Other subjects: Esoteric & True Crime

NEW Bolan Biography!
Italian rock music specialists Tsunami Edizioni have just published my new Bolan biography, ‘Bolan Boogie’, which looks superb and is very nicely illustrated. Response at the Turin book fair they tell me was very positive and it is hoped that it will be translated into other languages (including English) in the coming year. Here’s a snippet from the preface which explains why I felt the need to write another Bolan book and what Marc’s music has meant to me.

“I owe it all to Marc Bolan.”

I have heard that phrase so many times from musicians and other creative people over the past 35 years that it has made me realise how profoundly an artist can affect those who are moved and inspired by their music. I was one of those adolescents who, in 1972, heard ‘Salamanda Palaganda’, ‘Lofty Skies’ and other early Tyrannosaurus Rex/T.Rex tracks and was awoken to infinite possibilities. The combination of the often unintelligible words, sublime music and the rich tapestry of sound produced by jangling acoustic guitars, exotic percussion, lyrical guitar embellishments and of course that remarkable voice, cast a spell that transported me to somewhere truly magical. I have been trying to recapture that feeling and that moment ever since, through my own music and by re-listening to Bolan and other artists. Several stimulated a similar response, but I always come back to Bolan.
It was Bolan who informed and inspired my first attempts at songwriting and also my first book, a ‘scissors and paste’ biography called ‘Electric Warrior’ which helped me to enter music journalism. I was also very fortunate indeed to have met Marc’s parents who shared their memories of his childhood with me and allowed me to play his guitar (the sunburst Epiphone acoustic he is seen playing in ‘Born To Boogie’) on which I strummed ‘Blades of Battenburg’ as if seeking his blessing on my own efforts. I suspect it may have been the touchstone or talisman that gave me the confidence to pursue my own career in music and it can’t have been a coincidence that soon after I found myself being managed by David Enthoven (of E.G.) and June Bolan. June gave me Marc’s very own acetate of his first recording, ‘The Road I’m On’ and shared some of the secrets behind his early songs. Just prior to that I found myself recording in a studio where Andy Ellison had been working and before you could say ‘Life Is Strange’ he was producing my single ‘Dr Strange’ and a cover of Bolan’s unreleased song ‘Hot George’ and inviting me to write songs for a John’s Children reunion album. None of which would have happened had I not been ‘touched’ by the magic of Marc Bolan.  
I hope this book will explain why he has had such a profound effect on me and so many others in the four decades since his tragically early death at the age of 29.
It might also explain why I felt compelled to write three biographies on the same subject. The first, ‘Electric Warrior’, was written in 1979 when I was 19 (and published under a pen name by Omnibus Press in 1982). I had compiled it from dozens of interviews that Marc had given to journalists, so that I could tell his story through his own words, supplemented by comments from musicians and music business people that I had interviewed for extensive articles in ‘Record Mirror’ and ‘Sounds’. Then in 2012, after having written 35 books, I felt it was time to write a more comprehensive biography drawing on the mass of new material that had come to light in the intervening years, with yet more interviews I had conducted with several of Marc’s close friends who had not spoken before and augmented by my insights into his personality which I could not have identified or articulated as effectively back in ’79. But almost as soon as it was published (as ‘Cosmic Dancer’ by Tomahawk Press), I realised that I had written it from a music journalist’s perspective, highlighting the qualities that had made Marc unique, but also being perhaps overly critical in evaluating those later records that had disappointed me. So when Tsunami Edizioni gave me the opportunity to write an entirely new Bolan biography for his Italian fans (and hopefully those in other countries through future foreign language editions) I didn’t hesitate. After all, I owe it all to Marc Bolan.



The Curious Case of HP Lovecraft

You need to read him – he’s where the darkness starts.’ – Neil Gaiman

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was haunted by demons. They stalked him in daylight and darkness alike, from childhood until his premature death at the age of 47. They took the form of his earliest memories – of losing his father and of life with his hysterical, emotionally abusive mother.

