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"Hippy Gumbo he's no good,
chop him up for firewood."
Hippy Gumbo - Marc Bolan.
T.Rex - Live 77
List of Reviewers
=== Review by MOJO magazine - July Edition. p. 126 ===Superannuated glam fans who missed out on the T.Rex live experience shouldn't despair. The same fate nearly befell Marc Bolan's own brother, Harry Feld, who (though he didn't know it) left it until the group's very last ever UK performance at Portsmouth Locarno on March 20, 1977 to see his sibling in-concert. When Bolan died six months later, Harry came into possession of a soundboard cassette of the show, which is the basis for a new CD on Demon's Edsel imprint, Marc Bolan & T.Rex - Live in 1977.
"It's curious that a tape like this should have even survived," says Demon's Alan Robinson. "And there's something poetic about it falling into Harry's hands. We've had the 20-bit digital remastering thing done, and it sounds pretty good. The Damned supported on that tour, and they come on at the end to jam Get It On, which is well worth hearing in itself." Because of 'wow' on the original cassette, the first six tracks are taken from a show the group played two days earlier at London's Rainbow Theatre. The two concerts have been spliced together mid-song, with Telegram Sam starting off in Finsbury Park and ending up some 70 miles away on the south coast.
"It was necessary to do that because both versions were corrupted in different places," says Robinson. "You can't hear the edit and, anyway, decent quality Bolan live recordings are really hard to come by."
No doubt enraged purists will be placated with a 5-track bonus CD, recorded live in Cleveland, Ohio in 1974, which comes free with the first 5,000 copies. Expect more Bolan rarities from Demon in the near future, including the latest in the outtakes series, T.Rex Unchained Vol.7
=== Review by Russ ===OK - finally Blackmail got it right... my Live '77 arrived this AM and it's melting my mind as I write.
First off, a whopping big pat on the back to the engineers on this production - excellent attention to details, just about every instrument has been lifted from the "muddy waters" of the original tape (the scurge of taped live performances).
The T-REX of The Dandy tour are (were <sniff>) without doubt *THE* T-REX and this production has re-affirmed my opinion of 20 years ago - that T-REX were on their way back and Marc was set to re-invent himself for a new generation.
So what of the maestro himself? Marc is resplendent - armed with little more than your ears one can "see" him strutting his stuff with majesty and pride. His voice is clear, cock-sure, delivering song after song in his "new-found" amelodic style (not my personal favourite bolan voice, true, but he liked it so that's ok).
As the sleeve notes suggest, this band is tight. Polished and vibrant, they rock with a maturity afforded them by their individual and collective pedigree... not least Tony Newman on Drums... proving within 8 bars that Davey Luton should have stuck to the day job...
To my ears 2 tracks stand out - "Hang Ups" and "Teen Riot Structure", the latter being the ultimate T-REX live song (yes, my preaching point of old) - quite simply it Rocks! The band play this number like it should be played, upbeat, punchy and wants to go on and on... but no fades or shambling run-outs here - it all ends with professional rock finesse (and way too soon for me!).
"Hang Ups" in Marc's words: "This is another new song from the 'Dandy in the Underworld' album called 'Hang Ups' - If you got 'em, you know got 'em. If you aint, you ought to get 'em... it was Freud that said that I think, something like that... probably doing a... doing a lot of coke....... Ow! So good to be back! 1 and 2 and 3 and a-4 ow...!" And boy does this one ROCK! Mr Newman gives his all complete with his worthy intro from the album track. Marc hits the highs and lows with ease and nigh on throttles his guitar during the solo (I thought Marc used a Les Paul on this track but this cut seems to be a strat...?)
Interesting version of Debora - here it is given the full band treatment and to great effect. Obviously it changes the whole personna of the song but no less valid in my opinion - ok, so I prefer the "original" treatment but there were a few of those too. Marc tells the audience that if any of them bought the original Debora first time round he'd kiss them anywhere they wanted - "Don't care who you are!" Humble boley to the end - who said he didn't care???
