T. Rex

Precious Star (The Alternate Zip Gun)

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A loving recreation of the Bolan's Zip Gun album, pieced together via outtakes, demos, and live performances, Precious Star -- somewhat surprisingly -- ranks among the finest albums in Bolan's entire "alternate" series. Melodies are enhanced -- "Light of Love" has never sounded so sweet; ideas are expanded -- three early versions of "Till Dawn" and two of "Golden Belt" point any number of conclusions to that most delicate of Bolan ballads; and energies explode. A ten-plus-minute version of "Zip Gun Boogie," recorded in Cleveland on T. Rex's final (1974) U.S. tour, is simply staggering, proof that the strength of Bolan's guitar playing had been neither diminished, nor deterred, by the withering of his fame. In the studio, the song was swamped by its production. On stage, Bolan's natural gift for savage simplicity is unhindered by any other considerations. That is the joy of this entire album. Almost without exception, the alternate takes have such an edge on their released counterparts that the listener cannot help but question the decisions which went into the final release. Infinitely impulsive, unambiguously playful, and drop-dead gorgeous punchy, Precious Star is the sound of Bolan at his purist best, before the session lapsed into a cut and paste attempt to graft whatever the big bad world's latest favorite sounds might be onto the simple magic that was the genuine Bolan boogie.

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