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"Did you ever see a woman coming
out of New York city with a frog in her hand?."
New York City - Marc Bolan.
T.Rex - Futuristic Dragon
List of Reviewers
=== Review by MarkMcL ===Well, listening to Dragon over the weekend certainly gave me a few surprises.
It is not an album I know well. Only the completist in me made me buy it from the remaindered bin. It was a post-77 purchase and, having been less and less impressed with the descent into glam excesses, I was very doubtful. It's predecessor, Zinc, is my least favourite album and so I had held out no great hopes for this. I was pleasantly surprised, even so I have not played it many times. Or so I thought, but listening to it now as I type it all seems *very* familiar - "yes and I do mean yes" [surprise #1].
A few classic phrases apart, the first three tracks slip by, hardly noticing the transition from one track to the next. At least I now know where Edsel found the title for the alternate Dragon - in the 'Intro' [surprise #2].
OK Tillers - identify the source of the titles for all the alternate series.
I found the line "Zeus is never loose with his Grecian kiss" (in my Prophets review) from Ivan's site but did not recognise it at all, only quoted it because it fit the context, and *there-it-is* in 'All Alone' - an otherwise unmemorable track [surprise #3].
NYC. Deservedly a single. What an image "Did you ever see a woman coming out of New York City with a frog in her hand". Catchy tune or what?
My Little Baby. Talk about alpha to omega. In this penultimate album he references "Lunacy's back" from that prequel album "Beginning of Doves" [surprise #4]. As I've said before, that thematic consistency is part of what gives Marc's oeuvre it's strength.
Calling All Destroyers. A strong track but a left-over from Zinc, I reckon.
Theme for a Dragon. What a *brilliant* instrumental! Majestic, magnificent, soul stirring stuff. Why so short - "Referee, we wuz robbed!"
Sensation Boulevard. Another fine track but what about 'Ride My Wheels' - thumbs down. Dreamy Lady may have been a single but it didn't do much for me. 'Dawn Storm' - my ears blinked. 'Casual Agent' grabbed the attention before the outro.
And I am the first to go to print with an album of the month review [surprise #5]
=== Review by Dela ===Okay. Don't know quite what you're after, but here goes....
Futuristic Dragon is an album which I have always found got mixed reviews from Bolan devotees. It is either a dreadful album, pandering to commercial needs, or a great album to be played at excessive volumes. I fall into this latter category, and here's why.
Okay. I'm going to start on the downers. I want to get these out of the way to concentrate on the good stuff.
1. The drumming. Bit technical I know, but Davey-boy might as well been hitting a couple of cardboard boxes at times. Listen to New York City.
2. I know it's dead catchy, and minimalistically simple, but New York City is (in my opinion at least) one of Marc's poorer efforts.
3. I cannot stand Ride My Wheels. Never have been able to.
On to the good stuff....
This album is one of my favourites that Marc ever put out. I bought this album for a couple of quid from a second-hand record store in about '84. By that time it had already been relegated to the bargain bin. I took it home and played it. Since that first playing, until that tape's sad demise on the cross-channel ferry a couple of years ago, I have loved it. Not quite up there with Unicorn (my personal favourite), but a great album.
The opening to track 1 is great. Guitar riffs, followed by a heavy bass, keyboards and (awful) drums. Then, Marc coming in with the emotion lost in the previous Zip Gun album. The words, although not similar in any way, remind me so much of the Tyrannosaurus Rex days, once again using mystical-sounding lyrics. A wonderful little tune. And you just have to sing along to 'Yes. And I do mean, yes.'
Is it me, or does the end of that sound like a Pink Floyd track I can't recall?
Anyway. Back to the plot. Jupiter Liar. Another chorus sing-along, in which you have to try an imitate Marc's vocal style to appreciate it at its best. Lyrics not deep, tune not the best, but play at full volume... annoy the neighbours! Bad strings ending, though.
Chrome Sitar is one of my favourite songs. I'll come back to why this is later, as there's a point I want to make about the album as a whole. "Octoganic angel, measuring the stars..." who cares what that means? "Love is grand, won't you hold my hand." Not poetry, but a simple beauty about it.
I was never a great fan of All Alone when I first heard it. Still not that sure about it. The music.... Hmmm. Can't stand the strings in the background, and that sax break! Ugh! But some of the lyrics make up for some of it. "And serenade the dudes that move smile so vile and masquerade" and "Fiery skies in children eyes fade into youth" are my favourites.
New York City. Hmm. Too catchy, very simple, and annoys me. Just have to sing along to it though!
