T. Rex

Rockin' and Rollin'

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Buoyed by a string of successive U.K. number ones, fuelled by the sheer brilliance of the recent Slider album, unstoppable, unimpeachable, and unimaginably hot, Bolan and T Rex arrived in Japan during in November 1972 with the world at their feet. Certainly the gent in the back row of the Budokan, with his tape recorder apparently concealed within a large bag of very molten rice, thought so. Whether he did the world any favors by switching on, however, is another matter entirely. You can make out there's a band on stage, and even discern who it is. But two CDs of Rockin' and Rollin' are barely any more a document of the occasion than the earlier TKY Blues, a misdated single disc recounting of the same visit. The performance is certainly sound, and Bolan is in an extraordinarily playful mood -- in stark contrast to the bad-tempered complaints which rounded out that other album. But the hyper-muffled sound is only marginally improved by not being drowned by a howling crowd, and Bolan himself is bedevilled by readily apparent monitor problems -- "no voice!" he complains during a protracted "Jeepster," and the listener feels immediate sympathy. There are no guts to the recording, either. The very existence of the aforementioned TKY Blues, of course, saves the day somewhat, if only because it proves there are worse sounding CDs around than this. Further consolation comes in the form of a powerful (if feedback ridden) version of "Spaceball Ricochet" cutting through the murk with a certain soul-stirring majesty. But with so much T Rex material on the market already, and more apparently appearing every month, there can be no reasonable excuse for buying this album -- and even less for releasing it.

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