In the days of the deep magic Bolkeinarnia was sunny and fair, the people famous and the hits very big indeed. As the old magic faded a spectre arose who stalked the land and worked a deeper dark magic into the fabric of Bolkeinarnia that taints it to this day. The people fell to the ground crying 'rip-off' and wailing mightily. Now a glorious knight has come to clean Bolkeinarnia of this crime with a still deeper magic. And we should celebrate, for unless somebody turns up with a magic so scarily deep it takes three days to bring it to the surface in one piece we can now say 'Beginning of Doves' is what it should be.
These recordings have been controlled by Simon Napier- Bell since they were made in 1966-67 and since Marc Bolan's rise to fame in the early 1970's have been repeatedly repackaged, overdubbed and treated with a lot of disrespect. Anything that claims or suggests it dates from Boley pre-fame is probably drawn from these recordings. To date it has been generally best avoided.
In 1972 an attempt was made to get them released legitimately as 'Hard on Love' on Track Records, Boley objected and had the album withdrawn. Most copies were subsequently melted down (and the pulp vinyl used for 'Zip Gun Boogie', you can tell if your 'ZGB' is actually a 'HoL' by holding your 'ZGB' over a boiling kettle for ten minutes and peeling back the label (no you can't really, I just made that up)).
Eventually 'Hard on Love' did appear repackaged as 'Beginning of Doves'. It remains the best of a sorry bunch of attempts to release this material and is the most complete collection of these tracks but has little else to recommend it. The notes were short and vaguely inaccurate (Bolan's 'lost album'??) and the sound very harsh.
So now we have 'Beginning of Doves - Expanded Edition'; oh no what now??? Actually what this latest package does is put all those previous rip-offs to rights, or at least as close as you can expect. This is what you get:
slip case with the artwork from the 'Beginning of Doves' LP/CD release,
fold out sheet with the 'Hard on Love' artwork,
plentiful notes by Mark Paytress,
lots of photos of handwritten white labels and letters with record company letter heads etc.
a picture label disc,
see-thru CD tray case with another picture behind it,
vastly improved sound,
recordings in chronological order (works better than that of the 'original' release), with additional musicians named, and the 'session' from which they come dated.
There are 37 tracks in all, the original 'Beginning of Doves' set plus the tracks released on single in support of the album, tracks used on the 'Scare me to Death' overdubs set not yet released un-dubbed, and some other twiddling about too.
If you are interested in Bolan as he got Tyrannosaurus Rex together from the ashes of John's Children this is essential. It doesn't really work as a 'sit down in front of the stereogram' album but it is a fascinating listen, especially if you break down your listening into the sections highlighted in the track list. You will enjoy what is now a (almost) properly annotated part of Bolan history. It sets the standard for how this sort of release (studio demo's and dropped tracks) should be done now and in the future.
Unless indicated * tracks are included on the original 'Beginning of Doves' LP & single.
Marc Bolan (finished recordings/productions)
Jasper C. Debussy, Hippy Gumbo*, Misfit*, The Lilac Hand of Menthol Dan,
Marc Bolan (solo demos or solo acoustic (?))
Black and White Incident, Jasmine 49, Cat Black, You Got the Power, Eastern Spell, Charlie, I'm Weird*, Pictures of Purple People, Horrible Breath*, Hippy Gumbo (alt.version), Mustang Ford, Hot Rod Mama*, Observations*, The perfumed Garden of Gulliver Smith,
Tyrannosaurus Rex (1st session)
Rings of Fortune, Sarah Crazy Child, Lunacy's Back*, Misty Mist (Highways), Beyond the Rising Sun*, One Inch Rock, Sleepy Maurice*, Jasper C. Debussy*, Hot Rod Mama (alt.version), The Beginning of Doves, Sally was an Angel,
Tyrannosaurus Rex (2nd session)
Lunacy's Back (alt.version), Beyond the Rising Sun (alt.version),
Marc Bolan (alternative mixes and versions)
Observations (alt.version)*, Hippy Gumbo (alt.version 2)*, Misfit (alt.version working)*, Jasper C. Debussy (alt.version - alt.mix)*, Observations (alt.version 2)*, Hippy Gumbo (alt.version 3 - ruff mix)*