There is no doubt (and I had none 20 years ago) that this was a rock and roll show with not a ballad in sight. Maybe some of us wouldn't have liked where Marc was trying to take us - we'll never know now. But maybe Marc was settling, finding his strengths and sticking to them; after years spent in the mire and wilderness, the chemical wasteland of excess, who can deny him that? As Unchained Vol #7 shows, in private Marc was getting back to the roots, the blues,... Dandy and the '77 T-REX was a sound to be taken in that context, a world that wanted punk, new wave, energy and irreverence.... I fancy Mr Bolan was just waiting, calculating, and if I'm right, getting his sums right.
=== Review by Beartrap ===There are two things wrong with Live 1977: first, the title (couldn't someone have come up with something a little more imaginative?) and second, the fact that we've had to wait for twenty years.
Initial copies come with a bonus disc with tracks from Cleveland Ohio in 1974. Of these, Zip Gun Boogie has already appeared on Precious Star, but the rest are new (to me).
Edsel have done their usual excellent job of packaging/supplying sleeve notes. Normally it bothers me when a live album is put together from two or more concerts. Not here. Not when they explain why they've done it like that. The join is pretty seamless, and I'm pleased to have a recording which is largely from the Rainbow (used to live nearby) but still includes his last live performance in the UK.
Previous to Live 1977, the only live album I had was In Concert, which I found very disappointing, with Bolan sounding drunk and pissed off and the rest of the band very untogether. And that dreadful version of Debora where he forgets the words...
On Live 1977, Bolan is in high spirits and the band very tight. He shamelessly plugs the new album (Dandy) and expresses his amazement at how many people have turned out to see them. For me the highlight of the album is Debora (a song that I've never rated that highly). The new arrangement of the song is unbelievable: if Bolan had released 1977 as the followup to Dandy, Debora would have been the single and it would surely have been his biggest since Solid Gold Easy action.
=== Review by BolanBoy ===Tillers,
Hello all, Well here is my opinions of " Live 1977 " I bought the Live 1977 album about hmm a year ago i guess it was a year. So i got it home i couldn't wait to listen to it. I don't know if all of them are the same but mine says " Limited Edition with BONUS DISC. Well i put disc number one in there and i was so excited because this would be the first time that i would be hearing Marc Bolan & T.Rex Live. So i listend to it and loved it. I was a little suprised to hear Marc Say on the song Jeepster " Girl i'm just a vampire for your love and i'm gonna F!ck you. The reason being is that i have never heard marc say anything like that. But it is all good i loved it. Well thats my review of the Live 1977 album. That is my opionion of it.
Albums & Reviews,
=== Review by David-Do ===I saw T.Rex on this last tour of the UK in Macch 77 at the Birmingham Odeon. I had seen them previously at the same venue in Jan 74 an incredible experience, the memory of seeing Marc live for the first time is still so fresh in my mind. The next time I saw them in 76 was a little sad, I remember a half empty hall,Marc looking tired,the corkscrew curls replaced by an artificial perm and a red nylon suit that looked a size too small and an acoustic set where Marc sang the wrong words to One Inch Rock and Deborah.
I was full of aprehension in March 77, would the punks hurl abuse or worse? No need to have worried as soon as Marc took to the stage my heart lifted- T.REX REBORN AND BOPPING! Marc looked great he was happy and full of life. The Dandy album hadn't been released yet and it was unusual to hear so many new songs live. Hang-ups sounded so powerful as did Teen riot and Dandy.
This "Live 77 " album however is not how I remember T.Rex sounding on this tour. Marc guitar was always so strong and in-yer-face live. Listening to this album makes me cringe - those god-awful keyboards dominate the whole sound.I guess its a personal thing but I HATE the sound of Dino Dines organ! It maybe the recording that makes it sound so up-front but this aint how I want to remember T.Rex.