They leered over his shoulder as he gazed at the distorted reflection in the glass. They taunted him as he struggled to endure blinding migraines, crippling fatigue and periodic breakdowns – debilitating psychosomatic disorders which threatened to suck his vitality and curtail his creativity. He fled from them in his sleep – in dreams so terrifyingly vivid that they left him fearing for his own sanity – and mocked him in the street in the form of ‘evil-looking foreigners’ who threatened to overrun his picturesque colonial hometown of Providence, New England.

They left him riddled with self-doubt, disappointment and despair, but like a man possessed, he drove them from his mind time and again in bouts of feverish activity. Even as his fortunes declined and various publishing ventures failed to materialise, he worked tirelessly to create an extraordinary and highly influential body of work that has secured him a prominent place in the history of imaginative fiction.

H.P. Lovecraft is widely regarded as the most original writer of modern horror fiction and a pervasive and enduring influence on popular culture. His primordial universe of elder gods and eldritch horrors – existing just on the periphery of the more mundane, ordered world we know as ‘reality’ – has inspired authors as diverse as Stephen King, Robert Bloch, Clive Barker, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. Lovecraft’s most memorable creatures – notably the tentacle-headed god Cthulhu – have been invoked by such giants of rock music as Black Sabbath, Metallica and Iron Maiden, and continue to feature in almost every form of fantasy art: from graphic novels to computer games. His compelling creations have influenced the look of major movies such as Alien, Hellboy and even Pirates of the Caribbean – although the grotesque otherworldliness of Lovecraft’s original tales is yet to be captured by any director onscreen in a way that fully realises the author’s fantastic vision in the truest sense of the word. Yet this eccentric and reclusive resident of Providence, Rhode Island, did not have a book published by a major commercial house during his lifetime. He died at the age of 47 in comparative obscurity, convinced that he had failed to achieve the recognition he craved.

The Strange Case of H.P. Lovecraft examines the life and work of the man Stephen King called ‘the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale’, revealing how Lovecraft’s disturbing creations may have been an attempt to exorcise both his inner-demons and the elemental abominations which haunted his recurring nightmares.


A masterful biography. By Grey Malkin. (Amazon)

An expansive and detailed account of Howard Phillips Lovecraft from author and writer Paul Roland, this incredibly readable biography covers not just the facts and events in the life of this master of the weird tale, but also includes a detailed personal analysis of what made Lovecraft the man he was and thus, the basis or foundation from which his writing sprang. The illuminating chapters on Lovecraft's early years convincingly paint a picture of a neurotic, scholarly yet curiously unworldly and reclusive individual which, Roland posits, could be evidence of the presence of Asperger's Syndrome. It's a fascinating and well argued theory. Certainly, it is difficult not to see the linage between Lovecraft's uniquely dark, troubled visionary writing and his difficult upbringing and distinct personal attributes. Roland ably describes how the writer responded to the tragedy and trials of his early years and his adulthood; you get a genuine and sympathetic sense of Lovecraft as he was.

Indeed, Roland's writing envelopes the reader in Lovecraft's world. We empathise with this ungainly and repressed young man yet Roland is no apologist; he tackles head on and decries Lovecraft's evident racism and prejudice. Insightful and in depth this book sheds significant light on Lovecraft the person and consequently therefore, as is suggested, his work too; such is the symbiotic nature of the man and his writing.

This is not to suggest that Roland presents solely a superb and detailed bio, he also takes each Lovecraft tale and piece of writing and examines their worth, origins and relation to the writer's own characteristics and beliefs. This gives the book a rounded, holistic viewpoint that truly brings the tales to life and breathes new insight into their inspirations. One leaves the pages with a genuine sense of the philosophy, fears and perspectives that shaped these now classic stories.

A useful appendix examining the modern glut of Lovecraftian media, from music inspired by his writing to graphic novels and PC games, is an interesting take on a writer who was barely recognised in his lifetime. There are also plentiful archive photographs of Lovecraft with his family in his New England home and with the small group of friends and fellow writers he associated with. Indeed the book is a lovingly put together package all round, from Sean Philip's evocative cover art to the shadow portraits that frame each new chapter.

A must for Lovecraft aficionados, this book is clearly written by a fellow fan. A work of many years in the making this is a intensely researched, masterful and essential biography. Lovecraft's own correspondence is highly referenced as is his wife's memoirs.Hard to put down and eminently approachable, Roland's writing manages to be both highly accessible and yet also deeply detailed. In short, if you like Lovecraft you need this book.



Steampunk - Back to the Future With the New Victorians

'A lovely balance of in depth and accessible. Perfect!' - Paul Alborough, Professor Elemental
'It was awesome. The book looks wonderful and it was very easy to read' - Chaz Kemp, US Steampunk Artist

Introduction - The Wonderful, Improbable World of Steampunk 
Steampunk is much more than a retro-futuristic fashion statement, or a literary subgenre of science fiction. What began in the late 1980s as just another youth cult with a fetish for Victoriana and an aversion for grunge ‘n’ gadget obsessive cyberpunk, has evolved into an increasingly popular alternate lifestyle, one which is influencing almost every aspect of pop culture from music and movies to graphic novels and computer games. 

On the surface its adherents profess a penchant for neo-Victorian costumes, quirky clockwork accessories and a desire to live in a parallel reality inhabited by airships and eccentric inventions. But the literature, art, music and movies of this emergent underground community offers a radical and irreverent reimagining of society the way it might have evolved had history taken a sharp detour prior to the industrial revolution giving us a world without electricity, the infernal (sic) combustion engine and the technology that we take for granted today. The world of steampunk is the elegant gas lit world of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and their literary antecedents for whom the digital age never dawned. 
Its seems there has never been a better time to go back to the future and dress up in Victorian costumes complete with improbable clockwork accessories. And the great thing about Steampunk is that you’ve never too old to join in. Victoriana is back in vogue and it’s permeating everything from big screen blockbusters such as ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ and the small screen reimagining of ‘Dr Who’ to cog encrusted crafts and music performed by young chaps kitted out in pith helmets and goggles and young flibbertigibbets in tight fitting leather corsets. Dash it, there are even gentlemen rappers expounding on the delights of a refreshing cup of tea and the idiosyncrasies of the British character. The leading exponents of Steampunk are turning their backs on the 21st century and going back to a time of imagined elegance and adventure when airships filled the skies and Queen Victoria presided over an Empire so affluent that even she couldn’t suppress a smile.


A wonderful discovery!
By the man with no name on 2 Oct 2014
A fascinating insight into the culture of Steampunk. I had no idea what Steampunk was until I read this riveting read. Lots of great recommendations of films, literature and music to track down as well as some entertaining interviews with some of the artists that creates them. Complemented with amazing artwork on the cover and cool pics inside, this is a plethora of information into a thrilling creative world! This is my first Paul Roland read after recently being introduced to his excellent music. I certainly will be investigating his other titles as 'Steampunk' is clearly written by someone with boundless enthusiasm for the subjects he chooses. Very Pleased! Excellent book!

Paul Roland has written the definitive book about Marc Bolan; an overdue reassessment of his sadly short but significant part in
rock and roll history with an in depth insight into his glorious and eccentric lyrics
(from the foreword by Andy Ellison)


Cosmic Dancer - The Marc Bolan Biography

Chapter 5: Misfit
I was a bit hung up with my records being produced at the start. I just wanted to go into the studio and sing my songs and then leave.” (Marc Bolan to Danny Holloway, NME 1972)

It was an obscenely early hour to make a record. At 10 o’clock in the morning most musicians would still be in bed, sleeping off a hangover. But 17-year-old Marc Bolan could not claim that privilege. He was not yet a name, nor had he faced a live audience. And so, when the Decca executives decreed that morning sessions should begin at 10, their contracted artists, producers, arrangers and session musicians clocked in as ordered. Fortunately, the orchestral players, guitarist, bass player and drummer hired for Marc’s first professional session on September 14, 1965, were old pros and could have read the score in their sleep. The magical element known as ‘feel’ wouldn’t be needed today. It was strictly playing by numbers, and the numbers - or in this case the notes - had been scored by the dependable Mike Leander, an experienced arranger who would later make million-selling hits with Gary Glitter.
Greek-American producer Jim Economides, looking dapper in his customary surfing shirt and slacks, was also taking the session in his stride that morning, reading the newspaper, drinking coffee, chain-smoking and making small talk with the engineer and his assistant Mike Hurst while the mikes were being set up.
All in contrast to the singer who wiped his palms on his mohair slacks and paced nervously around the sterile West Hampstead studio, shadowed by his teenage manager who had come along to supervise the session they had worked so hard to secure.
Pruskin had been right. A third party had been necessary to clinch the critical deal. The shrewd former publicist had offered London agent Leslie Conn a 50 per cent share if Conn could secure a publishing contract. Conn had asked if there were any contacts he could follow up before canvassing names from his own address book and was told that Dick Rowe had once expressed an interest in their boy. One brief phone call later and Marc had the promise of a one single release with the option for a second. And there was one other favour Conn performed. He introduced Marc to another young hopeful he was representing at the time, David Jones (later David Bowie).
Right now Bolan would gladly have swapped places with his new friend. The clock was ticking and there were three tracks to get down in two hours, the standard work rate for Decca’s resident popular music division at that time. What if his voice cracked? What if he shook so much he couldn’t pitch, or sang off key? Pruskin may not have figured very significantly in the Marc Bolan story after this point, but that day he earned his share of the 15 shillings they would earn in publishing royalties from this debut single. He reminded his inexperienced client that the orchestra only needed a guide vocal to fix the tempo and once the backing was in the can he could have as many run-throughs as he liked. They planned to put three tracks down but only two were needed for the single and he had written them both. This was what they had worked for and it was going to sound great.
Leander, too, had every confidence in Bolan who he imagined as cast from the same mould as Cat Stevens, or a male Marianne Faithfull, both quintessentially English folk singers with pop appeal. Leander had worked out the changes with Marc over several sessions at his flat the previous week and had sketched in a simple but densely textured arrangement for a small orchestra with a tight rhythm section at the centre to propel it along. Xylophone flourishes, handclaps and a wordless ethereal harmony part for female backing singers completed the picture. Unfortunately, the composer hadn’t provided a chorus, and couldn’t be persuaded to write one even after Leander had pointed out that it was hooks not looks that sold singles. So the Musical Director had written a fill which he gave to the flutes and woodwind to break up the otherwise seamless string of verses. He also thought it desirable to insert a pause at a critical point for dramatic effect – the point where the chorus ought to have been - and an instrumental verse to act as a coda, but the track still clocked in under two minutes, which was uncommonly short for a single. When Marc heard the orchestra run through the arrangement for the first time, he was speechless. If only he had taken Leander’s advice and written a chorus, it might have a better chance of being a hit.
But if hearing his song played by pros shook his studied cool, he was less impressed by the business-like attitude of the female backing singers.
“A couple of the Ladybirds, or the Vernon Girls, or someone did the backing. They talked about corsets and stuff, you know, between takes, knitting and things. My first big session that was, chicks knitting!”
Economides was an efficient if unimaginative freelance producer who had been brought in because he could be relied upon to keep the session on track and on time. But he was better known in the business for his eccentricities, namely having insisted a tailor measure him for a suit during a Beach Boys session, a band he claimed to have produced.

When Economides was with Capitol in the States he had worked with surfer Dick Dale, rocker Johnny Burnette, pop idol Bobby Darin and harmony group The Lettermen, but he was afraid of being stuck with second division acts and so had emigrated to England to set up his own production company and pursue his interest in drag racing. A burly six-footer with black curly hair and a neat charcoal moustache, he towered over the seated musicians, his forthright manner and commanding voice ensuring that everyone put in their best efforts.
When the first backing track was down he waved Marc back into the vocal booth and told him to run through the first verse for level without the backing. Once the engineer was satisfied, they went for a take. One minute and forty-five seconds later the red light was flicked off and the producer’s voice boomed over the monitor, “That’s fine. Come in to the control room and listen to the playback.”
Marc may have had his doubts about the production line methods, but he had to admit it was a tight track and he sounded assured in the midst of it, aided by a touch of natural echo. His trademark vibrato was not then in evidence, but it was a strong, confident performance. However, there was no time for congratulations. Time was money and the musicians had been booked for two hours. Not a minute more or their union would be hearing about it.
Everyone flicked over to the next sheet on their music stand and the red light came on again. One minute forty seconds later the flip side of the single was given the producer’s tacit approval before Marc put down a second and final vocal.