My Little Baby is a wonderful song. Starts strong, and never really loses it. Marc sings so beautifully on this track, especially the repeated "Where did you go," and hitting the higher notes with little effort. Also contains possibly my favourite Marc lyric: "Deception dissolves like a mind rainbow." Again, I could ponder its meaning for ages, but in the end, I don't care. It sounds nice, and that's all that matters.
The thing that really ruins Calling All Destroyers for me is the 'Whoop-whoop' noise in the chorus. Other than that, another standard-formula Marc song. Dreadful intro.
Theme For A Dragon. Now we're talking! A great track, and one of the strongest on the album. I remember an argument with a friend's dad about this, him claiming it was just a filler track. But my argument is if it were, would they spend so much time getting the orchestral arrangement to sound just right. Listen to it once, and hum it for days. Again, awful drumming! I wondered for years what this would sound like without the crowd in the background.
Shucks. Verses in Sensation Boulevard aren't the finest Marc's done. But another good chorus. More good lyrics in the shape of "Watch the groovies dance at the peacock feast." At the end of the day a standard Marc album track.
Ride My Wheels. Aaaarrgghh!
Shouldn't have been a single, but Dreamy Lady isn't a bad track. Then again, its not a great one. Like the way he says 'night,' as in "Night is the right time." Another strange lyric which I like - "Moon beams are twining in the portals of my sight." Good one to sing at the top of your voice.
Dawn Storm is an odd song. The verses are poor. The choruses have the rather nice "Times they are strange and they won't rearrange," followed by "No, no, no not my love for you." A song which you draw your own meaning over. For me, it's a slightly nostalgic, ultimatum-issuing love song. I have no proof of this whatsoever, by I always feel it was written for June. Melancholy, and I love it.
Don't like Casual Agent. No really good lyrics, and tune nothing like the rest of the album. A real oddball, and a bad song to end on.
My old tape was lost at sea, after a shopping excursion to Calais. So, I had to get the CD to replace it. Since the realease of Edsel's version has three extra tracks on, I'll quickly mention those as well.
London Boys I like for the way he sings in such an English accent. "Dressed like fame." Marvellous. The song itself - take it or leave it. For years I thought he sang "London to Brighton, and then back again."
Again, not a great single choice, but Laser Love is still a good song. Nice intro, but not too sure about the melody on the electric guitar. The bit that always does it for me is the strumming guitars, punctuated with the "Yeah"s and "Ah." Simple lyrics that don't detract from the cracking tune.
I have always liked Marc's acoustic stuff. I like the acoustic guitar in general, but Life's An Elevator is a beautiful track. His acoustic guitar playing has really come on by this stage when compared to the Tyrannosaurus Rex stuff. An emotional song which words can't describe. Must learn to play it.
Got fairly poor reviews when it came out, but Dragon is lovely album, improved (I think) by the addition of three extra tracks. After the generally poor Zinc Alloy and (especially) Zip Gun albums, Dragon is a return to the stuff I know Marc can do. As well as holding some great memories for me, I think it is a really good listen, one of those that needs to played at full volume (aren't they all?!) and sung along to at the top of your lungs. I have always also regarded this as one of the best albums to put in your walkman. Chrome Sitar was made for this. The beat matches my walking pace perfectly, and you can just block the world out. Marc's later albums have generally remained the realm of the fan, rather than the casual listener. As I see it, Dragon is one of the great ones.
...now listening to Norman Greenbaum
=== Review by Syd ===I expected a lot from Marc on this album. After Zip Gun, which before Dragon I considered to be my least favourite album, I thought Marc would come bouncing back with a classic. All the signs were there. The title Futuristic Dragon, the ending of the self imposed exile, the tour, the radio interviews. I can remember one of Marc's interviews at the time where he said that he sat down and tried to write a poem/song like he used to do back in the Tyrannoaurus Rex days - he came up with Future Man Buick - sounds about right!
So what did we get? First of all a dreadful album cover. In my opinion Marc's worst. Nothing more than a very poor sketch by George Underwood of a fat Marc sitting on an undersized dragon. Why did he draw a fat Marc. OK so Marc was fat in 1975 but he didn't have to draw him overweight. You just wouldn't believe that it was the same George Underwood that drew the masterpiece album cover - My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair?
Starts of OK with Theme for a Dragon, never saw the connection with Bowie's Diamond Dogs (my favourite Bowie Album). Then Jupiter Liar, same old story, good song crap production.