The bonus disc justifies the the price of the album alone.Teenage Dream always sounds good live,Marc just seems to stroke his guitar and it purrs like a lion.Zip Gun Boogie has one of the all time greate rock riffs but is wasted on a limp song IMO.
God I've just read back this review and I cant believe I've been so critical,I must be tired, Oh well me I funk and I dont care.
==== Second review by David ===
I think I reviewed this album last time round, an a little unfavourably if I recall.
I saw T.Rex on this, their final tour in 77. It was such a thrill to see Bolan BACK, I was blown away by Marcs dynamic performance. The band were powerful, confident and very tight. All of the Dandy tracks I heard were new to me as the album hadn't yet been released. I remember loving Dandy, Groove a little and Hang ups was dynamite.
The Rainbow CD, by comparison to my memories of T.Rex on this tour, is a little bit flat and unispired,this could be due to either the recording or the production, I don't know. I just doesn't quite capture the energy and the live sound I remember. 1977 was a special year for me, one that stands out in my memory. It's the year I met Sue, got engaged, planned a new life, Its the year I saw my beloved T.Rex for the very last time and of course the year we lost Marc. Listening to this CD last night left me with mixed feelings, although I must say I enjoyed more than I ever have before.
Marc was defiantly heading in the right direction in 77, he hadn't quite got there but he would have. It was the first time I could remember Marc promoting so much new material in a live performance. He must have had confidence in the Dandy songs.
I can't remember any tracks from Futuristic Dragon on the FD tour or anything from Zinc Alloy on the Zinc tour. It seemed that he was no longer relying on the old hits and past glories and was finally moving on. There's no denying Marc looked and sounded great on this tour and that he was enjoying every minute of it.
So, some great memories for me of an important year in my life and I must be softening in my old age cos I fancy giving it another spin.
=== Review by Karen ===I am finding it difficult to begin reviewing this cd, I am finding mixed emotions clouding my judgement.
First of all I seen Marc and T.Rex live on this tour, I couldn't believe how good he looked, he was definitely back looking the part and ready for it, unlike he had done on the previous tour. New band assembled, I really believe Marc would have gone on to bigger and better things, sadly though this was to be the last time I would ever see Marc live again. I really do feel we have been robbed of something special.
1977 seemed like a new beginning for all of us, I had left school and just started working, money in my pocket at last. Punk had just overtaken me and I was wrapped up in all these new bands that were springing up all over the place, anything was possible, we were young and wanted people to listen to us, I genuinely believed Marc was feeling this as well.
I had seen the Damned a few months previously, and they had blown me away, so on the strength of that talked a few mates, who were all punks at the time to come and see t.rex with me. They were there only to see the Damned, not that fat git with the frizzy perm(their words not mine) however after the damned had finished their set Marc came on, as previously mentioned looking good!! I will never forget their reaction they thought he was amazing, he had once again converted those who were so quick to knock him. In fact one of those friends is still a big t.rex fan to this day.
Anyway back to the review before I get sidetracked again. There are certain tracks which really stand out to me "Debora" being one of them on first hearing I didn't like the way Marc sung it I have to admit I prefer the original, a classic marc bolan track, but hey you can't knock keep a good track down for long, it has grown on me over time.
I don't want to run through each and every song, we all know and love the classics jeepster, telegram sam etc; The tracks which stand out most for me are:
"Dandy in the underworld" I love this song, I hadn't heard it until I seen them play it live, and to me it just sums up Marc and what he was going through at the time. I had to rush out and buy the L.P straight away.
"TeenRiot Structure" another favourite of mine, sums up the feelings of 1977 perfectly.
""Get it on" with the Damned, wow this has to be my all time favourite version it always moves me, hey marc could throw out these 13 minutes tracks when he wanted to, just love it, the cd was worth buying for this track alone.
