So, around September last year (that's 2017, just in case you're reading this in the future!) there was A LOT of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth because, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Marc Bolan's passing, Edsel had commissioned a number of remixes of some of Marc's biggest (and, it must be said, not so biggest!) hits. This, apparently, was considered a venal sin by many of the Marc Bolan / T.Rex officionados, but I was willing to at least give it the once over.
It did take a VERY LONG TIME for this to arrive from the UK, I must admit. No fault of Amazon.co.uk or any other third party logistics service, but more a case of severe procrastination on the part of my skin-and-blister back over in dear ol' Blighty! Any-hoo, by the time I did get my grubby paws on it - early January 2018!!! - much of the 40th anniversary hullabaloo had dissipated into the usual background buzz, and I was more than happy to give the CD a whirl to see if the nay-sayers were justified in their gloomy prognostications, or, as I was hoping, these 21st century re-works of the 20th Century Boy's masterworks were every bit as listenable and enjoyable as they had been way, way back in the early 1970's.
And the verdict is...
In the main, I am blown away and delighted with the music and the way it has been refreshed to bring it into the modern arena. The majority of the tracks are actually AWESOME, and more than a few bring a lump of pleasure to the throat as they re-portray the fantastic and timeless work of the King of Glam Rock! I say "in the main" because I have to be honest and say that not every track works, and some could easily have been replaced with one of Marc's more popular or accessible songs. And, it does have to be said, repeats of the same song reworked numerous times - Children of the Revolution 3 times! 20th Century Boy twice! - begs the question, "Couldn't they have included more?"
Paradoxically, so that you don't get me wrong, I actually love all three versions of Children of the Revolution and the two versions of 20th Century Boy, and would have not liked to have missed them all - but would I have known? And there are the misses - 2 versions of Light Of Love - never my fave Marc single - along with Precious Star, Cadilac, Born To Boogie and a dubious version of New York City that all could have made way for better (in my humble opinion) tracks such as Think Zinc, Dreamy Lady, Dandy In The Underworld or any of dozens of others. In fact, the very size of the Bolan catalog leaves me wondering why they chose the few they did, even being limited, as they obviously were, to the T.Rex Wax Co catalog.
Anyway, for the majority of the tracks, I was thrilled to listen to them, see the changes the crews had made, and enjoy them anew as further examples of Marc's brilliance. The DJ Sae One remix of Solid Gold Easy Action and the X. Ert remix of 20th Century Boy are foot-stomping phenomenal, while Castleman's treatment of Teenage Dream is thoughtful and emotive, and the Infuze edition of Calling All Destroyers could easily have graced the soundtrack of Black Panther! And the remix versions of Metal Guru (Book) and Telegram Sam (Kent Rockafeller) hold their own amidst the more powerful reworkings they are nestled amidst.
All-in-all, I think this is an album definitely worth listening to. I honestly believe Marc would have been very happy with all of the results, as he was always looking for new ways to present his songs - just ask Steve Harley about their last conversation - and if he had still been alive, I firmly believe the work he'd be producing would have included a lot of these tricks and renderings.
So give your ears a treat and listen to the new Bolan. Given these as examples, who knows what he would have achieved!
Amazon.co.uk link here: T.Rex Remixes