REVIEW

MARC BOLAN & T. REX
Truck Off Tour Rehearsal [no label 1CD Torrent: 87523]
Rehearsals at Manchester Free Trade Hall, UK, Jan 26, 1974. VG AUD stereo?

With Marc Bolan’s back catalog looking more and more like a well-worn pair of platform heels, with the most insignificant live and studio out-takes having now been packaged and repackaged across a mountain range full of well-meaning official collections, one has difficulty believing that there’s actually a tape out there that we’re not thoroughly sick of hearing… but which actually sounds better, and packs more fun, than 50% of what else is out there.

History records T Rex’s 1974 UK tour as the moment when even Marc had to admit that the madness had moved elsewhere. But the rehearsals for the tour simply refuse to let the statistics bring him down. "Born To Boogie" opens (and closes) the proceedings with a lengthy, loping funky work-out, all scattered vocals and soulful shrieks, while the Bolanic guitar slashes through the rhythms.

There’s a slinky "Get It On," Bolan’s low-key vocals an unexpectedly effective contrast to the fat’n’chunky guitar, and while someone switched the tape recorder off just as a frenetic "Metal Guru" got going, it’s only to make way for the band to hatch a new arrangement of the song.

It’s not all easy listening. Few songs are complete, and several are present as mere snippets, interspersed by lengthy silences, chatter and tuning - it’s a rehearsal, after all. But when everything comes together, across any one of several powerhouse run-throughs of "Chariot Choogle," or a "Buick Mackane" that drives like a tank battalion, Truck Off Tour Rehearsals stands among the most enjoyable T-Resurrections of at least the last five years. Truck on! - Dave Thompson

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September 29, 2006