The rest of the Album is wishy washy nothingness. It really pissed me off. How could Marc release such shite! Marc on TV wasn't any better, absolutely dreadful video of New York City shown on that shithouse kids show Shang A Lang. Exceedingly fat Marc, puffed out face, white make up, terrible miming, greased back corkscrew hair - it was a shocker. Slightly better NYC performances on top of the pops. I've got both of them on 8mm film, but surrounded by frogs bought from the big toy store Hamley's on Regent Street. I can remember turning up outside Marc's office at 69 New Bond Street and all the Groupies were carrying these little Hamley's frogs after watching top of the flops.
My least favourite Bolan Era and Marc's worst album.
=== Review by MarcO ===Considering we're nearly all agreed that the album cover is a bit naff compared to the others, strange that Edsel should have used it as part of AWATS cover.
Anyway, to the album. It also seems that most of us are agreed that the best track is "Jupiter Liar", I remember reading a review at the time of release and it said that the album opens with a brilliant chugging, thumping track, and it all goes downhill from there.
Was I the only one who went out and bought ALL the music papers when Marc had a new release to see if he got any 5 stars?
Incidentally, I always preferred Record Mirror, it was more lightweight than the others but more compact and less clumsy.
I wouldn't really say its my least favorite album, as you lot know I'm an avid admirer of Marcs lyrical prose and as far as this album is concerned its very strong in that department.
Marc refers to All alone in an interview on the AWATS CDs. Originally titled Saturation Syncopation. I loved it when Marc used to say, "I got six cars but I cant drive" every time he said it there was always another one added, if he was alive today he'd be up to 50 or so.
Gloria is to the fore on this album, great singer she may be in her own right but when alongside Marc its oil n water. This isn't unlike "Dandy" in a lot of ways, Marcs bad albums were better than most other artists good ones. The biggest drawback for Marc (and us) is that the first two T.REX albums were practically faultless and almost impossible to follow.
I wonder if had someone made a fly on the wall documentary about Marc while he was alive, he may have actually realised what he was turning into a little earlier.
On a more upbeat note, he did realise what he had become and rectified it before he died, (tragic). As for "Dragon" musically 5-10 lyrically it gets 10-10 from me.
=== Review by timot ===Well tillers i did fall in love with the picture of this cover,so it must some up to most of you what a poor bastard i realy am...
Having missed out on zip gun and never hearing of it until much later,so i have to fink zink of the hidden riders of tomorrow lp.....there was such a change in his style of music and sound now,but i played it any ways,apart from the obvious releases of new york city and dreamy lady i thoughtdawn storm was my favorite track on the album,i always thoght marc might have gone to basics on this one knowing the rest of his titles were very much in style,but i was wrong.
Ill agree with syd about geoge underwood,drawing a fat marc,how could it fly,putme on it a few years ago i would break its back....i noticed it and seeing footage on top of the Flops i knew he was over wieght and struggling,plus high asa kite,i felt sorry for him and that lp futuristic dragon will always remind me of his bad period in his life.
Still i know i talk through my arse but its my opinion, but the tracks chrome sitar and sensation boulevard did have a nice sound to hit,me and my foster sister loved it....though we both knew marc had lost it.
To put it out of all his albums ill have to say it was not as good as his best,it was the worst career move and a low point in his life, disapointing his fans he must have realised he had to pull him self together cos his next lp was better.
=== Review by Rick ===MarcO I agree with your -ratings system ;-)
I always thought the lyrics on -Dragon- (for the most part) were clever & hinted back to an older Bolan prose .. "Chrome Sitar" still rates up there with my list of best bolan lyrics
and since day one of hearing this Lp/Xcd I can at any given moment just grab the lyric line "I got some Punk to lay on you" & within second the whole "Ride my wheels " fills my head
"All alone"......... Marc was deffinitly rerady willing & able to create the wonderful lyrics of the earlier Lp's .. But with most of the Lp the music just doesn't match the brillience of his work on the
"Casual Agent" Music IMO is one of his weakest , but read the lyrics & then place a great Bolan track in your head & you see that this lp had the potential of being a monster .. But Marc was just getting back on track .. and at least we got from him an interest in his lyrics again ... The next lp was time for the
Huuuummmmm was that a bit of a rickster review ;-) wheres my delete button !!
Thanks to all & to all that will add theirs later
=== Review by Desdemona ===I LOVE everything Marc touches. He's perfect in my eyes, really and there isn't a single song that I hate of Marc's----that would be impossible for I love him so and still miss him terribly. But I feel I must give my 2 cents on this album also....and I'll try to be unbiased ;-)
The Cover painting: I love it. It's very sexual....well, it IS Marc so that goes without saying doesn't it?
Intro/Futuristic Dragon: Doesn't work for me.
Jupiter Liar: HEAVY keyboards but I wanna Dance!
Chrome Sitar: I actually think Gloria's input is good on this song...more Flo + Eddie'ish.
All Alone: Very jungle rhythm type song....better watch your mind :-)
New York City: Nice visual, witchery abounds.
My Little Baby: I love Marc's straight, hard guitar chords in this song. They would stand strongly on their own without all the fluffery added.
Calling All Destroyers: This song epitamizes what Futuristic Dragon stands for. When I hear this song I picture Marc astride a Dragon...kind of a 007 feel to it. Goofy huh?
Theme for a Dragon: the bootleg of him singing the words to this is so much better. I wonder why he left all that out?
Sensation Boulevard: Shucks! My absolute fave track on this album. Yep, gotta get up and shake it baby! This song makes me happy.
Ride My Wheels: Funky and I Like it... I've got some punk to lay on you. Did he say PUNK?
Dreamy Lady: Everytime I hear this song I can see him in that video with all the gothic/blue make up on...yum. And it has another fave line... Night is the right time to get acquainted with my head..in my bed. Are we talking Mind-Fuck here? Yowza!!!
Dawn Storm: Really don't care for the horn beginning, wish that that had been left out. The main chorus of this song is a little weak-not a favorite.
Casual Agent: This song strikes me as being too low in key. It sounds like he's having a hard time getting that low. Maybe it was recorded early in the morning or something.
=== Review by Rob ===A while back (about two years or so....no, probably three years) I was standing at Westbury Train Station (the bleakest station this side of the moon - the wind is so lazy it goes through you) and was reading Mojo magazine of the magazine rack. They had an article on Marc and the release of his post-72 albums. Anyway, the reviewer ranked Futuristic Dragon as Marc's best post-72 release and gave it eight out of ten. I choked, scoffed, put the magazine back in the rack and walked away.
But it got me thinking that maybe there was something more in the album than I had first seen. (Because I had never liked it very much.) So I went back to listening to it and, sure enough, started to get a lot more out of it and hear things I had hadn't heard before.
I get real turned on by the start of this album. I love his rhyme in the 'Introduction' and how 'Jupiter Liar' sprints away from it with that honky boppy organ is fantastic. You just want to bop about to 'Jupiter Liar'; it's got that earthy groove which is addictive.
Then comes 'Chrome Sitar' which was the first single I owned of Marc's. I found it in a second hand store (I can't remember if it was an a or b side). Whatever, it's got that metallic Sitar hook which is so big and brash but works so well!
'All Alone' is such a lush sounding track, so laid back it's almost horizontal. I love the groove of 'I sit at home with my chrome guitar!' Funny how certain lines appeal to certain people. There's something so gutsy about the track, kinda like it's Marc opening up to the fact that he's fallen from grace, out of sorts, alone but he's tough and he's saying 'what you going to do about it?!' Terrific.
'New York City' never really was a favourite of mine. I find it a bit too simplistic although the hook is there. I kinda feel he took the piss with this a bit but got away with it. He was a crafty little devil, wasn't he?
'My Little Baby' never did much for me; it doesn't offend or get me going, unlike 'Calling All Destroyers', which, for some reason unknown to me, gets me really jumped up and going! Maybe it's that latent rebel in me but when Marc sings, 'Calling all Destroyers', I'm there at the front of the queue!
Side Two and 'Theme For A Dragon' was misnamed. It should be 'Fanfare for a Dragon'. It's too regal and too bloody good to be underplayed as a theme. Top trumps to that one, Marc.
'Sensation Boulevard' is yet another great boogie tune which Marc had a knack of pulling out of the bag around this time. 'Hey, let's go dancing' is all I think of when I hear this track!!! Driving tune and completely dodgey lyrics make this an indispensible track to any Marc compliation.
'Ride My Wheels' is, sadly, my second least favourite track on the album. Funky punk isn't for me. Moving quickly on....
....and to my favouriate track 'Dreamy Lady'. F**king hell, this is SO GOOD. I have memories of myself and school chum Chris Hardbourne, drinking wine whilst playing my video of this song over and over again at my folkes home in Taunton and then staggering to Taunton (about three miles away) screeching this all the way it. It's so dodgy lyrically it's just the best. Superb!!!!!
That's it then, as far as the albums concerned. 'Dawn Storm' never does much for me and 'Casual Agent' is an embarrasment. However, all in all, this is a funky, spunky Marc doing a comeback classic. It's great and deserves more airplay than I give it. I'll play it tonight and think of you all!
