TYRANNOSAURUS REX - Unicorn
MARC BOLAN started out as a teenage model, then began performing music professionally in 1965, releasing his first single, "The Wizard," on Decca Records. He joined the psychedelic folk-rock combo John's Children in 1967, and the next year formed the folk duo Tyrannosaurus Rex with percussionist Steve Peregrin Took, later replaced by Mickey Finn. The group built a sizable underground following as "T. Rextacy" got in full swing in England. The band had captured the imaginations of both teenagers and the media with its sequined, heavily made-up appearance. The release of Unicorn, the third Tyrannosaurus Rex album (and their Debut US release), was the first to reveal the game plan which Marc Bolan had been patiently formulating for two years - the overnight transformation from underground icon to overground superstar. Not only does it catch him experimenting with an electric guitar for the first time on record, it also sees Steve Peregrin Took add a full drum kit to his usual array of bongos. Minor deviations to be sure, but significant in the fact you can hear the future direction of the group with their effortless hooks and trashy fun. All of Marc Bolan's signatures are here: Mystical folk-tinged ballads, overt sexual come-ons crooned over sleazy, bopping boogies, loopy nonsense poetry, and a mastery of the three-minute pop song form. The opening "Chariots Of Silk" sets the ball rolling, and is as lovely as any of Bolan's early songs, but driven by a tumultuous drum roll, a pounding percussion which might be the sound of distant gunfire, but could as easily be a petulant four year old, stamping around an upstairs apartment. Either way, it must have been a rude awakening for the bliss-soaked hippy acid-heads who were the duo's most loyal audience at the time. The album settles down somewhat afterwards, but that initial sense of alarm never leaves. By the time you reach the closing number, "Romany Soup", a nursery jingle duet for voice and whispered secrets, you feel like you've just left the wildest roller coaster on earth. In between there's "Pon A Hill" remarkable for the backing chorus, and "Catblack (The Wizard's Hat)", a song which had been around since before Bolan joined John's Children, and comes on like a lost Phil Spector classic with ominous percussion and a soaring chorus. "She Was Born To Be My Unicorn", with Hammond Organ and timpani, and "Warlord Of The Royal Crocodiles", are no less resonant than their titles demands. Other selections are "The Seal Of Seasons"; "The Throat Of Winter"; "Stones For Avalon"; "Like A White Star, Tangled And Far, Tulip That's What You Are"; "Evenings Of Damask"; "The Sea Of Beasts"; "Iscariot"; "Nijinsky Hind"; "The Misty Coast Of Albany"; and "The Pilgrim's Tale". Reprising his role on the duo's first album, BBC DJ John Peel reappears to read a brief children's story. Melody Maker's review tagged the once eclectic acoustic duo as "electrified teenybop". The following year they shortened the group's name to T. Rex. This classic LP appears on pre-Gulf & Western BLUE THUMB RECORDS (07), with gatefold cover & POSTER! The record labels, jacket & playing surfaces all appear in overall beautiful near MINT condition!
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