I’m still doing a little toe-dip into Bolan and T Rex at the moment. Just a couple of tracks per night. Nothing too taxing or deeply absorbing. I’m not fully immersing myself into the whole thing. Not like I have done in recent times with other musical explorations – Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Magazine – nothing quite of that ilk. But I might end up doing that.
Last night I played 20th Century Boy. I am just really loving the whole vibe of that song. How it starts with that kind of false start. Like, someone trying to kickstart a motorbike and the engine stalling, not ticking over on the first and second pedal pushes. And then it begins and there’s that fabulous gospel choir soul backing vocal wall of sound and such a fabulous rocking guitar riff.
Earlier in the evening before bed, the OH mentioned The Slider. It wasn’t one of his songs I knew at all, so I played it next. It’s quite a slow funk for him. Quite different to what I had expected to get from Bolan. Esp. the singing of it, and the pace. Still a very sexy thing. I have to say the thing I am coming away with from listening to T Rex these past few nights is just how sexy the songs are. Yeah, they may not have the deepest lyrical content, but by word they are sexy!
Towards the end of the song I’m thinking “Oh, I could imagine SM covering this now. Jim, the way his voice is these days…this would be sssoooo frigging sexy!” And then I was like, you know…actually…this is Prince! I hear Prince’s sound all over this track! I’m sure Bolan must have been an influence on The Purple One. I could just hear it SO CLEARLY on The Slider. I could sssooo imagine Prince covering it.
After those couple of tracks, I decided to move on to something else. But..what to listen to? I just never know where I want to go these days. All I know is right now, I have very particular tastes and feelings about Simple Minds. I don’t want to play this mix. And right now, as much as I absolutely ADORE the albums, I am avoiding going to Sons/Sister or Empires and Dance, or New Gold Dream. I play the song itself – New Gold Dream…the German Mix or the Alternate Mix, but I hardly play anything else right now.
I decided on Lou Reed. I didn’t want to go the Velvets route. The previous night I had listened to Nico’s Chelsea Girl album, so I didn’t want to go back to any Velvets stuff. I wanted Lou solo. But not Transformer. I love Transformer…but I know it fairly well. I didn’t want Berlin. No “Oh, Jim” tonight. What had I not played? Moving along chronologically, I’d never listened to Sally Can’t Dance – so that’s what I decided on. I got to Kill Your Sons and started to drift off to sleep. Spotify then did its usual thing of playing a mix of other contemporary artists of Reed’s. I can’t remember too much of who else it was playing but in my semi-conscious state I was enjoying what was being played. I was driven awake by a song that started to play called Range Life by a band called Pavement. I’d never heard of it (the song) or them (the band) before but I really liked it. I thought it was a track from the 70s until towards the end of the song, they started namedropping bands like Smashing Pumpkins in the song.
The next song that played was a track of Lou’s. It was called Vanishing Act. I was really loving how sparse and low it was. I put the screen back on to see the album it came off. It’s off The Raven. An album of Lou’s from 2002. All inspired by Edgar Allan Poe if the tracklisting of the album is anything to go by. It’s a long album – some two hours long! By this time it was already 3am, so I wasn’t going to switch listening to the album.
I actually wanted some Minds. I wanted Jim’s voice. But what? I look through all the SM content on Spotify. The only thing that is kind of pulling me in is Silver Box. I think about playing it. Skipping the first two tracks and just going in from Here Comes The Fool. Actually…live. Live is what I want. Then a brief internal dialogue “Oh, yeah…Art & Talk has put up another bootleg today. The one from Werchter, 1984. The bit that I played of it earlier today, sampling a snippet of Up On The Catwalk, it sounded damn good. Let’s give that a listen!” So off I went to YouTube.
I was really enjoying it. I was particularly enjoying the original arrangement of Book Of Brilliant Things and hearing all the lyrics that no longer get sung on the current version of it. I don’t get why it has changed so much from how it was…but hey, it isn’t up to me, is it. And plenty of other fans love that old “5 to 1” version of it. And I do appreciate all that Mick added to it with that opening of it on the OUAT tour. There was just such lovely things with this version from Werchter. Jim’s intro of it, “We grew up last year. Let’s grow up together.” Aawww! And just him singing “my heart beats like the wheels of a fast train”. I just feel sometimes the way the song got rearranged that it lost some of its beautiful sentiment. But Kerr would no doubt tell me to “do one” and “stoap talking keech”. Lol. Sorry, Sir!
Anyway…the night got later and as much as I was really enjoying it, I started to drift off during Waterfront. I cannae BELIEVE I didn’t hear New Gold Dream! Lol. I shall listen to it again later on. In the meantime, here it is linked below.
After I had done my post about Ride A White Swan last night – I did a thing I usually do not do and posted to SMOG before researching my topic and then proceeded to make a right tit of myself!
Well, I’ll blame being unwell for that because, normally, I’d go out on the web and search for info first. But last night I didn’t. So, I ended up posting to SMOG saying “does anyone know if SM have ever covered a T Rex song?”
