan Boogie was replaced by what? - Soul funk? Sky church music? The easiest way for me to explain is that the chunka-chunk-chunka sound was replaced by a chug-2-3-chug-2-3-chug-2-3. The beat had slowed down and I was hearing things in between the beats.
The most noticeable was the background vocals. They aren't just background vocals but an instrument. The key must be the combination of Gloria, Pat Hall & Stephanie Spurill because on later albums with only Gloria, the background vocals are not as spectacular. Was that a cat being strangled on Bolan's Zip Gun? Or a pig squealing on Futuristic Dragon?
Bolan's vocals sound louder & in your face as if to magnify the lyrics. The lyrics are street poems loaded with characters. No more unicorns, sea beasts or chirpy chickens. Perhaps they have succumbed to an animal's disease? - Myxomatosis?
The music is different. What is it? I don't know but Bolan's guitar is also in your face and he creates some great sounds (The Avengers). Some of the songs are schizophrenic: choruses and verses go from soft to hard and don't seem to belong together (Sound Pit, Galaxy, Liquid Gang, Painless Persuasion). They are quite the attention getters. I wonder if Bolan was using Bowie's cut up technique before Bowie?
Hindsight makes me wonder if this was Bolan's Alladin Sane (sorry for the Bowie references but isn't there a similarity in titles between Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars and Zinc Alloy & the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow?). Is this Bolan's fame & fortune album? What has fame & fortune done for him/to him? Who is the jet junk jiver? Had drink & drugs overcome
Bolan? Was he overwhelmed by fame?
Did he care?
The center piece of the album is Teenage Dream. I actually prefer the original album version over the Bramleyized version and despite the story that Bolan really meant to have the longer version on the album, I think the right decision was made in 1974. This is one of Bolan's 3 minute symphonies extened to 5 minutes and one of my favorite songs if not my very favorite. The best word to describe it is "sweeping" from beginning to end starting with the tinkling piano (Visconti?) to the guitar & piano middle break to the final verse where Bolan seems to be asking for redemption or at least a way out. Redemption? The printed lyric is slightly different than what my ears hear: Is it "Nobody disapproves" or "Your God disapproves"? The song references God, Pope Paul, angels, & heaven.
Favorites, highlights? I like them all. Venus Loon gallops out the gate. It is totally manic. Sound Pit is the first schizoid song. Explosive Mouth seems like a hazy drug induced dream. Galaxy? Wake up, wake up, another schizoid song. Change slows the pace down (coming off a high?) A chance to be reflective? Nameless Wildness is short on lyrics, big on passion & great guitar piece on the end (the alt version is even better!). Liquid Gang has this big band sound to me and hammers home some great lyrical images. Carsmile Smith. More big sound, guitar solo, and the Cosmic Choir in full force. Jive & Spanish Midnight is more schizoid song going from hard to soft - the second half is a great ballad in one single sentence. Interstellar Soul is the only Bolan boogie song and somebody isn't buying this interstellar soul shit. I love Gloria's "Bullshit, bullshit." And somebody else name checks a previous hit single? Painless Persuasion is more schizoid and the sound gets harder & louder. What's gonna go? On The Avengers, Marc finally achieves the perfect soul funk sound. The last song Gardenia sounds like Marc has come off of a high, more reflection, more wonderful imagery & characters and doesn't somebody sound like they have a cold? Just a bit nasally?
A lot of my review is what I've noticed several years later and not quite knowing what is true & not true regarding Bolan and drugs. When I first heard it, I loved the totally different T.Rex sound and that was it. From My People to Zinc Alloy, IMHO, Bolan's albums evolved & I saw a progression in the sound. After Zinc Alloy I expected something that I guess would have been impossible to do better & maybe that is why Bolan's Zip Gun let me down or maybe Marc decided he had to change direction because he had reached the end of the line. Zinc Alloy never lets me down.
=== Review by Gordon ====
This is the hardest album for me to review as it is the album i feel is responsible for Marc's fall from grace and for the fans lookin elsewhere. After being told he was born to boogoe along comes an album ya just can't boogie to.
