Electric Warrior Sessions (2 CD/LP UK 97. Out takes, live in the studio, alternate mixes and interview 70-71)
Despite the title this is definitely not the 'Alternate Electric Warrior', it is more like a musical scrapbook of the period with a lot of very good material.
Mostly, this compilation is of recordings from around 1970/71 that are live takes (with no audible audience), or early takes and mixes. There are a couple of studio warm up numbers where Boley tries out his new rhythm section (Steve Curry and Bill Legend) on some rock’n’roll standards with obvious success. Later on the new band is very impressive as they work through ‘Get it On’. They start out loose on a new song, then pick up the beat and have it all tightly together by the end. Proof positive that T.Rex 71-72 was a good working band.
There are two versions of this collection on single or double disc, the double is detectable only by price and carries a few extra tracks and the nearly half-hour interview. It certainly isn’t clear which is which from any track lists you might find on the net or on the cover, if you cannot tell which you have in your hand ask the assistant to open the pack. The packaging is a bit vague on the actual contents, meaning some tracks are a ‘surprise’. But the discs themselves have a (nearly) full list. The double LP version should be easier to detect by its weight alone.
On the two-disc edition a copy of the BBC 'Get it On' (with the extra verse) is included. It has probably been recovered from a 1960's domestic open reel recorder because it betrays the horribly squashed dynamic of those machines. A closer to source version will be found on ‘Bolan at the Beeb’.
There are many standout tracks, including the long version of ‘Get it On’. Why that closing section (the coda) after “meanwhile I’m still thinking” was dropped from the finished release I’ll never understand - it is one of the finest moments of tension and release in modern pop/rock music. I have seen non-Bolan fans captivated by this version of ‘Get it On’, demanding to hear it again and again.
The ‘live’ performances of ‘Jewel’, ‘Cadilac’ and ‘Jeepster’ are hugely entertaining, and rehearsals of ‘Monolith’ and ‘Life’s a Gas’ add to the fun. There is a twenty-five minute interview with Michael Cuscuna that has two parts and was to promote the release of ‘Electric Warrior’ in the USA. Bolan discusses many projects in the UK that have not since seen the light of day.
Although tending to be a bit shapeless, ‘Electric Warrior Sessions’ is full of great recordings and is a “must have” for any Boley fan that loves this period the best. You get three different performances of ‘Get it On’ for your money, and a lot of reassurance that the “T.Rexstacy phenomenon” was based on a band who could deliver the rocking goods, not just a pretty face. The accompanying booklet has notes from Nikki Sudden, Cliff McLenehan and Bill Legend along with some very good photos to complete a thoroughly satisfying package.
Track list: [Disc 1]; Get it On, Monolith, Cosmic Dancer, Life’s a Gas, Honey Don’t, Woodland Rock, Monolith (2nd version), Summertime Blues, Jeepster, Baby Strange, Jewel, Get it On (2nd version), [Disc 2]; Get it On (Version 3 – BBC), Interview, Interview part two, Life’s a Gas (electric version), (Mambo Sun – 22 seconds of. Not listed).