Although the quality of this cd is not brilliant, I think the feeling of a live concert shines through, and we should be grateful to edsel for letting us hear it, warts and all.
Like I said I am struggling a bit with this one, I keep thinking I'm reviewing "Dandy in the underworld" which I am in a way, sorry I know what I mean!!!!!!
I think what I am trying to say is this live cd still moves me, and hey as long as music still does that to me it means I'm still alive and kicking.
Karen(Torch girl of the marshes)
=== Review by Dela ===Live '77 Review
This is a tricky one to review. I know all the songs, and many of them I have heard live before. So it's a little difficult to tackle from that angle. I could tell you that I like his studio version of Jeepster more than the live version, or that I think the band was so much better without Gloria's wailing. I could tell you all of this, and it wouldn't make the slightest difference because of one underlying thing. Me.
You see the problem is that I am too young to have ever seen Marc live. I was 5 when he was killed. I remember it pretty well, but it still doesn't detract from the fact that I have never, nor will I ever, see Marc performing live, close-up, feed-back and all.
For those who have never seen him, I think you know what I mean. For those who are about my age or younger, you know *exactly* what I mean. It's not that we had the chance and missed it, but we never even came close to having the chance. It's the same as saying we never saw Mozart, or that we never saw a Wilde play the week it opened.
I have many regrets in my life that I have no control over. I would have loved to have met various people, such as Sir John Betjeman, Jimi Hendrix, Oscar Wilde and IK Brunel (yes, I know, an odd one). There are various events I would have love to have seen, such as the first moon landings and the Russian Revolution (from a distance, you understand).
But more than any of these things, I would have dearly loved to have seen Marc playing live. His music has meant so much to me over the years, that even now it pains me that I won't be able to do this. It's also something I think I will never let go of, as it is as much a part of me as is having blue eyes and being right-handed.
So when I say it is difficult to review, it is quite an emotional experience for me. I can find the words to tell you what I think of the songs - that's no problem at all. But it is almost painful for me to try and explain the emotions I feel when I hear Marc playing live, and know that it was something I could never experience first-hand.
I listen to live tracks very rarely, generally only when they are in the middle of a compilation album. My copy of Acoustic Warrior has been played twice, except for the version of Seagull Woman which I think is quite lovely. My copy of Live 77 has been played just once, and I don't think I will ever play it again.
=== Review by MarcO ===Im not going to review the album, mainly 'cos I dont have it. I have a boot of the Finsbury Park gig, not good quality, but I was there anyway so I'll tell you a few memories.
At the time I was living with my girlfriend, Debbie Mann. She was beautiful, one of my all time favourite girlfriends, I'dlike to see her now. I was 20 in 77 and to be honest, I felt a bit of an old fogie as far as Bolan fans were concerned.
I have to agree with the Double D as regards to the band, Marcs best. Those of you old enough to remember, this was the gig that was to be Bolans downfall, hiring the Damned as support group was not a good idea according to the music press, they'll blow Bolan off the stage was another headline and all the music papers took the same view.
Well history tells us that it was not so, in fact Marc got rave reviews for the Dandy tour, rightly so.
When you think about it, what more could you want from a pro. outfit than for them to be as tight as a ducks ass and rockin'. Fair play to the music press, they admitted they were wrong about Marc having to play second fiddle to the Damned. For Bolan fans, this was a great time, Marc on the up n up, a great album, and most importantly as I'm sure most of the older ones of us here will agree, this was the first time that Marc had ever seemed to be in total control of HIMSELF.
There were no outrageous Bolanic statements in the press for this tour, he seemed to have grown up overnight. I'm sure that becoming a father had done a lot to bring Marc down to earth.
The Rainbow gig was superb, a pleasure to be there. I'd seen Bolan in concert often before but this was the first time that I got the impression that he was actually on stage and not thinking he was the only one up there.
This was the gig that saw Marc grow up, sadly, well you know the rest.
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