Marc Bolan / Marc Bolan & T. Rex

Twopenny Prince

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Can there really be a single note of music left unheard in the Marc Bolan archive? There have been so many "rare and unreleased"-style compilations created over the last few years that even that question now seems over-asked. But for as long as material of this quality remains to be unearthed, Bolan's audience will continue to be well-served. In truth and viewed objectively, the sound of barrels being scraped can occasionally be discerned as Twopenny Prince runs its two-disc course, but even the best-recorded T. Rex live tapes are ropey by even contemporary standards, and the concert cuts here scarcely fall into that category. But four songs recorded at a 1971 French studio session have a grinding boogie that is quintessential T. Rex, while epic workouts of "Jewel" (German TV) and "Elemental Child" (live) remind us that even as they inched toward pop superstardom, T. Rex remained a solid underground rock band. A hyper-extended "Cadillac," a romping "Ride a White Swan" and a charming "Salamanda Palaganda," recorded live in 1968, rank among the other highlights. While the first disc concentrates on a grab-bag of generally hard-rocking numbers from the band's 1971-1972 heyday (with the occasional look back to the golden age of Tyrannosaurus Rex), disc two is dedicated to studio outtakes dating back to 1970's T. Rex album, snippets and false starts included. It's not the stuff of repeated listens, but -- again -- there can be very little left in the Bolanic basement that is. Be grateful, then, for what we have here. The Twopenny Prince still sounds like a million dollars._

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