Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Marc Bolan - Early Recordings

What would Marc Bolan be doing now, I wonder? I am not sure anyone can answer that because at the time of his death his career was in a state of liminality, to say the least. Bolan believed utterly in himself. He'd tried to be a male model, tried to make it on his own, then joined John's Children and then, with some help from John Peel and a bit of old fashioned hype, gradually worked himself into the public consciousness. His first albums were about Bolan the putative fey, pixie popster. It appealed to the cognoscenti and was just right for the times. The final phase of his creative work showed him going back to what he really wanted to do, Rock and Roll. If you doubt me, just listen to The Third Degree, and though it was recorded in 1966, you have the beginnings of the style he would go back to again and again.

He was simultaneously experimenting with the kind of material he would use in the first albums. Here also is a version of The Wizard, recorded during the same session as Third Degree, under the supervision of Mike Hurst, who discovered Cat Stevens and who produced his first hits. The Wizard was re-worked and surfaced on the eponymous T Rex album.

Bolan was clever enough to use the best session musicians. The drummer on Get It On, Telegram Sam and several others was Clem Cattini, who went way back with The Tornadoes and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, taking the drum seat for Shakin' all Over. Clem says of Marc, You talk about egos. Now there was a massive ego.

Mike Hurst:

Jim Economides had done a deal with Decca Records and he wanted me to produce Marc Bolan, and I did the first two with Marc. He was very raw when he came to me. What he did was good. I didn’t appreciate the fact that it could get better. At the time, I thought, this is ok but that’s it. What I recognised in him was the burning desire to be successful. If that’s star quality, then he had star quality.

Well, you can decide for yourself if there is any potential in these two tracks, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Next, The Wizard


NinaNina said...

Fascinating! I keep a little Marc in my heart and I have wondered where he would be and what would he be doing had he not left us so soon. I've read that at the time of his death, he had gone through a rough period where he and his career both languished, but he had sorted himself out, and was in better shape and on an upswing. Thank you for sharing these tracks.

Smoking Hot said...

Saw Marc at Hull University ... a memorable occasion even though l was very young and there was so much going on in the world of music at that time.