The poetic side of Marc is in full flight with some of his best lyrics, unfortunately those lyrics are best seen as the written word and they seem to cause Marc a problem in that he had to finmd awkward melodies to fit to those words. Also many tracks seem to show a lack of direction or even worse trying to go in two directions at the same time as if they are two songs mismatched to try to fit the bill and failing.
Perhaps there was the internal battle between Marc and Tony for production superiority causing this seemingly aimless drifting. The music sounds tired and lacking energy, nothing wrong with the guitar playing but you can't rescue poor material with straight musicianship.
To me Marc's greatest strength has always been in writing some of the best melodies and hooks in mus Here he seemed to lose sight if this and most of the tracks sound soulless and trudging. Dreary even.
The album ends on a high but unfortunately the damage has already been done. Only my humble thoughts, Marc was entitled to one duffer and this is it. Zinc Alloy would have made one hell of a good EP though.
=== Review by Simes ====
So here are me humble thoughts on the Album of the Month.....
I guess like all of us, Bolan albums/singles can be linked with specific times of our lives. Being 12 when Zinc Alloy was released, it coincided with all those turbulent thangs in one's cranium. At school when a load of girls from me class came belting up to me as we approached the school, waving the daily papers they had taken from beneath their parent's noses, urgently yelling 'Simon!! T.Rex has cut all his hair off!' etc, so what I'm diversifying into is that to get the cover with THOSE freaky realistic eyes burning out from the sleeve and then all the Polaroids inside......then the lyrics...wow, as the Beatles said, 'It's getting better all the time'.
Needless to add that family and friends thought Marc had gone TOO far this time, 'First girl I ever loved I don't recogniiiise - her nose is smashed her frame is bent, she's covered in fliiiiies...' followed by the crowning glory of 'everyone I ever loved I'll love till I die...' to the descending chords. We had to take lp's into the music lesson and talk about 'your favourite song'. So I waltzed in with ZA, flaunting the front cover on the walk to school, pretty much like a few years later on with 'Damned Damned Damned' , thinking I was stopping traffic on the streets as they gasped agog at the wonderous Marc cover.
But as usual I wander from the mental path. We are talking about music! The track I chose that Friday at school was 'Painless Persuasion v Meathawk Immaculate' and when asked why??? by a confused / bemused teacher, I couldn't vocalise everything it did to me. After five minutes of a speedy babble about 'Men big as Cedar trees' she told the class to leave early and made a surreptitious appointment for me to see the school psychologist. So away from the realms of school in darkest Nottingham '74 and onto the music. 'We picked up Kenny at an art deco deli' - Marc had such a way of finding or utilising words that went together so well, added to a slutty, hanging around a dark alley doing something you probably shouldn't be doing (in the eyes of the Brain Police, Billy) soundtrack. 'And I wanna lay my lips on your explosive mouth'
The whole sound of the album seemed sophisticated yet raw. Cranking the volume control up between 'Spanish Midnight' and 'Intersteller Soul' to hear the 'fuckin' lovely!' and recklessly leaving it up there so the first 'poooooohhhmmmm! Running around in the dawn...... ' kicked in and knocked the ornaments offa next door's shelves.
And again the rich list of characters! Uncle Bimbo, Gardenia, etc.
It does get better with age, although maybe I am biased, but I never disliked any album. They do grow over the years and maybe all those who discard Marc along side Messrs. Cassidy, Osmond etc. should seriously check out Tanx, ZA and B'sZG. The latter which also is a vastly, vastly underrated jewel. I'm about to launch into the praises of 'Golden Belt' but as we were talking about Zinc Alloy, and it is about 2.30am and me gotta be up tres early, sad old bop drop that I am, I bid Tillers goodnight till dawn.
=== Review by Syd ===
I'd waited what seemed like eons for the new T Rex LP to be released (you know when your younger months seem like years or is it now your older, years seem like months?). Tanx was released last century - where are these new vibes? At last it arrived - a new Bolan with a new name - Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow or a Creamed Cage in August. Short curly hair on the front cover, long curly hair on the back cover, a transition from the old to the new.
My first thoughts - this is electric Tyrannosaurus Rex - I was in heaven. It soon dissipated, I wanted Telegram Sam back. The Truck Off Tour was awesome, heavy metal T Rex, dualling guitars Marc Bolan vs Jack Green, but this new Album???
