Infuriatingly brief, unreasonably fickle, annoyingly dilettante. Unchained, Vol. 6 is all of these things, and it still runs out one of the finest albums in the entire series. The heart of this collection of unused songs and fragments (lots of fragments!) is the Billy Super Duper album which occupied much of Bolan's attentions during 1975, before finally being abandoned in favor of the Futuristic Dragon album -- and from the evidence here, he was extraordinarily silly not to carry it to completion. We, on the other hand, are appallingly unfortunate. "Dynamo," "Brain Police," and "Teenage Boy Child" have all survived and sound great. And the title song, "Billy Super Duper" itself, is well-known to Bolan fans, having been released in the mid-'80s by the erstwhile proprietors of his fan club. However, amid manifold and, generally, misguided, attempts to "update" the classic Bolan sound for a new generation, fresh overdubs were commissioned for a variety of songs, "Billy Super Duper" included. And they ruined the only existing tape of the song in the process. "We've been unable to locate a copy which isn't spoiled by posthumous overdubs," complain the liner notes, and, if T. Rex fans the world over aren't at least a little outraged by this, they should be ashamed of themselves. So, no "Billy Super Duper," but we do get a slew of other gems, including a great reworking of the old Tyrannosaurus Rex number "King of the Mountain Cometh" and the lovely "I Could Have Loved You," an acoustic variation on the later "Dreamy Lady." "Savage Beethoven" and "Bust My Ball" threaten the same kind of blistered R&B that made the likes of "Baby Strange" and "Thunderwing" such favorites a few years earlier. Finally, we also get the first glimmerings of another Bolan concept, the so-called London Opera. "London Boys," a 1976 single, is the best-known survivor of this ultimately unrealized project -- it is joined here by "Petticoat Lane," "Funky London Childhood," and "It's My City," three similarly themed songs which, again, promised great things. Unfortunately, they never delivered; Bolan never delivered. And this sketchbook of ideas is all we have left.
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