This is great and well over due. A tribute album to the work of Marc Bolan & T. Rex that is not only a wonderful, celebration of his work but surely will have the work reassessed for its wonderful originality.
Even I reassessed that. I shouldn’t have had to. I was a Bolan fan from the age of 11. Telegram Sam and Metal Guru were in the ether as pop music obsession began its seep into my life. Then when it had taken hold of me Children Of The Revolution, Solid Gold Easy Action and 20th Century Boy grabbed my fandom by the throat.
I loved Marc Bolan. I love the Glam Rock boogie of the hits. I Love To Boogie seemed a perfect soundtrack. I also loved the earlier folky acoustic stuff too. I loved the double package of My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows and Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of The Ages. Apparently that is the longest titled record ever to be number 1.
I was heartbroken when he died so young, though as a 15 year old I had no idea how young 30 was on that September morning in 1977 when I met my mate Rab to walk to school and he told me. It was the month after Elvis. What was going on?
Over the years I never lost my love. Any footage on TV and I was loving it. Yet, my obsession got hidden, crowded out by The Beatles, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and so many more. Their lyrics were not so weird! I am not sure that I could get A Gospel According to… T. Rex.
Listening to Angel Headed Hipster took me back to those glory Bolan days. This is such an endearingly put together collection by the late Hal Willner who sadly died of Covid 19 in April.
Willner was able to draw a star studded cast and so U2 with Elton John on piano, Nick Cave, Joan Jett, Peaches, Kesha, Lucinda Williams and both of John Lennon’s sons to name a few.
A stellar batch of artists, no matter how good, will not go far. Angel Headed Hipster’s strength is ultimately Bolan’s songs. They elevate his gift for melody and song craft. Nick Cave makes Cosmic Dancer a revelation, Lucinda Williams takes Life Is a Gas into swampy blues, Peaches gives contemporary energies to Solid Gold Easy Action.
These are the songs of my youth. The songs indelibly marked. What Angel Headed Hipster has done is to make them the songs of my late fifties. It goes further. It has me falling in love with songs I had missed first time round. It has had me realise that I loved Marc Bolan when I loved the 7” single. There are album tracks to find. I found some here!
A wonderful tribute.