Marc Bolan

The Marc Shows

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For fans of a certain age, there is something impossibly magic about the Marc TV series. No matter that it was the last work Marc Bolandid before his death in September 1977; Marc was also incontrovertible evidence that, after three years of increasingly diminishing returns, Bolan was on his way back up. The new material that he debuted throughout the show's run was seldom less than excellent, while his taste in guests mixed the expected old farts and hopeful unknowns with the very best of the then-emergent new wave, and there was no doubting which side Bolan identified with. Evidence of this new outlook on music has since been spread across any number of 1976-1977 era demo and outtake collections. But Marc was its first public appearance, and when the Marc Shows album first arrived in the late '80s, fans seized upon it as though it were the Holy Grail -- which, in many ways, it was. Songs like "Sing Me a Song," "Endless Sleep," and his final 45, "Celebrate Summer," fizz with energies Bolan had not approached since the height of T. Rexstacy in 1972, while his approach to older material caught him fearlessly rearranging it to tie in, too, with his new energies. Had he not died that fall, who can say what he would have achieved? The Marc Shows is not perfect; the final show in the series found Bolan joined by David Bowie, with whom he played out the show's closing credits. That contribution is absent from this collection, and while it must be admitted that it sounds a lot better in memory than it does in reality, the omission rankles. As a snapshot of Bolan reemerging as a genuinely worthwhile force, however, this album is priceless.