‘Cosmic Dancer’
“Paul Roland has written the definitive book about Marc Bolan; an overdue reassessment of his sadly short but significant part in rock and roll history with an in depth insight into his glorious and eccentric lyrics .”
(from the foreword by Andy Ellison)

‘Cosmic Dancer’
‘The estimable Paul Roland, himself a songwriter of distinction, is surely the biographer Marc Bolan would have wished for. This isn’t to say that Cosmic Dancer is an exercise in sycophancy – far from it – but more that Roland’s consummate understanding of the process of songwriting, recording and performing affords him an insight beyond the ken of journeymen hacks. Furthermore, Roland is a terrier for the truth: unstinting in his praise where praise is merited, but unsparing when discussing the “fat Elvis” period cocaine-and-champers binges which led Bolan to go through the motions in the studio or treat friends and loved ones abysmally.
A comprehensive phalanx of interviewees sheds light on every stage of Bolan’s life and career, ranging from youth club confederate Helen Shapiro and John’s Children manager Simon Napier-Bell, to bandmates Steve Peregrin Took and Mickey Finn, not to mention last-tour companions Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies of The Damned.’
(Record Collector)

‘Admirably clear-eyed’ (Charles Shaar Murray ‘Classic Rock’ magazine)

‘An awesome read for any Bolan fan as well as music fans in general and one that, to me personally, stands head and shoulders above all the other Bolan biographies…I do not believe anyone could write a more definitive story of Marc Bolan's life.’

Rock's Magical Poet
By Susan Barry on August 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paul Roland has written a brilliant book about the life and music of Marc Bolan and his group T.Rex! Although many things have been written about Marc's short life and extraordinary career in music, after reading Cosmic Dancer I finally felt that I had the whole story. By taking great care to convey the events of Marc's life within the context of the music industry at that time and the cultural influences of the society of the day a much clearer picture was made in which to understand and appreciate Marc's motivations, thinking, creativity, and behavior. This is just what I was looking for as the person born Mark Feld was such a unique character that I could never get a grasp on who he was. He appeared not to be real but more like a mythical character from a fairy tale.

In this book, Marc is not so much an enigma but a human being. His character traits and life circumstances are depicted straightforwardly and honestly, without sensationalism or judgement. I learned more than ever before about the people in his life who played a significant role in events and the influence they had on him, both personally and musically. People like his producer Tony Visconti, Ringo Starr, and his wife June Child.

I especially enjoyed reading the accounts and details surrounding the production and recording of each of his studio albums beginning with the first Tyrannosaurus Rex album 'My People Were Fair...', through 1977's 'Dandy in the Underworld. There is plenty of interesting information about the music industry at that time and the condition of the recording studios that artists had to work with. Adding to this are enlightening facts and stories about Marc's individual approach to crafting his songs and some of the inspiration and meaning behind the lyrics. All combined I got a much better understanding of how Marc transformed himself from a shy British boy with no musical training and no means to get him started, to a Rock and Roll icon who is still loved 35 years later!

Having this story updated at this time has answered many questions I have had all these years. As a teen in the US I truly loved Marc and T.Rex and felt his music was much more exciting and interesting than many of the bands around at that time. It's sad to know he felt he had failed for not having more "success" here since he was really appreciated by many of us. The accounts in the book of his US tours gave me a much better understanding of what went so terribly wrong.

If you like to read about British Rock and Roll of the 60's and 70's and how the music industry operated in those days (a real eye opener), you will enjoy this book. You will also learn more about one of the most incomparable characters in Rock history, Marc Bolan.



Teach Yourself Rock and Pop

As part of the TY MUSIC series, this book records the development of this musical genre, outlining key personalities and groups and recommending essential albums. The technical processes and recording methods are discussed in a concise and intelligent manner.



