Another well-crammed disc's worth of unreleased songs -- or, at least, unreleased in their original form. During the Marc Bolan catalog's years in the grip of his so-called fan club, many of his 1976-1977 cast-offs did see the light of day, albeit in posthumously overdubbed/remixed form. Returning to the original, unadulterated masters, T. Rex Unchained: Unreleased Recordings, Vol. 7 presents much of the same material in the form Bolan left it; known classics like "Hot George" (a song later subjected to a wicked cover by guitarist Paul Roland and former Bolan bandmate Andy Ellison), "Sing Me a Song," "Endless Sleep," and "Mellow Love"; and unknown gems like "Decadent Priestess" and "Over You Babe," a duet with girlfriend Gloria Jones. Other highlights include the continued germination of the London Opera via further versions of several songs which appeared on Vol. 6 -- "Bombs Out of London" and "Funky London Childhood" among them -- "London Boys," a 1976 single presented in alternate form on the Dazzling Raiment/Alternate Futuristic Dragon album, is also reprised. The sound quality is not always spot on, and occasionally the songs get a bit daft as well. But as usual with the Unchained albums, there's at least one conventional album's worth of magic hidden away -- the album, of course, which would have been next on Bolan's agenda had he not been killed in September 1977. Nine tracks recorded during April/May 1977 represent the last studio demos Bolan and T. Rex ever recorded, and show him drinking deep not only from the then-turbulent waters of punk, but also from a strong awareness of what his own past catalog meant to that movement. A couple of the songs would be performed on his U.K. TV show later in the year, further evidence of his intention to release them next time around; others, as aforementioned, have leaked out in various forms over the years. Heard together for the first time, however, they are simply stunning -- a total reinvention of all the magic T Rex once embodied. Finally, there's a fascinating moment of almost heartbreaking irony, as Bolan wraps up "Memphis Highway" with the suggestion that it should be sent to Elvis Presley. It would have been perfect for him as well, but Presley, too, would soon be dead, one month before Bolan and just weeks after the song was recorded.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson