CD REVIEW: TYRANNOSAURUS REX – A Crown Of Dark Swansdown, Live Cologne 4-4-1970
Easy Action Records
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
A fascinating document this, capturing Marc Bolan in as transformative a creative place as Dylan going electric just a few years before, with similarly widespread ramifications for both his career and popular music.
In late 1969 the then-folk music oriented hippy Bolan had endured a catastrophic US tour and fallen out with acoustic duo partner Steve Took, and his future looked dicey. Once he returned home and licked his wounds, he quickly brought in Mickey Finn as his new foil on table, Moroccan drums and bass.
The fourth Tyrannosaurus Rex album, A Beard Of Stars, was released in March 1970, just three weeks before this live show recorded beautifully at Köln’s Progressive Pop Festival.
Featuring just three songs from the new album, Bolan and Finn start their set in full acoustic hippy mode, but as they progress the sound evolves, getting more muscular, transforming into a different beast entirely.
It’s a rare moment captured with serendipitous clarity: you can literally hear Tyrannosaurus Rex – folk pop – becoming T-Rex – glam stomp.
Within a few months of this gig the band were recording again – in October they released the single Ride A White Swan as T-Rex, with their ‘debut’ album following in December. Bolan and Finn then took their sparkly glam all the way to the top of the charts, but this live recording is where it all started, making it a terribly historic archival artifact.
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