T-Rex – Dandy in the Underworld

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He loved to boogie.

He got it on.

He could bang a gong.

He was a cosmic dancer.

He was a John Temple Boy.

He was a rocker.

He was an original Mod.

He was a face.

He was the 20th century boy.

He was Marc Bolan.

Bolan remains one of the most iconic figures in the history of English rock and pop and roll…a glam rock, terrace stomp, pretty boy who was adored by prettier girls and who, alongside David Bowie, redefined what it meant to be a rock ‘n’ roll star.

His influence can be heard everywhere if you listen carefully enough.

“Dandy in the Underworld” would prove to be the final album from T-Rex, as Bolan would die just a few months after its release.  1977 was a seismic year in English music with punk beginning to become a “thing”…T-Rex were supported by The Damned on the “Dandy in the Underworld” tour, evidence that, again alongside Bowie, Bolan was a unifying force who was respected by the disrespectful and disgraceful punks who were about to de-throne the old order.

There is no doubting the fact that by the time “Dandy…” arrived that the T-Rex star was beginning to burn less brightly, Bolan’s descent into the darker side of drugs and alcohol had made him a less pleasant character and a much more challenging presence in and around the studio.  The edge had also begun to disappear from his writing and it is doubtful that anyone but the most hardcore Bolanites would have expected anything much from this twelfth album.

Gloriously it proved to be a reminder of just how great Bolan could be.

The title track is classic T-Rex, full of charm, swagger, pomp and excessive levels of narcissism.  The dandy in question can only be Bolan…”When will he climb up for air?  Will anybody ever care?”  Good questions and ones that, sadly, we would never get answers to.

“I Love to Boogie” though is the big hit on the album, the sort of blending of the old school rock ‘n’ roll that had captured the young Marc Feld’s imagination in the fifties with the ghost of Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran running through it and then spiked with the Bolan glitter and sparkle.  It’s infectious, like a pop music STD…with less itching.

But the album contains other diamond moments “Visions of Domino”, “Groove a Little”, “Universe” and “I’m a Fool for you Girl” are all songs that in any other bands back catalogue would form the bulk of any greatest hits compilation.

Now this glam gem is getting a glorious re-issue from Demon Music made up of three discs and with a gorgeous book with an essay from Bolan biographer Mark Paytress alongside some other lovely things.

The two singles from the album are also being given a loving release in the shape of two coloured 10″ vinyls.