Twenty Three years later and Zinc Alloy is still growing on me. We all thought that Marc was years ahead of his time, but this is the Album for me, which is still somewhere in the future. Tony Visconti said that Tanx was the last great T Rex Album. I disagree, Zinc Alloy was.
It is clearly a Visconti production unlike those that followed. I believe commercially, Teenage Dream was a poor choice for a single. Venus Loon being the obvious choice. In fact each of the three following albums had clear single material which were never chosen. Why?
Because of the commercialism of Venus Loon it was my favourite track for many months. Each track on the album has quality in depth. Even now I am still picking out details from various tracks which I can not previously recall. I can remember young lady friends of the era always liking 'Explosive Mouth'.
My recent purchase of 'Change' has reinforced my relationship with Zinc Alloy and I look forward to an ever increasing love affair with it.
It's a pity that we refer to the album as Zinc Alloy because Marc always wanted it to be referred to as A Creamed Cage in August. Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow was his particular re-incarnation of T Rex. The official tour t shirts actually state - Marc Bolan and T Rex on tour as Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow - and that tour was heavy Zinc.
The cover to the album was to me one of the best, after the trashy photo sessions for the Tanx Album with collapsing Tank, Zinc Alloy was back to the quality cover expected from a Bolan Album. Look into the eyes! It makes me feel that he is still with us. Hey James! Try looking into those eyes after a dot or two. The limited edition Album has natural brown eyes. Both work, just keep looking.
=== Review by MarcO (part 1) ===First girl I ever loved I don't recognise, her nose is smashed her frame is bent she's covered in flies.
Metal Guru's in the loo with my glue yeah.
I love this album, although I must admit at first I wasn't to keen on it, but it's grown on me over the years. Also, I prefer to listen to my L.Ps. straight off the deck but for this album headphones are a must. I used to own the limited edition of this with the 4 way opening jacket made up of strips, when closed made up Marcs face, limited they say due to a cardboard shortage in 74, I never did beleive that, anyway it got (mislaid) at a (friends) house, you have been warned, I often wonder whatever happened to the teenage dream? So now I only have the C.D. version and I don't have the record to compare but I'm sure this version's been fucked about with.
Anyway, this album contains some slick guitar work, Marc must have really worked hard on this album and he's credited with co-producing but I have my doubts. This is a very abstract album and no matter how much you tried to re-arrange the order you'd probably end up back as it is. It also sounds as though they recruited a full orchestra for this, somethjing I'm not against 'cos I allways thought Marcs music is so melodic that the strings etc enhanced the melody.
This album is a little gem with 14 tracks all of which vary beyond belief. I'm not very good with words (thats why I'm a builder) so I find it very difficult writing these reviews and putting down what I really feel but I know what I like and I like this one. For the record I don't think Teenage Dream should have been released as a single but that's me. Fave track,sound pit, worst track, Interstellar soul, sorry Gloria but you never did fit in on the music side.
Rating 8-10. Marco.
=== Review by MarcO (part 2) ===O.K. People here we go again, this time I'm sending it in two parts so if it crashes I wo'nt have wasted too much time & effort.
First I'd like to analyse how Zinc, or rather the zinc sound, came to be.
1. My references to Gloria brought cries of, well a cry, oh all right then, a response of "Gloria was Yoko to Marc musically". Well I wouldn't go as far as that but I would say that to my mind, musically she didn't fit in T.Rex although I must say I very much like their rendition of To Know You Is To Love You, but lets not forget that wasn't penned by Marc. So how did gloria, & Pat come to appear on the album?
It's clear that Marc was looking for a replacement for Flo and Eddie for backing vocals, incidentally if anyone can shed any light as to why they"split" I'd be greatfull. I don't know what Marcs relationship with June was at the time, or with Gloria come that, who introduced Marc to Gloria? It would be feasible for Marc to meet Gloria and say somethng like "hey, how would you like to be on my new album?" especially if it was love at first sight, what better excuse than that could you use to get to spend some time with someone you had a thing for?
