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Tanx (Deluxe)

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Album Review

By 1973's Tanx, the T. Rex hit-making machine was beginning to show some wear and tear, but Marc Bolan still had more than a few winners up his sleeve. It was also admirable that Bolan was attempting to broaden the T. Rex sound — soulful backup singers and horns are heard throughout, a full two years before David Bowie used the same formula for his mega-seller Young Americans. However, Tanx did not contain any instantly recognizable hits, as their past couple of releases had, and the performances were not quite as vibrant, due to non-stop touring and drug use. Despite an era of transition looming on the horizon for the band, tracks such as "Rapids," "Highway Knees," "The Street & Babe Shadow," and "Born to Boogie" contain the expected classic T. Rex sound. The leadoff track, "Tenement Lady," is an interesting Beatle-esque epic, while "Shock Rock" criticizes the early-'70s glam scene, which T. Rex played a prominent role in creating. Other highlights include one of Bolan's most gorgeous and heartfelt ballads, "Broken Hearted Blues," as well as the brief, explosive rocker "Country Honey." Tanx marked the close of what many consider T. Rex's golden era; unfortunately, the band members would drift off one by one soon after, until Bolan was the only one remaining by the mid-'70s. Like the 1997 Polygram CD reissue of The Slider, the 1997 version of Tanx contains seven extra bonus tracks, including such non-album hits as "Children of the Revolution" and "20th Century Boy."

Customer Reviews

Laid Back T. Rex

This is a fine album. An important milestone for Bolan in 1973. Even though the critics would have you believe this was the start of Bolan's decline. There are infact some excellent ballads and soft rock here. Bolan was never going to please everyone, he was too famous and the knives were out. With the inclusion of the bonus tracks, you get an even broader vision of Bolan's talent. A must have T.Rex album.

And when I'm sad

'And when I'm sad, I slide' Bolan had written prophetically on this album's predecessor. Well, by 1973 he was sad, and in the sloppier moments on Tanx there are hints of a loss of way or loss of inspiration. The staccato guitar work (never Bolan's stroing point but elsewhere part of his charm)seems careless and contemptuous on some tracks ('Rapids' for example). But Tanx still has plenty of good music and Marc was beginning to experiment with less rock-oriented compositions. 'Babe Shadow' has a soul swing to it while his voice was as powerfully haunting as ever on the sublime 'Broken Hearted Blues' and delightfully sleazy on 'Electric Slim'. All in all a patchy album but far from the write off it is sometimes condemned as.

Right for the moment

I thought that this was great album at the time, but in hindsight the cracks are starting to appear. This album needed a harder edge after Slider, but it sounds weak by comparison.

Biography

Formed: 1967

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Initially a British folk-rock combo called Tyrannosaurus Rex, T. Rex was the primary force in glam rock, thanks to the creative direction of guitarist/vocalist Marc Bolan (born Marc Feld). Bolan created a deliberately trashy form of rock & roll that was proud of its own disposability. T. Rex's music borrowed the underlying sexuality of early rock & roll, adding dirty, simple grooves and fat distorted guitars, as well as an overarching folky/hippie spirituality that always came through the...
Full bio