Marc Bolan & T. Rex

T. Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings, Vol. 3: 1973, Pt. 1

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With Vol. 3, the Unchained series moved into 1973, the year that the steam ran out on the T. Rex juggernaut. Although Bolan was still at the top of the charts throughout the year, he was recording the material that would become Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow, the album that delivered him to the lower reaches of the charts. Zinc Alloy itself was an uneven record, and these demos, outtakes and scraps -- which aren't simply contained to Vol. 3, they also dominate Vol. 4 -- don't reveal any hidden gems. They do reveal that Bolan was trying to move beyond his signature bloozy boogie and hippie-folk formula, but to not much avail. Bolan fanatics will find the multiple versions of "Saturday Night" and "Dance in the Midnight" interesting, but unfinished experiments like "Organ Thing" might try their patience. Occasionally, a song contains a kernel of an idea, such as "Metropolis Incarnate" or "You Move Like a Dog," but they're never sufficiently developed. Sorting through this lengthy disc may provide some pleasures for devoted fans, but for many listeners, including those who like all of the official T. Rex albums, making it to the end of the disc is quite tiring.

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