A Bitova Bolan Compilation Guide

Any pop music album is a rip off – discuss. Compare and contrast the Album with the 45rpm single.

Let’s see what you get with a single, a few short exciting minutes followed by the unmissable opportunity to hear it again. And again. And again until it’s time to go and get a new single. If you don’t like it you’ll know within a couple of seconds. Don’t forget the B-side either, if the song chucked in with the one you actually bought is anything better than trash you’re quids in, and again you’ll know within seconds. You have to hear an album all the way through (usually 45 minutes) to find any pearls in the pigswill. And that’s another thing, whoever heard of a single with ‘filler tracks’? What sort of cheat on the paying public is a filler track anyway?

So, what about an album made predominantly from singles? Is there such a thing on earth as it is in Heaven? Yes, our old friend the compilation.

At their best they are an artful collection of the rare and the familiar. They have to please those souls who just want a few hits by a particular artist, while gathering together rarer material, usually the same single sides, in one place to draw in the established collector. Anything too esoteric is a turn off for the casual fan, but only hit singles is no fun for the dedicated. This is the sort of precision balancing act you would expect to see in the big top but is available on your hi-fi every night.

Compi’s that get it right are to be applauded; and so the Chadders Shiny Cup has been invented to recognise high achievements in the world of Bolan compiling. First prize goes to ‘Bolan Boogie’, a brilliantly sequenced mix of T.Rex 45’s and album tracks from 1969-71. The secret may be that it concentrates on electric Bolan with only a brief stray into the acoustic whimsy of yore.

Running it a close second is the ‘Definitive Tyrannosaurus Rex’; another album that defines its period and sticks to it, having all the 7" AND album rarities its allotted timespan generates. ‘Definitive’ has excellent notes (and the lack of notes is becoming more apparent on ‘Bolan Boogie’ as time passes) but the strictly chronological sequencing makes it a rather academic listen.

Despite the small overlap between them (one track), both these albums will be found in the collection of any serious Bolan fan, they offer many tracks difficult (or impossible) to find elsewhere, and yet still serve as an excellent introduction to the music.

Official Bolan from 1972 is now entirely covered by regular issue albums. All the stray single sides have been gathered up and placed on a nearby album, so no compilation can offer the exclusivity of the above two. While the complete A’s and B’s collections put all the singles in one place to satisfy the singles only fan, they lack the feel of a great compilation.

The unreleased recordings have been mined in depth appearing on eight full length CDs in the ‘Unchained’ series. In itself this series is a stream of work alongside the singles and albums with its own ‘Best of…’ compilation. Even alternate versions of known songs have their own ‘Alternate’ series on CD matched to the original album, although I don’t know of a promotional ‘Best of Alternates’ release.

Third place is a joint award for the Music Club 1999 reissue of ‘The Very Best of T.Rex Vol.1’ and its companion Vol.2. Neither release contains anything not easily available but across the two discs good attention is paid to album cuts, single only tracks and the ‘Unchained’ series. An excellent introduction for the newcomer and still good in the car for the long term Boley fan. These albums are reassuringly budget priced but not at all cheap and nasty. If you’re only here because you’re are looking for a copy of ‘20th Century Boy’ buy Vol.1 and enjoy. The rest will surely follow.

A mention in dispatches should go to ‘Get it On’. Although cursed with a bad techno remix of ‘Get it On’, as a compilation of the better ‘Unchained’ material with tracks from ‘Beginning of Doves’ set (pre-Rex demo recordings), a couple of ‘Alternate’ versions and two fan club remixes it serves fairly well as an introduction to these series.

If there is a gap in the official market it is for an ‘Unchained’ type official release covering 1968-1971. The closest so far is ‘Electric Warrior Sessions’ in that it has alternative versions of known songs and recordings of unreleased songs. There is however, a few tracks that have escaped or are known to exist from this period not yet tidied up onto an album set. Outside of bootleg offerings, the near anarchic worldwide dispersal of tapes and rights to those tapes for the Fly/RZ recordings makes it unlikely anyone will be in a position to offer an official collection of the period for many years.

The above CD’s will introduce the studio work of Marc Bolan. As yet there are no live compilations, probably because the rapid development of his music makes a satisfying collection difficult to put together. It’s probably fair to say that too many compilations are at best misleading to the less experienced Bolan fan and range from the esoteric to downright execrable. These Compilation Meltdown pages hope to point you in the right direction.

1- "The Alternate Takes of Classical Hits"

Chadders Review"The Alternate Takes of Classical Hits"

2- "The Millenium Collection"

Chadders Review"The Millenium Collection"

3- "The Definitive Collection"

Chadders Review"The Definitive Collection"

4- "Bolan Boogie"

Chadders Review"Bolan Boogie"

5- "Beyond the Rising Sun"

Chadders Review"Beyond the Rising Sun"

6- "Flyback -Best of T.Rex"

Chadders Review"Flyback-Best of T.Rex"

7- "Till Dawn"

Chadders Review"Till Dawn"

8- "Best of T.Rex Unchained"

Chadders Review"Best of T.Rex Unchained"

9- "Marc Bolan Words & Music 1947-1977"

Chadders Review"Marc Bolan Words & Music"

10- "Get It On"

Chadders Review"Get It On"

11- "Very Best of T.Rex Vol #1 & Vol #2"

Chadders Review"Very Best of T.Rex Vol #1 & Vol #2"

12- "T.Rextasy Best of 70'-73"

Rickster Mini Review"T.Rextasy Best of 70'-73"

13- "Electric Warrior Sessions"

Chadder's Review"Electric Warrior Sessions"

14- "History of Rock"

Chadders Review"The History of Rock"

15- "T.Rex Anthology"

Chadders Review"T.Rex Anthology"

16- "Greatest Hits"

Chadders Review"Greatest Hits"

17- "Essential"

Chadders Review"The Essential"

18- "Acoustic Warrior"

Chadders Review"Acoustic Warrior"

19- Willie Logan's "The Legend Lives"

Chadders ReviewWillie Logan's "The Legend Lives"

20- Pickwicks "Very Best Of"

Chadders ReviewPickwicks "Very Best Of"

21- Cassette Set "Solid Gold Easy Action"

Chadders ReviewCassette Set "Solid Gold Easy Action"

22- "Born to Boogie"

Chadders ReviewBorn To Boogie/Compi"

24- "20th Century Boy"

Chadders Review"20TH Century Boy"

25- "Begining of Doves-Expanded Edition"

Chadders Review"Doves -Expanded 2002"

26- "T.Rex ROCKS"

Chadders Review"T.Rex ROCKS"

Copyright © 2002 The Till Dawn Organization. All Rights Reserved.