T. Rex – The Slider

January 01, 1970

(Fat Possum)




It’s always been a bloody tragedy that, in the United States,
T. Rex is a one-hit wonder. Despite massive popularity in his native England, Marc
Bolan and his merry men were never more than a cult act over here, one that
scored one fluke hit single with the immortal “Bang a Gong (Get It On).” Electric Warrior, the LP from which that
song comes, is generally acknowledged to be Bolan’s masterpiece. But 1972’s The Slider may very well be the equal of
its celebrated predecessor.


A refinement of the glam rock Bolan had crystallized on Warrior, The Slider almost casually tosses out gem after goofy, gorgeous,
glitter-lined gem. Bolan’s patented surreal seduction raps, from “Baby Strange”
to “Chariot Choogle” to “Buick MacKane,” slither across the grooves like Satan looking
to catch Eve naked. “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru” pay tribute to the krazy
kats that inhabit Bolan’s rock & roll universe, platform boots or no. “Mystic
Lady” and “Ballrooms of Mars” weave fantastical spells out of acid science
fiction hippie fantasy folk. “Spaceball Ricochet,” “Main Man” and the title
track continue the beauteous introspection brought to Bolan’s pixie glam by
“Cosmic Dancer,” reinforced by the insecure cover. Whether spitting out riffs
on his Les Paul or strumming overdubbed acoustics, Bolan’s guitar work gets the
job done with a surprising lack of flash, allowing his slinky voice to
dominate. As with most of T. Rex’s albums, the great Tony Visconti perfectly
enhances Bolan’s enigmatically opulent vision with spot-on production.  


After being out of print in the States for several years,
the album has been given a reissue by Fat Possum,
of all people. Unlike Rhino’s out-of-print 2002 two-disc deluxe edition, there
are no bonus tracks, but a record this stuffed with classics doesn’t need any. Full
of rabbit fighters, sexual gliders and silver-studded saber-toothed dreams, The Slider is quintessential T. Rex.


Strange,” “The Slider,” “Telegram Sam” MICHAEL TOLAND

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