=== Review by Cliff ===Tillers,
I remember the day when Dragon was officially released. I phoned Harlequin Records in Bromley, to be told they'd sold out. Had to wait another week before a new one came through. Nobody else was bothering to stock it.
Over 20 years later I think the album is one big over-indulgent and yet at times positively glorious mess. It has energy, (something Dandy lacks), but has no real focus.
Great beginning with the intro and then Jupiter Liar, which, despite Davey Lutton's leaden drumming really rocks. Third up, Chrome Sitar, which I was familiar with from NYC. Another great song - the power of that orchestra, driving those four or five chords. In many ways it's sheer madness, like with NYC. Minimal lyric, basic chord structure and a bloody forty piece orchestra. Nobody but Marc would have dared to try and get away with it. On Dawn Storm he doesn't.
Casual Agent sums it up for me. It's got negative reviews from other Tillers so far. For me it's the best. A two chord chop. Interweaving lead guitar lines. Mad string arrangement. Off the wall lyrics. Even Lutton gets the drumming right. (I'll probably find out that it wasn't him). What more could you ask for? Pity he didn't include the lead guitar line from the demo.
Unfortunately there are other tracks I just can't take. My Little Baby - should have been aborted. Ride My Wheels - great intro - Marc goes Oriental, and then disappoints with boring verses and chorus. Don't hear any sex in it at all. I hear a disco song which isn't as good as Dreamy Lady is.
I think at the time of release I was disappointed that the album wasn't the guitar epic that the title track (with Dreamy Lady, the last to be recorded) promised and I was hoping Marc that would make. Instead it's an album of pretty good songs which includes one or two experiments with the T.Rex sound where Gloria's influence was in the ascendant, even more so than on Zip Gun. Remember that most of it had been cut in December 74 and Jan 75 and the album had originally been scheduled for release in the Autumn of 75.
I seem to recall that at one time the album was scheduled to include the remakes of 20th Century Boy and By The Light Of The Magical Moon, as well as an early version of Soul Of My Suit. Syd?
Cliff (listening to the new Page & Plant album).
=== Review by Zoom ===Futuristic Dragon. As I waved Dragon flag time to time, this is my favorite. Again and again lifts my spirit young and beautiful -- Immortal. I may be too much in love with this album, I don't find any problem with GJ or drums. It's tough to say anything on this album. I re-read all of your Dragon reviews trying to find my words to it.
Now, I'm listening 'Dazzling Raiment' again in order to review Dragon. Usually EDSEL alt.series are fun because there are unplugged versions or different versions to savor. Not this alt.album. Here may have something key finding what's about.
Unlike other EDSEL alt.albums, Raiment was ultimate demo recording; convincing record label or rehearsing with band. Marc's song always had essence in the pre-production already. Hence other alt.albums were ready, good to go. Not the Raiment.
Notice 'All Alone' in the Raiment: All riff and rhythm section all set, lyrics were completed but melody wasn't there. Marc's humming along with the stanza of lyrics that's all. This was remarkable to me since I was categorizing Marc as a 'sheet-music' writer. Post-produced 'All Alone' was powerful yet definitely that wasn't producer's realization. Producer arranges tone and shape but none of producer messes with the song line. It is very difficult that a third perspective mends backbone of the piece. Marc was able to find command of the piece, proving he was able to self-produce.
Since Zinc, Marc's approach to song-writing altered to _texture_ oriented. That had concentrated in Dragon. Listening Dragon Intro, just beautiful. The time coincident with his life-style deterioration. Marc might be appeared juggling with studio time. He probably didn't know what he was doing either. However, the process of texture piece came out that way anyway. The key was how much the artist was able to judge his; not sure what he was doing yet knowing what exactly he wanted. Which was proved on the 'All Alone' example above.
Probably he pursued this venue even further upon 'Billy Super-Duper'. Its full version must have brown away Bowie/Low, Pink Floyd, and later PIL, all else (my lament for its full version but I'm not igniting Bramley frame please).
=== Review by DaveR ===Tillers,
As my flight twisted and bounced along the El-Nino^ rapids on the way back from San Jose tonight, I realized that time was running out for me - for the Futuristic Dragon review that is. But here at the far reaches of Tiller-dom, it is still April and there is still time. I did have one too many glasses of wine on the flight tonight (which with my present lifestyle is two) so if it sounds disjointed it's because I am.
