Marc Bolan at the BBC

Round-up: Marc Bolan, The Style Council, Jane’s Addiction

Published on September 9th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

Some cracking ‘packages’, if you will, have been released lately – we’ve been listening, you know…

Marc Bolan at the BBC / 6CD box set

This jolly bundle combines “all of the surviving BBC recordings with previously unreleased sessions taken from BBC Transcription Discs, off-air recordings made on reel-to-reel tape recorders and the occasional cassette tape”.

Furthermore, “the box contains 16 previously unreleased Tyrannosaurus Rex tracks, and over 20 T.Rex tracks never before issued. There are also a dozen interviews many of which have never been commercially available.”

We trust you shall forgive us all the copy/pasted blurb there…didn’t seem worth our time paraphrasing it, like.

What resoundingly was worth our time was listening to this compelling document of a true great, whose gentler side is one of the crowning features of this set.

Scattered among the fuzz-tastic 12-bar likes of “Hot Rod Mama” (complete with cheesy introduction from Tony Blackburn, or at least someone who sounds like him) are more pensive, psychedelic numbers such as “Child Star” and “Frowning Atahuallpa”, presented in a pared-back, bongo-accompanied setting far removed from the glam rock Bolan’s known for.

These are also splendid showcases for Bolan’s wonderful vibrato vocal and sense of the surreal. “Salamanda Palaganda” a lovably daft yet sorrowful strum, ends with snippet of a radio DJ saying “haven’t the slightest idea what it means”…

…neither do we, but somehow the inscrutability is fastened to an inestimable warmth also present on the rumbling fuzzathon of “Jewel”, on which Bolan sings like a cartoon alien.

Consider also lyrics such as those that adorn “The Slider” – “I have never kissed a car before, it’s like a door / I have always always grown my own before / All schools are strange / And when I’m sad, I slide” – and yer man was a winner all ends up.

The interview footage here shows Bolan in all his hyperactive, illuminating best when discussing his image and all the clothes he had made: “Rock and roll’s a bitch, you can’t be real…on that stage I’m in a realm of fantasy, I can do whatever I want and get away with it”.

He talks about the audience being his spectacle just as he is theirs, the mark of a man who clearly found wonder and enlightenment in all he set eyes upon. What a true champion he was, and what a great testament to that this collection is.

The Syle Council – Classic Album Selection

BLURB! “This six-CD set will include all five Style Council albums (including the unreleased-until-1998 Modernism: A New Decade) as well as the mini-LP that gathered up a few early singles and B-sides, 1983’s Introducing The Style Council.”

Back to us: you know, for all that the slickness could occasionally be a turn-off, The Style Council remained a creatively fertile period for Paul Weller, and indeed Mick Talbot.

Particularly lovely is some of the blissed-out jazzy stuff on The Style Council’s first album Café Bleu, while its follow-up Our Favourite Shop shines forth with the dreamy, Elvis Costello-worthy “Come to Milton Keynes” and the hilarious take-off of ‘old school’ comedians that is “The Stand Up Comic’s Instructions”, featuring a young Lenny Henry imitating the likes of Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson.

Jane’s Addiction – Live in NYC

This free show at New York’s Terminal 5 on July 25th, 2011, was staged in celebration of The Great Escape Artist, which had been Jane’s Addiction’s first studio album in eight years.

Plenty of old favourites are granted incendiary run-throughs; they kick off with a barnstorming rendition of “Whores” then launch straight into the fearsome juddering effects of “Ain’t No Right”, while “Ted Just Admit It…”, “Stop!” and “Jane Says” elicit mass singalongs as if no one had any choice in the matter.

And that’s without even mentioning “Been Caught Stealing”, the spoken word mid-section of which finds Perry Farrell in particularly imperious form.

Arguably, though, it’s Farrell’s stage banter that steals the show. Highlights include:

“Feels good to rub up against someone, doesn’t it? You can stare at fucking Facebook all you want, but if you want the real shit, come to Jane’s Addiction”

“On the way out you can buy these Dave Navarro dolls – complete with fishnets and a big cock!”

“I want you young fellas to take a look at me – this is what a real New York City stud looks like!”

And, at the end of it all…

“Not a bad family reunion, right”?

Not bad indeed. Quite formidable, you might say.

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.