T.Rex - Tanx (1973) (Remaster Edit 2002)
Remastered and expanded reissue of 1973 release. CD digipak in plastic slipcase, featuring the original album plus 7 bonus tracks.
By 1973's Tanx, the T. Rex hit-making machine was beginning to show some wear and tear, but Marc Bolan still had more than a few winners up his sleeve. It was also admirable that Bolan was attempting to broaden the T. Rex sound — soulful backup singers and horns are heard throughout, a full two years before David Bowie used the same formula for his mega-seller Young Americans. However, Tanx did not contain any instantly recognizable hits, as their past couple of releases had, and the performances were not quite as vibrant, due to non-stop touring and drug use. Despite an era of transitionmore… looming on the horizon for the band, tracks such as "Rapids," "Highway Knees," "The Street & Babe Shadow," and "Born to Boogie" contain the expected classic T. Rex sound. The leadoff track, "Tenement Lady," is an interesting Beatlesque epic, while "Shock Rock" criticizes the early-'70s glam scene, which T. Rex played a prominent role in creating. Other highlights include one of Bolan's most gorgeous and heartfelt ballads, "Broken Hearted Blues," as well as the brief, explosive rocker "Country Honey." Tanx marked the close of what many consider T. Rex's golden era; unfortunately, the bandmembers would drift off one by one soon after, until Bolan was the only one remaining by the mid-'70s.
This album to me represents the last great T. Rex album. This was Marc Bolan's attempt at breaking big in America after having conquered the UK charts. It ranks as my favorite T. Rex album, (actually, my favorite album of all time) with some of Marc's most melodic songs.
After the phenomenal success of "Electric Warrior" and "The Slider," Marc's record company expected big things. What Marc gave them was "Tanx;" an album very different from its predecessors. Unfortunately, the critics and many of the fans didn't like the direction Marc took and the album was deemed a disappointment.
Why is this my favorite album of all time? When I first came upon this album several years ago, after all the bad critical press it got, I was expecting the worst. My thought was, Heck, I loved Electric Warrior and The Slider, how bad could this be? I put the needle down on the turntable and was captivated for the next 40 minutes or so.
"Oh, my darling there are many ways..." The album opens with the guitar boogie and spacey lyrics of "Tenement Lady," a combination of two songs. You'll note on disc 2, it's listed as "Tenement Lady/Darling". Two songs fused together into one great one. Lots of great production work on this one.
"Your mama said, clean out your head, boy..." Next is "Rapids," with lots of guitar slide overdubs. Again, lots of spacey lyrics in a Bolan boogie mind poem.
"I'm just lookin' for a change in my luck.." "Mister Mister" is great light acoustic song with a great sing-a-long at the end. Excellent orchestration by Tony Visconti.
"This is a song that I wrote when I was young..." "Broken Hearted Blues" is, to me, one of the most beautiful songs Marc Bolan ever wrote. Beautiful lyrics, beautiful orchestration, Marc in perfect voice... poetry set to music. Possibly the best song Marc ever put on an album. The only complaint I have it that it was too short.
The rest of the album just flows beautifully. From start to finish, I never skip a song. Plus you get the added bonus of the Marc's singles from '73: "Children of the Revolution," "Jitterbug Love," "Sunken Rags," "Solid Gold Easy Action," "20th Century Boy," and the beautiful "Free Angel"...j. Choma
01. Tenement Lady 2.55
02. Rapids 2.49
03. Mister Mister 3.30
04. Broken Hearted Blues 2.02
05. Shock Rock 1.43
06. Country Honey 1.47
07. Electric Slim And The Factory Hen 3.06
08. Mad Donna 2.16
09. Born To Boogie 2.04
10. Life Is Strange 2.30
11. The Street And Babe Shadow 2.17
12. Highway Knees 2.34
13. Left Hand Luke And The Beggar Boys 5.17
14. Children Of The Revolution (Bonus)
15. Jitterbug Love (Bonus)
16. Sunken Rags (Bonus)
17. Solid Gold Easy Action (Bonus)
18. Xmas Riff (Bonus)
19. 20th Century Boy (Bonus)
20. Free Angel (Bonus)