Here’s a title that might be a tongue in cheek swipe at Bolan’s early preference for long album names. Breathe in, here it comes, “Last of the Great Underground Groups, the Definitive Tyrannosaurus Rex, (31 tracks including rare A and B sides)”.
The Underground in this instance isn’t the world’s oldest underground railway. This was the late sixties counter culture movement that in the UK took its roots from California hippydom, English ‘mend and make do-ism’ and foreshadowed the DIY ethic of seventies UK punks.
The cover artwork sends conflicting messages. The front has an authentic 60’s underground buzz about it. However, the rear cover suffers bad colour definition and almost unreadable writing. More like poor pirate copy than modern retro, but don’t let that put you off. The DIY feel is reinforced with what would be a twelve-page booklet printed on one fold out page. For a real underground look of course, it would be badly photocopied as well!
Get inside and in fact this is a thorough going Tyrannosaurus Rex compilation with all the official rarities present and correct. All four albums are represented in equal measure with the tracks taken for B or A sides included. We are spared any outtakes, ‘remixes’ or T.Rex titles.
The heavy paper glossy fold out has copious sleeve notes that refer to the selections presented in a brisk and effective manner. There is a full Tyrannosaurus Rex discography and enticing fragments of photo memorabilia are scattered around the page. The choice of album cuts is fairly good - nearly all the usual suspects are present. Whether they are ‘Definitive’ or not is a subjective decision, but personally I’d say there were few omissions.
This collection really scores on the completeness of rare and hard to find tracks and the accompanying notes by Mark Paytress. It is an ideal choice for the casual collector seeking Tyrannosaurus Rex hits with a decent supporting cast of album tracks. And it is just as essential for the more serious enthusiast because all the rarities are present. In my case I had not heard ‘Do you Remember’ before I bought this album.
On the downside ‘Definitive’ is let down by a rather academic, almost stern, approach to its subject and a running order that tires more than inspires over its full seventy five minutes. Reprogramming is required for this must have CD.
‘Debora’ single A side,
‘One Inch Rock’, single A side,
‘Pewter Suitor’, single A side,
‘King of the Rumbling Spires’, single A side,
‘Do you Remember’, B side of ‘King of the Rumbling Spires’,
‘Find a little Wood’, B side of ‘By the Light of a Magical Moon’,
‘Blessed Wild Apple Girl’, first released 1971 on ‘Best of T.Rex’,
‘Once Upon the Seas of Abysinnia’, first released 1971 on ‘Best of T.Rex’.
‘Mustang Ford’, ‘Child Star’, ‘Salamanda Palaganda’, ‘Stacey Grove’, ‘Cat Black (the wizards hat)’, ‘Warlord of the Royal Crocodiles’, ‘By the Light of a Magical Moon’, ‘Elemental Child’.
‘Strange Orchestras’, ‘She was born to be my Unicorn’, ‘Demon Queen’.