I obtained this LP back in or about 1977 - mail ordered via the import channels of course since that seemed the only way to get it. My knowledge of Marc's history, etc was limited back then but it didn't take too many brains to come to the conclusion that it and "Dandy" (which I ordered at the same time) were Marc's last two albums. Of the two I liked "Dandy" better and between "Dragon" and the "Light of Love" concoction (a bargain bin mixture of "Zip Gun" and "Zinc Alloy") I liked "Light of Love" better. But I did feel that a number of tunes from "Dragon" were catchy and in some cases a bit more progressive than "Light of Love" but in other cases far simpler. My general summation? (and excuse my lack of correct music terminology) I think Marc was coming up with some good chorus's but seemed unable to come up with the supporting verses (or tunes) to support them. Cases in point - Ride my Wheels and Casual Agent (see below). I would say more but it is midnight and "I'm melting . . . I'm melting . . ."
I am at my worst when doing a song by song review but as I am not inspired otherwise tonight here it is.
Intro - Best part of the album. It gives one the impression that the rest of the album is going to be fantastic. I do like the album (I like all Marc's albums) but in general the songs don't live up to what the intro pulled me into believing it would be the first time I heard it.
Jupiter Liar - I felt that this was a good follow on to the intro. The intro leads right into it and continues to set the stage for a potentially good album.
Chrome Sitar - What happened? Somewhat of a let down after the 1st two but I like the "Somebody said Life is just a Joke" part (and it's sometimes good to remember that).
All Alone - HHmmmm
New York City - Few songs are so simple with so few lyrics but yet with a catchy tune. Beatles had "Do it in the road" and somebody else had one that was like "hey-hey, hey-hey" (don't know the title but it must have been something like 'hey-hey"). I could hum this one all day if I could hum.
My Little Baby - Few songs have such a simple melody that I almost think I could have written it myself. But again it's a catchy tune that, once embedded in the mind, could replay itself all day long. I like it.
Calling All Destroyers - Could have been a good teen song (Was it?) but I don't really like it.
Theme For A Dragon - Like the 1st song on the 1st side, this song - though just an intro of sorts - seemed a good set up for a great album side.
Sensation Boulevard - A different sort of T.Rex song and I consider it my favorite of the album because of that.
Ride my Wheels - A good and interesting chorus in search of a good "whatever you call that part of a song that isn't the chorus".
Dreamy Lady - Don't like it (well it's not that bad) and I hated the video. What was he thinking?
Dawn Storm - Strange. I listen to this song and feel like I don't like it but I find myself thinking of the chorus all the time. "Times they are strange and I won't . . ."
Casual Agent - Another Chorus in search of a good verse.
=== Review by Ian ===Yo!
Okay, I know I'm late...
A few general comments, ace bass from Steve Currie, rythmn section weaker without Bill Legend. Backing Vox from Gloria, well you either like 'em or you don't, I do. The keyboards can occasionally get carried away into the realms of fairgrounds, steam organs whatever (Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite almost). Overall an interesting mix of sounds.
There are probably a number of different threads here, some Rock Boogie, some almost overblown string arrangements, and some soulful numbers too.
The Intro track is a real curtain raiser, it promises a lot and we are not let down. Jupiter Liar has a good strong beat, nice lyrics and a good tune and I like the backing vocals too. Chrome Sitar follows in a similar vein, although not quite so thouroughly.
A lovely ballard is All ALone, another example of excellent Bolan lyrics. Nice keyboard.
NYC demonstrates above all other tracks on the album how Marc had a knack of developing a song from a basically simple riff and just a few lines. A simple concept but not easily done. NYC is a great example of what pure pop heaven can be.
My little baby is a nice boogie number but with a string arrangment that never lets go, possible it should somewheres along the line.
Calling All Destroyers, for me this doesn't quite work. It has got a real good strong beat, but somehow sound effects and all, it doesn't quite make it.
The instrumental is great, but perhaps too short. I know its' best to leave your audience wanting more, but this track could have easily been twice or three times longer. A good start to a vinyl 2nd side.
Sensation Boulevard for me is the best track on the album. It builds up from the start. The drums sound good, with a lovely double drum beat (turn up the bass or better still get a super woofer). I like the backing vocals on this one.. I 'just' Gotta Go Down, and just a hint of The Groover about the bass line. Excellent.
Ride my Wheels, a lot of soul feeling to this one, it may be a little out of step with other songs on this album but that can make for a refreshing change. Nice bass.
Oh Dreamy Lady is not my cup of tea.
If you like strings, Dawn Storm is for you. Lots of bits, but perhaps a bit laboured.
Casual Agent, great intro, verse vocals well balanced with a string arrangement. The whole has a nice soul feel. I like this one.
