1973, Music

Tanx (1973) by T Rex

There are bands that are good at doing many things and bands that are good at doing one or two things. I think if you only listened to T. Rex and not Tyrannosaurus Rex, you’d probably think that T. Rex was one of these latter bands and Bolan was one of these songwriters – pretty damn good at one thing but less good when the reach exceeds the grasp.

That’s not true of at least the first part of this band’s career, of course, since Tyrannosaurus Rex was a very different beast from T. Rex. But listening to this record, it feels as though Glam Rock really is the thing T. Rex should be doing.

That’s not to say that all the deviations into soul and funk don’t work – a couple of them work rather well. It’s just that they feel like they belong on a different record. Bolan and company have one foot and two arms in their peak Glam Rock sound and one foot in this new sound. The contrast is sometimes jarring and also makes the stylistic deviations feel less serious, as if they were jokes or whims.

I want bands to stretch out as much as anyone. But not everyone can do it. And I’m not sure they succeed here. And that makes me a little surprise that this album has the reputation it does. (Some say this is a better record than [i]the Slider[/i] for example, which I find an odd idea.)

It could be more consistent is what I’m saying.

6/10

All tracks written by Marc Bolan.

  1. “Tenement Lady” 2:55
  2. “Rapids” 2:48
  3. “Mister Mister” 3:29
  4. “Broken Hearted Blues” 2:02
  5. “Shock Rock” 1:43
  6. “Country Honey” 1:47
  7. “Electric Slim and the Factory Hen” 3:03
  8. “Mad Donna” 2:16
  9. “Born to Boogie” 2:04
  10. “Life is Strange” 2:30
  11. “The Street and Babe Shadow” 2:18
  12. “Highway Knees” 2:34
  13. “Left Hand Luke and the Beggar Boys” 5:18
  • Marc Bolan – vocals, guitar
  • Mickey Finn – conga, hand percussion, vocals
  • Steve Currie – bass
  • Bill Legend – drums
  • Tony Visconti – mellotron, string arrangements, backing vocals, recorder, producer
  • Howard Casey – saxophone
  • Elton John – piano

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