Hometapers you can
give up now. Sure, it’s easy enough to
make up a good tape of T.Rex songs for the car. But the ultimate compilation was achieved long ago. And it’s called ‘Bolan Boogie’.
Dismissed at the
time as another rip off, ‘Bolan Boogie’ has deservedly regained some status as
a real album. Its secret is twofold;
the excellent sequencing that makes it sound like an album not a compilation,
and the inclusion of all six 7” only tracks from the Fly label period
(70-71). The short elapsed time span of
the album, at most two years, gives a feeling of integrity rarely found on
Given the sheer
intensity of the T.Rex phenomenon, it is a surprise to find four, more
thoughtful, Tyrannosaurus Rex songs tucked away. They fit superbly well and provide a pivot of light and air
around which the boogie can swing.
Three of the four come from ‘Beard of Stars’ and are topped up with the
ever delightful ‘She was born to be my Unicorn’ from Steve Peregrine Took
In a classic piece
of daft marketing a winsome picture of live Boley graces the rear cover not the
front. Maybe they didn’t want to dupe
anyone into thinking it was a live album.
The front cover is a small but colourful graphic on an all black
background, which serves as an unremarkable shop window for such a powerful
understandably, ‘Life’s a Gas’ and ‘Is It Love’ are omitted. Strangely because despite not sounding like
it, this is supposed to be a greatest hits album. Understandably because ‘Life’s a Gas’ was the third hit single
side from ‘Electric Warrior’, while ‘Is It Love’ was the only track from the
‘T.Rex’ album released on 45. And
anyway, where would you fit them? The
chat from the start of ‘Summertime Blues’ and ‘Woodland Rock’ that appeared on
the 7” versions, and the tune up that precedes ‘Beltane Walk’ is dropped, but
the absence doesn’t offend.
after Bolan had left Fly to create the T.Rex label ‘Bolan Boogie’ was his last
album to make the UK number one spot, cutting ahead of ‘The Slider’ to do
so. This made ‘Get it On’ a three times
number one song in the space of one year, can any other artist equal that?
UK CD reissues
have been very dismal budget affairs.
Because of that it is probably worth digging a bit deeper into your
pocket and finding a Japanese copy. You
get better sound quality, an attempt to recreate the original rear cover, and
laughable mangled Japlish lyrics which are almost worth the premium on their
No other Bolan
compilation comes close to the breathtaking completeness of ‘Bolan
Boogie’. The choice of tracks and
running order are perfect and there are no faults that stand up after
scrutiny. The only improvement to be
wished for is a properly documented (lyrics, photo memorabilia etc.)
connoisseur’s edition, although this is very unlikely for a long time. Until then ‘Bolan Boogie’ is as essential
for the obsessive Bolan collector as it is for the casual pop music fan. In a world where the vital single is no more
than a dim memory, this album is a sworn testament to why 7” was the defining
measure of pop music for so long.
Get it On, Beltane Walk, King of the
Mountain Cometh, Jewel, She was Born to be My Unicorn, Dove,
Ride a White Swan, [side two]: Raw Ramp, Jeepster, Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart,
By the Light of a Magical Moon, Summertime Blues, Hot Love