2. It seems clear to me that Marc put a lot of time and effort into Zinc even though Marc said the opposite, he was quoted as saying "After 'Tanx' the band was stale; but there was a product commitment....I had to release two albums a year and five singles. I didn't really want to play on 'Zinc Alloy' which was very patchy". Well we all know Marc was prone to telling the odd 'whopper' especially in defence of criticism. The reason I believe Marc rehearsed long and hard for Zinc is his musicianship on the album was superb, just get those headphones out and listen. The album got bad reviews when released which would have hurt Marc after all the time and effort he put into it.
To be continued...... I'm sending this now cos of wot appened last time.
3. The first four Tyrannosauras Rex albums were recorded whilst Marc was striving to be recognised, lyrically, these albums cannot be bettered by any other artist at any time on any album, all four were masterpieces, but I'm biased. Warrior was written, well most of it, while Marc was high on his own euphoria and adrenalin, this album "HAS" to be in the top 20 of all time great rock 'n'roll albums, 'Dandy' is Bolan at his musical best, this album is streets ahead of Warrior in terms of musical ability and hardly a trace of Gloria.
4. To sum up, all Marcs finest albums, and singles were recorded while Marc was mentally at one with himself, especially Dandy, he was back in the limelight, living happily with the woman he loved, the father of a wonderfull son, "I wonder what he's like now?" he actually had a home to go to, he looked great, plenty of T.V. what more could he have wanted, another No.1 maybe?. It's quite obvious Marc wasn't happy at the time of Zinc, his popularity on the wane, overweight, drinking, and the rest, so, if you "THINK ZINC" is as good an album now, as I do, what would happen if we could give it back to him now and say "go back to the studio and get it right this time" what sort of album would we be looking at then? It makes one wonder doesn't it? But as I've said before, thats the romance of it all now. Marco.
Some of you who read this may think it's a bit self opinionated, well it is, I'm that sort of person, I just hope I didn't upset anyone with my comments, especially my remarks towards Gloria, she's a fine artist in her own right, I loved my wife but I wouldn't have taken her to work with me. I look forward to your opinions, be gentle with me.
=== Review by Zoom ====First time I couldnt get it. felt kinda too gaudy but it came back to me once in while. Perplexed yet haunted. That's a very good sign happens to me all the time, appreciating very best in all art formats. Because you're exploring place you've never been.
I thing Zinc is, aside of my fav. Futuristic Dragon, a quintessential TRex, it shines top of the Glam plateaux. How much this album influenced all those artists after him and still it sounds best, very new. I dont know and I am curious that how much Marc was aware his achievement on this album.
=== Review by Ian ====A Creamed Cage In August : This record (Yes it's Vin-ill) brought us a new direction, still there are the elements of T-REX of Electric Warrior, but a real punchiness and unrelentless drive is there too. Venus Loon is one of my faves. Electric Warrior was the first album I ever brought and still play it now, scratched it is, but it has a magical timelessness about it. Slider and Tanx are good but are progressions more easily discernable from EW. A Creamed Cage had (and still has) that fresheness of something new.
=== Review by Rick ====TILLERS
Ok, this wasn't by choice picking this LP (with its fitting title) but in checking what Mark Mcl has archived only MarcO, Simes Syd & yup even our shy Ian reviewed this Lp the first time around.
So that leaves MANY of our regular reviews and hopefully some new ones to add their thoughts on what I feel is one of Marc's most misunderstood recordings -
The first time I heard (what is like a Raw Ramp trilogy for me) of "Spanish Midnight" segues into "Carsmile Smith" and then ending with "You've gotta Jive to Stay Alive" I said this is gonna make Marc ...
