T.Rex ROCKS! (CD 2001. Slightly quirky budget compilation of the T.Rex '72-'77)

The idea, be honest now, is good. Instead of slicing up the Bolan catalogue by time period, carve it into niches and sell the speciality. Trouble is of course, ALL of Boley's output was niche 'product' so the idea falls over long before it really gets going. Never mind, lets see how they wind up (not quite) flat on their face.

Crimson is a budget label whose releases can be found in many UK supermarkets. This is typical of their product range in that is well presented and documented, looking and sounding a lot better than its price tag suggests. On pure value for money terms, there are plenty of full price compi's vastly inferior to this budget job.

Where it begins to go a bit awry is that the already existing Crimson compilation 'Hits!' has seven of the same tracks as 'Rocks!', making it difficult to see this as a strictly companion volume. Those seven doubles might usefully be replaced by any or all of (say) 'Jeepster', 'Jewel', 'Rip Off', 'Woodland Rock' and 'Beltane Walk' from the Fly catalogue, and 'Thunderwing', 'Satisfaction Pony', 'Tame My Tiger', and if you must, 'Celebrate Summer' from T.Rex Wax Co. days but none is present.

'Rocks!' predates 'Hits!' by one year and claims to be digitally remastered by Denis Blackham in 2001. With seven of the same songs remastered again for 'Hits!' in 2002 I am left wondering what is really meant by "digitally remastered".

Even so it is this an engaging collection, the running order works well, possibly the handiwork of Danielz who must know a thing or to about running order, and the sleeve notes (by Danielz again) are long and informative, with "official" band line-up's for each track - nice touch. Sleeve art is good, with a fair few photo's by Sukita littered about in the booklet and on the cover.

Taken on its own merits this is a good compilation. Seen as part two to the rather good 'Hits!' it is a a disappointment, mostly because it lacks anything from the Fly catalogue but also because doubling up nearly one third of the track list is just plain annoying.

File under opportunity missed, no matter how well presented it is.

Track list: Metal Guru*, Buick Mackane, Midnight, The Groover*, Rock On [alternate 'Rabbit Fighter' version], Mad Donna, Chariot Choogle*, Telegram Sam*, Born to Boogie*, Space Boss, Rapids, Children of the Revolution*, Jitterbug Love, Sunken Rags, Cadilac, Calling All Destroyers, Venus Loon, Hang-Ups, Sensation Boulevard, 20th Century Boy*, Baby Strange, Shock Rock, Dandy in the Underworld [album version], Plateau Skull.

Tracks occurring on 'Hits!' marked *

Copyright 2002 The Till Dawn Organization. All Rights Reserved.