Bolan at the BEEB - Review by 'Metal Guru'

Bolan at the BBC

After many years of gestation and research Universal Music’s catalogue team deliver a comprehensive 6CD package of Marc’s sessions and interviews for the Beeb.

Spanning his whole career from John’s Children right upto 77’s Celebrate Summer, the set is delivered chronologically, interspersed with interviews and DJ’s intros, which listened to in order, gives an almost documentary feel to the set – with Marc’s own words often appearing rather prophetic of his future.

With 118 tracks, the content is an almost complete record of Marc’s sessions for the BBC and Joe Black and Clive Zone deserve credit for producing such a great package. Its beautifully packaged, with BBC Radio Times typefaces used throughout. Mark Paytress contributes a new essay, highlighting just how important John Peel and later other Radio 1 DJ’s were in supporting him. But the number of sessions also shows how much time and effort Marc devoted to recording for the fans he could reach though radio.

The music itself is largely of a great quality, but there are a few tracks of indifferent quality, but as a disclaimer states, the view was taken better to be inclusive than leave gaps, and I would endorse that.

Over the course of 6 discs Peel’s show, and a variety of other showcases deliver a comprehensive selection of the key tracks in Marc’s repertoire. Discs 1 and 2 cover John’s Children and Tyrannosaurus Rex. But Discs 3 to 5 cover a frenetic period of activity at T.Rex’s pinnacle over 1970 to 73 and the move not just into electric sound and strings, but the transformation from prog folky (Ride a White Swan) to the glam rock popstar of 20th Century Boy.

The last disc covers the more infrequent sessions upto ’77, largely recorded to promote singles, but he kept recording at the Beeb right upto a few weeks before his tragically early death.

This package delivers what it sets out to do – this is the definitive history of Marc’s career and relationship with his audience through the BBC, and any keen fans of T.Rex will want a copy.

Steve Gallant