The passion of "X-Plosive Mouth" (calm down Debbs)"When I jump upon your horse I Gallop of course"
The Boogie/Rock of "Sound Pit" and two masterpieces "Teenage Dream' & "The Leopards" I am partial to the slower tracks on this LP..I think with those Marc was in a way reverting back to a known formula so they had a fuller sound to them.. "Galaxy" "You're world , I mean My world" (brilliant) then again moving along perfectly into "Change" ..... ""look, Look ,Look I could write a Book about my life" ( Marc you did with all your words)
Where I think Marc falls a bit flat -though I do think had he been given more time he would have really FOUND his "Interstella Soul" - are on the tracks that try to showcase his "new sound" Ie: "The Avengers" , but IMO Marc made up for this with one of my fave Lyrics in the first verse
"When the Angels of the heavens meet the Angels of the Earth You'll hide inside your cave , that's right of course"
Do I rate this Lp in my top 5 -yup !! I can't fault Marc for trying to break out of the "T-Rex Sound" Tony and He so carefully created, But as Tony told me that he was the SOLE producer of the record and was quite surprised to see Marc gave himself co-producing credits and that they both agreed to try to "push the envelope" a bit with this LP. I think that at this point in Marc's career Tony just let some songs go by just to get out of the studio so they could finish the LP (their relationship was strained)and then Tony was hoping Marc would have returned to "Children of Rarn" ... (and learn a few more chords) -Tony's words not mine ;-)
So.... some of my thoughts on this Months LP
Oh did I mention which Lp it is ?? <g>
"ZINC ALLOY AND THE HIDDEN RIDERS OF TOMORROW OR A CREAMED CAGE IN AUGUST"
Enjoy ............. Rickster
=== Review by Michel ====A CREAMED CAGE IN AUGUST
Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow
My impressions may seem negative but I think everybody involved in this recording went wild at one point to make sure there would be a new T.Rex sound without really knowing what this sound should be. So to me it is an imperfect experimental album with gems in it.
I have heard this album for the first time only a year ago and it really left me puzzled then as I had to digest it alongside ZIP GUN, FUTURISTIC DRAGON and DANDY all at once.
My very first impression was: it could have been really good without the screeching backing vocals and a better vision or unity in the production... To try to please the USA, Marc uses his Bob Dylan phrasing and attitude and images all the way. It is a daring album and no wonder the fans must have been puzzled as well - specially after Electric Warrior, Slider and Tanx - the latter being so beatlishly British.
Venus Loon begins and agresses the listener right from the start and you know you're in for an American wild ride. Too bad Gloria's voice doesn't really blend with Marc's but this is just a matter of taste. Nevertheless I can imagine how Explosive Mouth could have been a killer of a song (it already is good but could have been really better) as Change could also be.
As for the anthem Teenage Dream I cannot refrain from thinking how good it would sound if Marc had taken a better voice - his over exagerated wild cocaine voice as well as the strange miking cheapen the greatness of the song. Such a good and intelligent song.
Liquid Gang - once again such an interesting song in which you have to suffer some tasteless backings...
I won't go to each and every song because actually, most of the songs are good and only suffer vision in the production itself. the only exception being The Leopards, cool, perfect, the best production - including backings... very Dylanesque.
When I listen to ZINC - specially Explosive Mouth, Change, Avengers and Leopards, I enjoy it very much indeed but I just wanted to share my views. I know they may seem harsh - specially regarding Gloria and Pat Hall - but this is what I hear - nothing personal.
=== Review by Irving ====Hi everyone,
I read with interest Michel's views on the Zinc Alloy album, although to be quite frank, I share few of them.
Sometimes I too find the backing vocals of Gloria Jones (& friends) to be a bit much, but this is more so on the later Light Of Love/Bolan's Zip Gun albums.
On Zinc Alloy I don't feel that they get in the way - the backing vocals are more restrained that on BZG (perhaps 'controlled' is a better term).
Marc's obviously trying for a different sound than that of Tanx and I find it enjoyable. In particular, its hard to imagines Venus Loon and Explosive Mouth without these 'soulish' style of backing vocals and they really help to make these stand out songs.
The voice Marc choose for Teenage Dream suits the song. It has a certain weariness to it - surely the whole point .... "but, whatever happened to the teenage dream".
My sole criticism of Teenage Dream would relate to Edsel choosing to include the extended version on the CD issue - sure, put this on a CD of alternate versions, but please give us the original single version on Zinc Alloy.
Are the backings on Liquid Gang tasteless? I guess we all have different views on what is good or bad taste - suffice to say I don't have a problem with them, I see the backings as an integral part of the song.
>>To try to please the USA, Marc uses his Bob Dylan phrasing and attitude and images all the way<<
I've never thought of Marc's Zinc Alloy as being anything remotely like Dylan. Of course a few years later Dylan was trying for a 'gospel' sound - perhaps he'd been listening to Zinc Alloy??