Overall, I like this album, it is a little uneven, but the highlights are very good. Its one I'm playing quite a bit as I have it on CD.
=== Review by Simes ==='Futuristic Dragon' by Simes.
Pulsing from the very starting heartbeat of 'Deep beneath an ancient shadow......' Again, I felt Bolan Blessed upon my birthday that March of that year, as previously mentioned, T. Rex albums always seemed to be released just prior to me birthday so therefore I was always able to have a Bolan goodie for me BD.
From the camp, lip-smacking at the start of each line of the intro, a Hendrixesque mess of souped up guitar providing a backdrop of pomp and ceremony to the words that were on the back of the sleeve 'Yes.....and I do mean.....yesssssssss' and the run in and kick off of 'Jupiter Liar' - "Would you lie to me?” becoming more prolonged with the lenght of the track eventually turning into "Would you llllllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeee to meeeeeeeeeeeeeee?", answering his own question with 'Oh yeah, oh yeah'. Lyrically sparse, but the feeling was there, an upbeat bum-wigglin' Bolan Boogie to begin the songs 'proper'.
'Chrome Sitar' - already known as the very strong b-side, definitely an alubm track and very involved. I remember first hearing this track, being thrilled to this mystical sound, almost harping back to the Tyrannosaurus Rex days. There seemed to be another fusion of new and old....the Chrome (modern, shiny, 70's glammy) and the Sitar (ancient, cultured). 'Somebody said that life is just a joke'. Hmmm. All these years later, hearing the outtakes and demos, the line originally penned in for that track 'Come on little girl won't you be my man', I still think Marc shoulda kept that line in. A bit like the twist around at the end of 'Ob La Di Ob La Da' ('Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face and in the evening she's a singer with the band') and the content of 'Lola' and 'Walk On The Wildside'.
All Alone...... 'You handsome bitch, you movie twitch and serenade the dudes that move and smile so vile and masquerade, they masquerade'......I always see this as Marc singing about himself, I can see him either looking in a mirror surrounded by the trappings of his fame and celebrity and singing this to himself. Again, fab lyrically 'Fiery skies in children's eyes fade into youth'. Could do without 'So you walk the dog and you stroll the frog' probably my least ever fave of Marc's lyrics there. Just embarrassing. For someone with such a rich pool of words, I found that just sheer lazy. Could do better. Must try harder.
NYC - This was Bolan back in the charts! Simplistic and maybe barren lyrically, but cor! Did it boogie!! The accompanying video where Marc looked just sooo cool, like a cheap drag queen or underarm whore, a bit ragged round the edges but still got something there, maybe in retrospect he was singing also about his excesses...'I did dontcha know? And don't it showwwwww'.
Boom!boom! Where didja go, My Little Baby? Coasting along in a shimmering shuffler of a song. Kicking backwards again with 'Lunacy's back' and again maybe wanting to read more into it than was there, as a young 'un I always assumed that the line 'Watch out, my man, my lady's coming back to me' was that it was a bloke who had been having a scene with another bloke, but then his lady was about to return to the scene and cause ructions. ( Altogether: "Yes dear, now go out and play!"). 'Deception dissolves like a mind rainbow, sunset was dumped dark inside my bedroom' - simply wonderful.
Calling All Destroyers........my birthday that year was a Tuesday and therefore a schoolday. I think the first lesson was double maths.....urgh! Remember getting to school and getting 'the bumps' and being asked what I had for prezzies......my best mate said 'T. Rex of course and his favourite track is called 'Calling All Destroyers' as I had played the album twice that morning before leaving for school. I recall being particularly impressed with the whooopy siren noises and thinking it very exciting and adventurous. The other kids laughed at me singing them the lines 'Driving in your Porsche Coupe- don't marry Fanny Frightning'. There used to be a card game called 'Top Trumps' which involved cars and sports, niether of those subjects interested me in the slightest, but I remember scouring through a classmate's pack looking for a Porsche Coupe.
Flipping over to the soaring, uplifting rhapsodic 'Theme For A Dragon', this was totally awesome, the dubbed screams...were they screams of adulation from adoring hoardes or screams of terror from someone fleeing from the Futuristic Dragon? If only the whole album coulda been a continuation of the F-Dragon theme and linked (I can't bring meself to say......concept album!) (there, I did it!), but sometimes it seemed as if Marc thought of the title, did the Intro and Theme, then scrapped the idea. But what a marvellous, back of the neck tingling track! Later on finding it was a leftover from 'Bolan's Zip Gun' and hearing the lyrics ('Have no fear, we ain't queer, holdin' onto Bolan's Zip Gun' !! ) it would've been too out of place on BZG.
