Thursday, November 20, 2008

T.Rex - The Slider

Following the huge phenomenon that was Electric Warrior was no mean feat, but in England Marc Bolan had been a star for a while and continued to have a number of hit singles for years to come. Unfortunately, in America T Rex was a one hit wonder and despite the quality material on this album there was not another chart topper over here.

Opening with “Metal Guru”, all the classic T.Rex elements are here – his distorted electric guitar, delicate voice, groovy beat and fantastic backing vocals by Flo & Eddie. This is the definition of glam rock – hand-clapping rhythms, cool guitars and great, sing-along vocals!

The other side of T.Rex is evident in the next tune, “Mystic Lady” – acoustic guitars and string accompaniment. Bolan could always manage to write a slow acoustic piece without it necessarily being a ballad. Good stuff!

Marc pulls out a rockin’, fuzzed out guitar riff for the basis of “Rock On” and it is indeed very rockin’ in a Rextacy sort of way. He rarely gets too raw or raucous or wild, but always keeps a nice rhythm as he does in “The Slider”. This does seem to just slide along and sucks you in. There is plenty of sexual innuendo in way Bolan delivers the chorus – “when I’m sad, I slide”.

Back to the 50’s styled riff-rock for “Baby Boomerang” – more updated, glittery pop rockabilly! “Spaceball Ricochet” is another acoustic piece, ala “Mystic Lady”. They come back with another heavy riffer in “Buick Mackane”, a great head-banger of a tune!

The biggest hit of the record is “Telegram Sam” and deservedly so! Similar in feel to “Bang a Gong”, this rocks with a great guitar tone, good melody and a supremely catchy chorus. Certainly another highlight of the 70’s!

The slower “Rabbit Fighter” is accented by bursts of cool electric guitar showing that while no virtuoso, Marc was a real player as well as songwriter. Happily upbeat is “Baby Strange”, a truly good-time number. Quite poppy yet still with loud guitars. He seems to be jumping back and forth as “Ballrooms of Mars” is another acoustic-driven song but again with a fine electric solo.

Back to the heavy electrics for “Chariot Choogie” that also employs a cello on the repetitive riff for added emphasis. There’s also a fascinating backwards guitar lead on this one. The vinyl ended with the quieter “Main Man”, a more melancholy ballad, making it a change of pace from the rest of the joyful record.

The first CD of this 2-CD reissue contains to bonus tracks. The first, “Cadillac”, is a stripped down rocker – just pure Bolan r’n’r without all the extra production techniques. “Thunderwing” is another swingin’ rocker, in the same vein as “Baby Boomerang”. This CD closes with “Lady”, which is driven with chunky acoustic chords and is a simple, catchy, fun tune.

The second CD is billed as the “alternative Slider”. This is all demos and basic tracks for the actual album without all of the production work, backing vocals and strings. Quite interesting and shows that while Marc could carry the group without the extra fanfare, the production sweetening is a large part of what we consider the T.Rex sound.

Though much of America missed out, this was a peak of the British Glitter era!