Of course Marc was trying for a tougher, more 'American' sound on Zinc Alloy but from the 'soul/gospel' direction rather than Dylan. Interestingly enough his American record company (Reprise) rejected the album.
I bought this album the day of its release in 1973 and have always found it really ejoyable.
Obviously, our opinions differ and thanks Michel for sharing yours.
=== Review by David Best ====Hi Tillers,
Being an ex-brit from 1971, Zinc was a hard album for me to find in Canada. North Americans were given the Light of Love album on Casablanca Records. This album contained what was considered the better material off of Zinc and Zip. The Zinc cuts were Venus Loon, Explosive Mouth, and Teenage Dream. So the North American execs didn't think much of the other eleven tracks on this album. Were they wrong? Let's see....
When I want to listen to T.Rex, I don't usually reach for this record. I prefer to hear the songs here, mixed in with others on a compilation..it's an album that starts off okay, then gets annoying, then brings me down. Not in my top ten list.
Boogie on, Electric Boogie, Boogie on.
=== Review by David-Do ====This started out as a review and I got kinda side tracked, enjoy or delete.
A Creamed Cage In August.
Warring tribes rule the subways and the city streets, The Leopards,The Mighty Slugs, The Psychedelic mailmen.............but it's a teenage night and the Vampires are right! They have sickness in society, just sickness, but a change is comin', you'd better run when the angels from the heavens meet the angels from the earth.
The curfew comes at the crack of night,and you take to the shadows in the alley at midnight, the Meathawk Immaculate stalks the streets and the night games begin. It's a teenage night. The Liquid gang will win again, and there will be bloodshed.The metal clad rocker gets bent teeth.
Carsmile Smith lies dead in a gutter, thin faced Sally was tired of cats! Bessy stood by the side of his grave and hung her hand into a knot of grief. Greasy Gert lead her away, "Don't take the hand of The Liquid gang"...."I'm young and built of steel" she replied. "I want your world, I mean your world", they beat on their chests, just to punk up the rest. "The leader of our pack lives down the local drain" come with me shouted Greasy Gert. "I can sense landslides of devilry" cried Bessy, "whats going on", "You better look to your soul" came the reply. Bessy stared at greasy Gert in her slipshod gymsip and smiled ,"Theres a universe of happiness beneath my be-bop dress"......... "I wouldn't lie". "I need to be rid of all the fantasies I'm hiding" confessed Bessy, "Oh you're like a sanctuary, which galaxy are you from"
They walked together, hand in hand on the streets built on ebony towards the local drain. It was pitch black, sirens wailed like the ghostly dead, they stumbled over corpses, victims of the Meathawk Imaculate. Cycle Michael and Mincing Quincy fought over a bop drop. From out of the shadows a figure clutching a wound to the side of his head lunged at Gert, he fell pitifully to the floor, "What was that?" shrieked Bessy, "That was old Doug Henry" laughed Gert.
"This is an awful place",sighed Bessy" as the air chilled and an erie silence stung the street......"Surprise surprise...the boys are home", Kenny and Zero blocked the girls way, Staring at Gert ,Kenny spat "I ain't never seen a freak look as weird as you" ..."You're so full of interstellar soul" Gert spat back. Zero wore a silk and diamond guilded gauntlet and proudly and raised it as if to impress the two, he clenched Bessys throat.."Lean on my head, kiss my knee and you breath again" he hissed . Like lightening Bessys forehead cracked open Zero's skull. The jet-junk jiver sped past in his machine,"The heats on mister" he yelled at Zero. Zero clung on to the back of his machine as the Jet-junk jiver sped off.
Impressed and relieved Bessy and Gert..taunted the two as they fled. "You'll hide inside your cave, ah ha!!.
"We're The Avengers" the girls proudly exclaimed. "I'm funky born free" Gert whispered to Bessy as they embrased"..."And you can needle treacle kiss me with the honey from you mouth....it'll make you feel good" She led Bessy over to a persian bench sunk her teeth into Gerts throat "Some go to heaven, some get get it light, nobody disapproves!.......it's a teenage night".....The vampires were right. Whatever happened to the teenage dream?