Sensation Boulevard.....some wonderful lyrics: 'Slash cut boogie strut' and also 'Watch the groovies dance at the peacock feast' which again seemed to fuse the ancient with the modern, like the T. Rex shield on the front cover did with the hydraulic veins and sinews of the Futuristic Dragon that Marc was riding. Nice easy-paced Bolan-by-numbers and definitely an album track.
Then up slips 'Ride My Wheels'. Wow, I couldn't believe this, just a really sexy bass line and although the lyrics are a bit 'predictable' Bolan formula, they worked so well. Walking to school that birthday Tuesday, telling the girl I used to call for all about it and saying that there was a track called 'Ride My Wheels' which is rude and sexy and he says something about 'punk' and he obviously means 'spunk' and her saying that she thought that was bad! I would have loved to hear this extended and worked on, as with a lotta Marc's tracks, shame that he isn't still here now to remix and adapt them. And to have seen him doing a video for this, camping it up amidst loads of dry ice.........oh well!
After that, into another of me Top T. Rex Treats, 'Dreamy Lady'. I love this track, it seemed to be Marc going elsewhere and the fact that the label on the 45 read 'T. Rex Disco Party' and it having two non-Bolan tracks on the b-side, the first three track T. Rex single since 'Children Of The Revolution' just made it all different. Seeing him on Supersonic and looking like Whaaaaaat??!! and this was another track that when we had a 'School Disco' everyone would bop along to this. Fantastic.
The brass heralded the intro to 'Dawn Storm' and away we go on a real 'wave your cigarette lighter in the air' track. The line 'a rush ain't no crush it's a trip' made me want to bash cymbals along to, but banging the lid of a Peak Freans Christmas Biscuit Selection tin didn't exactly make me popular. 'Times they are strange and I won't re-arrrrr...' and the backing finishing the word 'raaannnge' spiralling down, fab. Pure and simply fab.
Then last off, a track which initially reminded me of 'The Avengers' and 'The Leopards' from 'Zinc Alloy.....' . I found it quite strange, I don't know why, but it always seemed very dark and depressive....or do I mean opressive? I liked the lower vocals on this and again some gems : 'Distorted contortionist' 'Madonna dollar' 'Cosmetic Betty' and I luuuuuuurved 'Tiger tongued tinsel, see the old queens of the night were stone cold stiletto-toed stone mama's alright' . I mean! Stiletto toed, try gettin' yer tongue around that! But shock horror, my album jumped on the line 'Wind of illusion...' and that weekend it was straight back into town, get it changed. But ever after, on that line I await the jump. It always seemed to have a slightly sinister air to it. Looking back, I still find this tres noir.
But as with all Bolan albums, they all cook up something different every time you hear them.
Simes Ridin' Them Wheels.............;-)
=== Review by Sage ===I'm glad that this album was picked as this month's LP-of-the-month. I have been listening to this one a lot lately. It not only marked Bolan's U.K. comeback, but it is also showed that Bolan could successfully mix rock, pop, orchestral string arrangements, and superfunk disco soul music all into one extremely satisfying package. In fact, this album is dominated by string orchestrations throughout a majority of the songs. Recorded a whole year earlier before its release date, Marc may have shelved it due to the lukewarm response of "Bolan's Zip Gun". All of Bolan's albums released after "Tanx" are seriously underrated. Futuristic Dragon definitely deserves to be listened to again and again. Try it. You'll like it!
=== Review by Dan-D ===This album was one of Marc's most ambitious albums musically and relatively simple lyrically.
=== Review by David Do ===Dragon review.
I personally think this is the best of Marcs last three albums. I shall never forget the wonderful surprise I got when I first heard the title track..the synths, the pounding beat, the distorted contortionist guitars and the wild gringing cyclopean pagan vocal.
I would have loved the whole album to have continued in this style of screaming destrution, I think maybe Marc would have too but maybe he was scared to change the formula, he still needed the the fix of "hit singles" I've finaly come to terms with the keyboard dominated sound of latter day T.Rex, I would have prefered Marcs crunching choppy guitar on Jupitar Liar not to have had to compete with Dino Dines end of the pier tinklings, but I can't change that so I just try to appreciate the songs, and very good they are.
It was the alt FD that turned me back on to this album and IMO the alt is better, bar the title track. Its interesting to see how songs like All Alone evolved, I've said before how much I love the version of Casual Agent on the alt (Track 16 - 3rd version) classic Rex.
"If you're sting was like the bee, would you die only for me" brilliant.
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