Chrysalis Guide To Rock & Pop On CD

Extract from The Chrysalis Guide To Rock And Pop On CD (Chrysalis/Batsford)
Electric Warrior (Essential/Castle) 1971 Mid price
Track Listing: Mambo Sun/Cosmic Dancer/Jeepster/Monolith/Lean Woman Blues/Get It On/Planet Queen/girl/The Motivator/Life’s A Gas/Rip Off
When Marc Bolan, the elfin-like emissary of the ‘underground’, climbed down from his toadstool, cast off his kaftan and plugged in his electric guitar there was no denying his boast that he was ‘born to boogie’.
Many of these tracks were recorded live in the studio with a minimum of overdubs which lends them an earthy ambience similar to that of the early Sun records. Several songs suggest that Marc had been digging through his record collection prior to the sessions in search of inspiration. ‘Jeepster’ is a blatant rip off from ‘You’ll Be Mine’ by Howling Wolf, ‘Get It On’ acknowledges ‘Little Queenie’ by Chuck Berry in the fade out and ‘Monolith’ steals from Gene Chandler’s ‘Duke Of Earl’ (as Marc freely admitted on an early take which featured on the posthumously released ‘Electric Warrior Sessions’). But he recycles the riffs with such audacity and charm that few could fail to fall under his spell.
This was the first roar of TRextasy, a teasing amalgam of self-made mythology, wistful wordplay and gender-bending bump ‘n’ grind. Bolan didn’t become a cult figure merely because he looked great; he was great.
Sound * * * * Content * * * *

The Slider (Edsel) 1972 Mid price
Track Listing: Metal Guru/Mystic Lady/Rock On/The Slider/Baby Boomerang/Spaceball Richochett/Buick Mackane/Telegram Sam/Rabbit Fighter/Baby Strange/Ballrooms Of Mars/Chariot Choogle/Main Man
Bonus Tracks: Cadillac/Thunderwing/Lady
From the minimalist mantra that is ‘Metal Guru’, through the electric boogie of ‘Telegram Sam’ to the title track with its slow, shuffle rhythm, sinewy strings and melancholic refrain ‘The Slider’ is Marc at his most charismatic, alternately childlike and seductive. Only ‘Chariot Choogle’ and ‘Buick Mackane’ betray his burning obsession with Hendrix and his determination to prove himself a serious musician in the face of those who cruelly wrote him off as a pre-teen phenomenon.
The tracks were evidently laid down in one or two takes in an attempt to recreate the spontaneous feel of the early rock records, leaving producer Tony Visconti to paper over the cracks with strings, backing harmonies and a wall of multi-tracked guitars. For that reason the sound of ‘The Slider’ owes more to Phil Spector than to Sun.
Unfortunately, the casual, off-hand attitude extends to some of the lyrics which are not surreal, as Bolan later claimed, but merely superficial. Though the sound of the words was always more important to Marc than their meaning. Here is irrefutable evidence that Bolan could work magic with three simple chords and an inspired turn of phrase.
Sound * * * * Content * * * *

Tanx (Edsel) 1973 Mid price
Track Listing: Tenement Lady/Rapids/Mister Mister/Broken Hearted Blues/Shock Rock/Country Honey/Electric Slim And The Factory Hen/Mad Donna/Born To Boogie/Life Is Strange/The Street And Babe Shadow/Highway Knees/Left hand Luke And The Beggar Boys
Bonus Tracks: Children Of The Revolution/Jitterbug Love/Sunken Rags/Solid Gold Easy Action/Xmas Message/20th Century Boy/Free Angel
With its mellow mix of laid-back boogie and a laconic look at Americana, ‘Tanx’ was the album that Marc had hoped would satisfy the teenyboppers and also win over a more mature audience. But it proved too mellow to appease the fickle, pre-pubescent punters and too insubstantial to attract an older audience. Instead of getting it on, Marc seemed to be leaning back with a self-satisfied smirk on his face and taking it easy as he viewed the world through the window of his limousine. Could it be that he was taking his fans for granted? It certainly sounds like it. ‘Mister Mister’, ‘Shock Rock’ and ‘The Street And Babe Shadow’ sound only half finished, while ‘Mad Donna’ and ‘Born To Boogie’ are little more than riffs matched to an easy slogan. Sandwiched between two hard rock singles, ‘20th Century Boy’ and ‘The Groover’ (neither of which were included on the original LP), ‘Tanx’ was considered lacklustre in comparison with the proud, strutting monster of the Trextasy era and the old dinosaur was deemed extinct. However, the presence of a mellotron and the predominance of languid sax solos suggests that Marc was making a serious effort to find new sounds. It’s just that he was too busy being a star to pay enough attention to his music.
Sound * * * * Content * * *