=== Review by Pierre ====Here we are again : at the difficult work of critizing Marc's lps !
Zinc Alloy was the first T.Rex lp I personnally bought. My brother Herve was in before but let it down after 'Tanx'. It was still possible to buy this one in supermarkets in France when it was released. Later ones would only be in record shops, and Futuristic wasn't even released in France. So I bought my one in a supermarket.
The cover and the title puzzled me a lot. Why did Marc choose to get it out under the rather obscure name of 'Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow' instead of the much known T.Rex ? I read that EMI decided to had the red banner with 'Marc Bolan & T.Rex" And Bill Legend had left. at that time I always had thought that T.Rex was a band and I saw this departure as a hurt. And Marc was producing with Tony Visconty. What was going on ?
The cover is strange enough : Marc has short hair and the bue of his eyes is unreal. I don't like it too much but I love the back picture and the inner polaroids. I spent hours looking at them trying to find who was who . I wondered for a while if Gloria was the big booped one <G>. And seeing Marc's breast disturbed me in my teenage years when I was still searching my path .
Well, the music now :
I can't say that Zinc is one of my favorites. In fact I barely listen to it, Zip Gun, Futuristic and even Dandy. By now I'm much more into the new stuff I receive from Paul Johnson, and compils. Listening to,it again , especially the a-side , and having to xplain my feelings, allows me to clear them even for myself.
I think it's generally over-produced and some tracks I really do not dig.
=== Review by Stewart ====I must admit that when i first heard this album i did feel a bit let down,but over the years it has grown on me.
When i first got the alt.version of Zinc i thought,WOW Marc there was the album,what happened,but then it was in that point of time that Marc and music was changing.
What started out as a Marc Bolan and T.Rex album ended up been a Gloria and Marc album,with all those overdub's of Gloria's vocals i think it really changed the feel and outcome of the album.
There are some really Classic Marc songs on there,but they tend to get buried in the mix.
As i write this i reliesed that i have done this before,but i really can't remember wether i ever sent it in or finished it<G>.
With all that has happened in the last little while to me i hope you forgive my lack of memory LOL.
If you have never heard the Alt version of Zinc[Change] you really owe it to your self to hear it,if anything it gives you an idea how the album started out to sound like and how it may of gone.
=== Review by Rabbit ====Hi All,
OK, it's cutting it fine but here are my thoughts on this killer album.
When it came out I was a student and just turned 20. I clearly remember going to the main record shop in the college town of Rugby and the LP was on prominent display in the window. When I asked the young female shop assistant for it, her first reaction was that it was a student prank and I couldn't possibly be for real.
You see by the time of it's release Bolan was no longer the media darling of the previous couple of years and the press pack had their knives out, wanting blood.
As the NME and Record Mirror set the musical trends for us supposed enlightened music users, it meant that Bolan was no longer cool. For someone of my age it had to be King Crimson, Lou Reed and Led Zep on my shopping list.
I took it back to my dormitory room and played it on headphones of my stereo, as the other students nearby would have given me hell if they were forcibly contaminated by this teeny bop sound. I, on the other hand loved the album. It starts with the lost single Venus Loon and carries on weaving a rich tapestry of sound that unleases your mind to conjure up your own interpretations. This is the same magic as conjured by the impressionists paintings of the late 19th Century. The consumer is treated as an intellectual and not a spoon fed moron.
Unlike the music papers of the time, I will not tell you what to make of this tour deforce. Just play and enjoy.
The Rabbit on acid
=== Review by Terry ====This could have been and nearly was one of Marc's best albums.I believe that he was so intent in showing the world that he was not a teenybopper and that his writing ability could encompass soul/funk/whatever that he probably lost the plot and went OTT.If only he remembered the 60s albums that proved he had the ability to write in alternative styles to Metal Guru etc.
I prefer overall the alternative Zinc album but then I have always been a fan of the more raw material. Venus Loon is great and should have been a single. NO MORE SAID!!