Within a minute of the post being approved there was word back that, yes, they had and it was the song linked below.
I even have the Rejuvenation box set – IN BOTH FORMATS and I still forgot about it! I don’t even think I listened to their version until this morning. Or if I had I must have wiped it from memory.
I love that they do covers, I do. But, like in all things…some things work, others don’t. I know my “art” is not always best. I mean, geez, I probably have a “hit” rate of about one in thirty…if I’m lucky! Very much in dream land to think it’s as low as one in thirty – and to refer to it as “art”.
And right now, I couldn’t feel any more disliked by Jim so it hardly matters what I am about to say about their version of Children Of The Revolution – but I won’t slate it! Although, I feel it is a TAD rich that when I shared a link to the Violent Femmes version of it some years back, Jim replied with “Oh God, that’s rubbish!” Lol
UPDATE (Nov 6th): I found it! Looking for something else in Flickr, I found his reply.
All I’ll actually say is – some covers work and others don’t. Simple Minds have done some really stellar cover versions of other people’s songs. My fave of them all is All Tomorrow’s Parties. And with Jim being the massive Lou Reed and Velvet Underground fan that he is, I know that will make him happy to hear that. Just…you know…stroke the old ego before…BAM!
Sorry! Maybe it was just the choice of song. Maybe you should have plumbed for 20th Century Boy or Jeepster? Or Hot Love? Who knows? I dunno.
I’m still listening to the MainMan podcast each week. Avidly devouring each new episode every Thursday night (a distraction from an otherwise hollow “Kerrsday”).
This week’s episode was centred around the early career of Marc Bolan – as a rival (but also sometimes collaborator) and contemporary of David Bowie’s and how firstly with Tyrannosaurus Rex and then, latterly, the diminutively titled T Rex, Bolan got the early success.
They spoke with both Tony’s Defries and Visconti about their thoughts and feelings on Bolan. Visconti being the producer of the early Tyrannosaurus Rex albums, first of which was the succinctly (not!) named “My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair…But Now They’re Content To Wear Stars In Their Brows.”
Up for discussion within it was Ride A White Swan – which I freely admit to not knowing that well. Or at least not as well as I should do, perhaps. Actually, truth be told, Bolan and T. Rex hadn’t been something I have ever much immersed myself in to. Of course I have been aware of Marc Bolan for many years and have known several T. Rex songs. Love several of them, in fact! And I have been long aware (as an avid Bowie fan) of the rivalry, bond and – quite often grudging – respect both men had for each other.
I decided that once I had listened to the podcast, I’d give Ride A White Swan a listen. I would be able to hear it with completely fresh ears as I had never really taken much notice of it at all to be fair. Unlike knowing my way around Get It On, Jeepster, Children Of The Revolution, 20th Century Boy, Cosmic Dancer or Metal Guru…for example.
I did a bit of research first. Just a quick look around the Tyrannosaurus Rex discography, just to see if (at a glance) you could detect the dividing line between what was Tyrannosaurus Rex to T. Rex. The first defining part is when Marc Bolan fires Steve Peregrin Took. The second is the move from acoustic to electric guitars.
So, what did I think of Ride A White Swan? Not a lot, be honest with you. I’m all for nonsense pop. And things that are upbeat and lightweight but. I dunno. It’s quite repetitive and his vocal on it really is the most annoying version of that “baa lamb” singing style he had.
Released almost 50 years to the day, it only seemed to have appeared as a single. It wasn’t a track on the T. Rex album, nor did it appear on Electric Warrior. Tyrannosaurus Rex had THREE albums out before Bolan ousted Steve Peregrin Took and replaced him with Mickey Finn and shortened the band name to T. Rex, went electric and released the fourth, eponymously titled album. In fact, a lot of the T. Rex album had already been written – and some already previously recorded.
I am actually surprised how indifferent I feel to the song as from Hot Love onwards, right up to 20th Century Boy, I love every single there is.
Perhaps I need to do more delving as well? More exploration.
One also can’t help but wonder how things would have continued for Bolan, had tragedy not struck on that fateful day in September, ‘77. Esp. as it had seen Bowie and Bolan back recording together since recording The Prettiest Star together way back in 1970.
Marc seemed less adaptable than David. Who knows how his career would have continued on? Perhaps he’d have found his own way of reinventing himself? We’ll never know.
Anyway, despite my own indifference, I wish a happy 50th anniversary to Ride A White Swan – it’s a whole week older than me!
So…what do you people think of Ride A White Swan? I’d like to hear from anyone reading this on your thoughts about it. Get in touch in whatever means. Comment here on the blog, or if I’ve shared via social media comment there. All thoughts are welcome.
I know it’s Kerrsday and I will no doubt post SOMETHING of the gorgeous Mr Kerr at some point today but…how beautiful are Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn looking in this photo?! O M G!
And…what is it with me and guys looking pensive/quizzical with furrowed brows? Lol. I mean…I just want to DO THINGS with Mickey in this pic. Lol – also…make up. OMG…pretty boys in make up! KILL ME NOW!)
Guess there’ll end up being a theme to Kerrsday later…