Sunday, July 17, 2011

T. Rex- Electric Warrior (1971) 30th Anniversary Edition / Electric Warrior Sessions (1999) MP3 & FLAC

"I danced myself right out the womb. Is it strange to dance so soon?"

Music scenes rarely originate with the release of a single album, and in the case of Glam-Rock, there had certainly been some earlier indications that something new and distinctive was on the horizon, most notably in the form of two Tony Visconti-produced albums released in 1970: T. Rex's self-titled  entry into the arena of electric rock and David Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World. According to Visconti, "Glam-rock was a name invented by the press to describe what artists and producers had already created. It was a crazy period musically and dressing up and wearing make-up was a great form of self-expression. David Bowie and Marc Bolan were the first artists to create the music and the dress code."  However, it wasn't until  T. Rex's Electric Warrior appeared in September 1971 that the U.K. Glam scene "came out of the closet" if you will, functioning as a flamboyantly subversive antidote to the dwindling relevance of psychedelia and the painfully non-ironic pretentiousness of the Prog-Rock movement. The first glimmer of the "T. Rextasy" phenomenon that would sweep the U.K. the following year was the unanticipated smash success of the single "Hot Love," which Bolan and percussionist Mickey Finn had recorded with a number of studio musicians filling in as a backing band in order to further develop T. Rex's newly-minted electric sound. With a number-one record now in his pocket, Bolan took this band back into the studio (actually, several studios) to record what would eventually become Electric Warrior. Much as he had done for Bowie (with significant help from Mick Ronson) the previous year, Visconti set about creating a heavier, fuller, sultrier sound for T. Rex, employing strings (which he himself composed), multi-tracked and back-masked guitar solos, and the peerless backing vocals of ex-Turtles Flo & Eddie. The album's iconic cover, designed by Hipgnosis (who would later do the artwork for Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon), features Bolan in dark silhouette, standing in front of an amp stack while blissfully bending a note on his Les Paul, everything emanating an aura of gold-dust. The cover could not have been more indicative of the music etched in the record's grooves or more prescient of the success that lay ahead for the band. Previous to Electric Warrior, Bolan's work often had an overriding escapist feel to it (this is also true of Bowie's early work), and while the album does carry over certain aspects of the trippy acoustic aesthetic of Tyrannosaurus Rex, it is, overall, a much darker affair than anything Bolan had previously recorded. This new sound was more or less created during the recording of the album's lead single "Get It On," which begins like a slow-motion Chuck Berry number, complete with a piano glissando contributed by Rick Wakeman. Visconti's slightly fuzzy production lends the song a sweaty sexuality that, despite the occasional nonsensicality of the lyrics, renders it as a timeless paean to the joys of shagging. What should also be mentioned is the beautifully understated groove that comprises the song; Bolan's short, sharp guitar bursts and seductive, whispery vocals belie the fact that "Get It On" is a rocker at heart. "Cosmic Dancer," on the other hand, is, in some ways, a throwback to A Beard of Stars-era Tyrannosaurus Rex, but with some significant differences, such as Bolan's vocals, which are much more subtle and emotionally raw than what is found in his earlier work. Also, Visconti's addition of strings gives the song a grandiose effect that borders dangerously on cheese at times, but Bolan's wistful acoustic strumming ultimately keeps it centered. One of the most overlooked songs on Electric Warrior but one that certainly presages the D.I.Y. music revolution that would descend on the U.K. in the late seventies is "Rip Off." Featuring an uncharacteristically aggressive vocal performance from Bolan, in which he angrily (and often nonsensically) sings through a laundry-list of stream-of-consciousness grievances, this isn't a song that operates so much on message as it does on the energy with which the lyrics are delivered. While the arrangement is far too polished for what would later be termed Punk-Rock, there is little doubt that T. Rex was a key influence on bands such as The Ramones and their progeny. While T. Rex's next album, The Slider, may be the best distillation of their early-seventies sound, Electric Warrior crackles with the energy of a new-found vision and the significance of having given birth to one of the most influential movements of the rock era.

Electric Warrior 
(A&M ~ 2001/1971 ~ 30th Anniversary Remastered and Expanded Edition)

 1. Mambo Sun  (3:42)
 2. Cosmic Dancer  (4:30)
 3. Jeepster  (4:12)
 4. Monolith  (3:49)
 5. Lean Woman Blues  (3:02)
 6. Get It On  (4:26)
 7. Planet Queen  (3:14)
 8. Girl  (2:33)
 9. The Motivator  (4:01)
10. Life's a Gas  (2:25)
11. Rip Off  (3:42)
-Bonus Tracks-
12. Rip Off (Work in Progress)  (2:30)
13. Mambo Sun (Work in Progress)  (3:57)
14. Cosmic Dancer (Work in Progress)  (5:15)
15. Monolith (Work in Progress)  (4:48)
16. Get It On (Work in Progress)  (4:44)
17. Planet Queen (Work in Progress)  (0:57)
18. The Motivator (Work in Progress)  (4:19)
19. Life's a Gas (Work in Progress)  (3:15)

Electric Warrior: Sessions  
(Pilot ~ 1999)

Disc I:

 1. Get It On  (6:14)
 2. Monolith  (4:54)
 3. Cosmic Dancer  (4:25)
 4. Life's a Gas  (2:48)
 5. Honey Don't  (6:48)
 6. Woodland Rock  (2:22)
 7. Monolith (Second Version)  (2:26)
 8. Summertime Blues  (3:32)
 9. Jeepster  (3:43)
10. Baby Strange  (2:27)
11. Jewel  (5:07)
12. Get It On (Second Version)  (5:37)

Disc II: Bonus Disc

1. Get It On (Third Version)  (4:29)
2. Interview with Marc Bolan on Electric Warrior, Pt. I  (11:58)
3. Interview with Marc Bolan on Electric Warrior, Pt. 2  (14:46)
4. Life's a Gas (Electric Version)  (2:16)
5. Mambo Sun (0:23)


  1. Thanks for this complete set!

  2. KiDG, my pleasure. This of one of my absolute favorites. The interviews on the bonus disc are pretty interesting too. V

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