I agree with most of the other Tillers that this album was too over produced. Likewise the obsession with backing vocals was a shame because some great tracks were spoiled. The alt version of Liquid Gang is superb with some great basic guitar work. The final version strays too far making the song slightly bland. I have always liked Change but I don't know how Marc got away with stealing the bass line from "I'd rather be a spider than a fly"!!! I still think that this is a great album and it sits in my top three T.Rex albums for sure. If he could do it again I think it could be number one but then again Electric Warrior will always be a difficult one to dislodge.
I'll post some concert pics from UK 1977 this weekend definitely.
=== Review by Chris ====A Creamed Cage In August.
I'm a sporadic journal keeper and here's my bitova diary from February 1974 when I went round to my mate's house to hear his new T.Rex LP. I knew I'd written loads about it at the time and last week I found the diary. I spent some time at the weekend translating this from 15 year old Chrislish into English for you as faithfully as I could.
I've never heard the complete album again (that might be a clue as to the general tone of the following).
First some background.
Julie Deacon. 3 day week. Marion Robbins. Ted Heath. Julie Deacon. Joe Gormley. Sally Robbins. Golden Earring. Julie Deacon.
'Truck On' had left me unmoved and 'Teenage Dream' was, well, good in a good sort of way but you can't dance to it can you?
Also, the friends I aspired too were moving into prog rock, so there was no peer group pressure on me to love this record.
And to be honest I was already pretty anti when I got round to Ray's house.
The two titles idea annoyed me as just plain poncy. And hadn't there been some rubbish about deciding which album you were listening to? 'A Creamed Cage in August' was a great name, but the 'Zinc Alloy etc' bit merely tugged the forelock at Bowie's agenda with it's 'Ziggy Stardust etc' similarity. Why oh why was Bolan jumping on this adopted persona bandwagon of Bowie's? (I didn't quite write that like that tho! :+). The cover was a disappointment too. From the mind dancing simplicity of EW to this pasty faced Aladdin Sane take. Jees.
I really do prefer singles to albums. It's a totally different musical form. Very few artists, I mean incredibly few, can straddle both forms with mastery, even Bowie copped out by releasing edited album cuts as 45's. Bolan was one of the golden few who could punch out an in your face distinctive single AND give an album of very diverse songs the oneness and completeness of a single tune. Except 'Zinc - August'. You see he can't even decide on one bloody title.
In my personal history of Bolan this is the album that first suggested temporary separation. It didn't work for me in the slightest, it didn't even sound like a conscious attempt at an album, just some half finished tracks slung together.
'Explosive Mouth' was the stand out track, capturing the mystic and material mix that Boley was so good at. (When it appeared on the b-side of 'Light of Love' I was so happy because I could skip buying the album.)
'Teenage Dream' remains in that halfway house of my soul marked 'Beyond here lies true love'.
'Interstellar Soul' was thought of favourably at the time and has recently entered the Chadders Little Belter category.
'Gardinia and the mighty Leopards' (song title?) left me feeling very confused. Bolan paints Bowie and not very well.
If I was dischuffed, it was the second play of Venus Loon that finished me off.
'The first girl I ever loved I don't recognise, her frame is bent her face is smashed she's covered in flies'.
The strange symbiosis between Bowie and Bolan denies the sort of influence Bolan is attempting in that lyric.
From there on the whole thing sounded a mess, too many styles shouting for attention and none of them getting enough of it, many more hard hours at the mixing desk are needed. It sounds like a co-pro without much co between the pros.
When I heard 'Zip Gun Boogie' some months later I knew this separation was going to last. Though actually I kept playing the records I loved and forgot the drivel (as it seemed at the time) that passed for T.Rex for the next 2 years.
Piecing together the few tracks from this album that I have on various compilations has helped this short review. Most of the above is from diary assisted memory. I'm sorry to say my opinion hasn't greatly improved.
Now that buying an album no longer represents a major financial investment I may well pick up the Edsel release. Possibly.
I have since bought this album and played it a few times but find it a difficult listen. Is still sounds a mish-mash to me, more like an 'Unchained' than a proper going album. If it has any sense of totality it's as a giant swing at Bowie, the title's a rip, the cover's a steal and the screeching black mock soul within is as anti arty-white-boy-with-guitar-rock as it gets. After 1974's Diamond Dogs, Bowie took the blue eyed soul option, any clues why?
However, I can see now why it's a love it or hate it album.
from Mel and Sverre
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