Great Hits – The A Sides 1972-77 (Demon) 1994 Full price
Track Listing: Telegram Sam/Metal Guru/Children Of The Revolution/Solid Gold Easy Action/20th Century Boy/The Groover/Tuck On (Tyke)/Teenage Dream/Light Of Love/Zip Gun Boogie/New York City/Dreamy Lady/London Boys/I Love To Boogie/Laser Love/To Know You Is To Love You/The Soul Of My Suit/Dandy In The Underworld/Celebrate Summer
Great Hits- The B Sides 1972-77 (Demon) 1994 Full price
Track Listing: Cadillac/Baby Strange/Thunderwing/Lady/Jitterbug Love/Sunken Rags/Xmas Riff/Born To Boogie/Free Angel/Midnight/Sitting Here/Satisfaction Pony/Explosive Mouth/Space Boss/Chrome Sitar/Do You Wanna Dance?/Dock Of The Bay/Solid Baby/Baby Boomerang/Life’s An Elevator/City Port/All Alone/Groove A Little/Tame My Tiger/Ride My Wheels
A little glitter dust under the eyes, a rack of satin jackets and a wardrobe full of hand-made girls shoes completed the transformation from ‘bopping elf’ to teen idol as Bolan brought an audacious sense of style to the gloom of post-Beatles Britain. For these singles he shamelessly recycled riffs from the golden age of rock, drawing inspiration from Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and Howling Wolf to ensure that he dominated the singles charts for three consecutive years before he ditched the successful formula for funk, or ‘space age soul’, as he preferred to call it.
The collection of B sides is every bit as essential as its companion hits CD because Bolan was a shrewd operator who knew that to maximise the chance of a single entering the chart he had to put strong songs on the flip and not just throwaways or filler. Fifteen of the tracks on the B side collection and nine of those on the A side compilation (including some of his biggest hits) were exclusive single sides and unavailable on CD, until Edsel’s reissue campaign added them to the appropriate albums. But as the post ’73 albums are patchy, to say the least, it would be wise to grab a copy of these two plus the three recommended studio albums to ensure you don’t miss any of the indispensable items.
Sound * * * * Content * * * * *
Also Recommended: ‘T. Rex’ (Essential/Castle), ‘Marc – Words And Music’ (A&M), ‘The Electric Warrior Sessions’ (Burning Airlines) and ‘Rabbit Fighter – The Alternate Slider’ (Edsel)
If You Like This, Why Not Try: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Marc Bolan’s solo albums, Donovan, The Cars



Guitar Chords - All the Chords You'll Need...and More

‘Guitar Chords’

deserves to be much more popular
By the new strummer on 2 Mar 2010
As a relative beginner, I have two guitar chord books. The first I bought was "501 Guitar Chords", but I needed something more, and found this one browsing in a bookshop (then bought it here at a better price, of course). The two books complement each other and I wouldn't want to be without either.
Of the two, I think this one has more practical chords - what real guitar players actually use, with easier fingerings, even if they may not be purely constructed. The introductory section is helpful and includes use of a capo. It is spiral bound with solid hardback covers so overall really practical.
Whereas 501 is divided by key then by chord type, this one is all organised by chord type, of which the selection is wider than 501. It includes first and second inversions as well as augmented, diminished, suspended, 5th/power, major 6th, minor 6th, major 7th, 7th, minor 7th, minor/major 7th, diminished 7th, 9th, major 9th, minor 9th, add 9th, major 11th, minor 11th. The introductory words to each chord type are interesting, often with examples of where to hear the chords. There is a really useful section on moveable shapes. It is also the only chord book I have found that includes slash chords, and that was one main reason for purchasing it.
Overall, I am surprised this book is not more popular.

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