Friday, 27 January 2017

"Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow - A Creamed Cage In August" by T.REX (2002 Edsel 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





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"...Change Is Coming..."

The typically space cadet entitled "Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow - A Creamed Cage In August" is not one of Marc Bolan's most popular T.REX albums for sure (it peaked at No. 12 in March 1974 on release). It isn't even that well remembered as a classic either truth be told (except amongst fans).

But as ever - Edsel of the UK have done his recorded legacy proud with this 2CD overhaul. You get the original 1974 LP Remastered, important non-album singles that surrounded it and a slew of worthy Bonus Tracks in the shape of an 'Alternative' album called 'Change' (all 13 cuts), working versions of all the single sides and solo Acoustic Demos too. All in all – the whole caboodle is very good value for money. Here are the unhidden details...

UK released August 2002 (reissued in 2007 and 2014) – "Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage In August" by T.REX on Edsel MEDCD 717 (Barcode 740155171728) is a 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' of Remasters and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (60:58 minutes):
1. Venus Loon
2. Sound Pit
3. Explosive Mouth
4. Galaxy
5. Change
6. Nameless Wildness
7. Teenage Dream
8. Liquid Gang
9. Carsmile Smith And The Old One
10. You've Got To Jive To Stay Alive – Spanish Midnight
11. Interstellar Soul
12. Painless Persuasion v. The Meathawk Immaculate
13. The Avengers (Superbad)
14. The Leopards Featuring Gardenia & The Mighty Slug
Tracks 1 to 14 are the album "Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow - A Creamed Cage In August" – originally released 1 February 1974 in the UK on EMI Records BLN 7751.

EXTENDED PLAY (five non-album single sides):
15. The Groover
16. Midnight – Tracks 15 and 16 are the A&B-sides of a June 1973 UK 7" single on EMI/T.Rex Wax Co. Label MARC 5
17. Truck On (Tyke)
18. Sitting Here – Tracks 17 and 18 are the A&B-sides of a November 1973 UK 7" single on EMI/T.Rex Wax Co. Label MARC 6
19. Satisfaction Pony – Track 19 is a January 1974 UK 7" single on EMI/T.Rex Wax Co. Label MARC 7 – the non-album B-side to "Teenage Dream"

Disc 2 (61:52 minutes):
1. Venus Loon
2. Sound Pit (Parts 1 & 2)
3. Explosive Mouth
4. Galaxy
5. Change (Signs)
6. Nameless Wildness
7. Teenage Dream
8. Liquid Gang
9. Carsmile Smith And The Old One
10. Spanish Midnight
11. Painless Persuasion v. The Meathawk Immaculate
12. The Avengers (Superbad)
13. The Leopards Featuring Gardenia & The Mighty Slug
Tracks 1 to 13 are "The Alternate Zinc Alloy ('Change')" – studio rough mixes of every track.

EXTENDED PLAY (All Working Versions of the Five Single-Sides on Disc 1):
14. The Groover
15. Midnight
16. Truck On (Tyke)
17. Sitting There (Sitting Here)
18. Satisfaction Pony

BONUS ACOUSTIC DEMOS:
19. Nameless Wildness
20. Carsmile Smith & The Old One (Solo)
21. Carsmile Smith & The Old One (with Organ)
22. Painless Persuasion v. The Meathawk Immaculate
23. The Avengers (Superbad)
24. The Leopards Featuring Geraldine & The Mighty Slug

The three-way fold-out digipak is pretty – alternate artwork on the inner flaps – press adverts and promo stuff beneath the two see-through CD trays - detailed 16-page liner notes by T.Rex/Marc Bolan expert MARK PAYTRESS – lyrics – and both CDs carrying the T.Rex Wax Co. 7" single Logo which on this reissue is blackened to resemble the sleeve instead of the usual blue and red colouring (I remember for all those 45s we used to grab in Woolworths with the excitement of buying the next Beatles seven). The remasters are fabulous too – full of power and muscle – giving tracks like the electric strum of "Change" and the chugging rock boogie/drums of "Explosive Mouth" huge presence. But in truth I wish I could get more excited about the album in general…

I remember to this day the disappointment of "Truck On (Tyke)" – the first T.REX 7" single to sound average – like Bolan was treading water. And for me the LP “Zinc Alloy…” that followed amounted to the same. What was so exciting between 1971 and 1973 now sounded so utterly dated and forced by 1974. There are magic moments for sure like the funky boogie of "Nameless Wildness" and the opening guitar chug of "Venus Loon" where the groove is still good – but much of the rest sounds forced and massively over-produced with screaming girly voices and strings. There's a general feeling of 'uninspired' about the whole record I thought. Having said that the extras are more than just interesting - giving you a fascinating insight into his work process (there's a lovely intimacy to those Acoustic Demos especially).

Not one of his greatest albums for me then but if you're a fan there's the beefy remastered sound – quality presentation - and a reasonable price tag for a 2CD Deluxe Edition. Meathawk Immaculate indeed...

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