T. Rex: 1972 (Edsel, 5 CDs). T. Rextasy was in full swing in 1972, when Marc Bolan and T. Rex were the hottest act in England since The Beatles and Beatlemania. It was the year the band toured the United States twice and I was able to catch one of their Chicago shows. This box set celebrates that pivotal year and includes the album “Slider,” a full Wembley matinee show, the “Born To Boogie” soundtrack album, Bolan’s solo efforts for U.S. radio stations, BBC band performances and A and B sides of singles. At this time, T. Rex record sales accounted for about six percent of total British domestic record sales. The band reportedly was selling 100,000 records a day.

Bolan, who helped make glam rock a thing, was hot off the success of the “Electric Warrior” album and its classic singles “Get It On” and “Jeepster,” although “The Slider” would fare even better in the United States, fueled by the success of the singles “Metal Guru” and “Telegram Sam.”

In many ways, Bolan’s emergence as a glam rocker was unexpected, but like David Bowie, who mentions T. Rex in his classic “All the Young Dudes” song and wrote “Lady Stardust” about Bolan, Bolan was a chameleon early in his career. His first recording, “All at Once,” was in the style of Cliff Richard, while his next recordings were covers of Bob Dylan and Dion songs. His first single after signing with Decca, “The Wizard,” featured future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. As Bolan started to turn from folk music, he began writing fantasy novels, after a brief stint in John’s Children.

In 1967, Bolan created the band Tyrannosaurus Rex, eventually with just drummer Steve Peregrin Took, that performed psychedelic folk-rock. The duo released three albums, two of which reached the top 15 in the U.K. charts. As the band continued, Bolan brought more and more amplified guitar into the sound. Buying a vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar, Bolan wrote his first hit, “Ride a White Swan,” and shortened the band’s name to T. Rex. This marked Bolan’s move to a more electric sound. Mickey Finn had replaced Took by the time of the fourth and last Tyrannosaurus Rex album.

With Tony Visconti as his producer, Bolan quickly had follow-up hits with “Hot Love” – Bolan’s performance of the song on the BBC’s “Top of the Pops” with glitter on his face became the foundation of glam rock – and “Get It On,” which was renamed “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” for the U.S. market. Bolan’s androgenous style had a lasting impact on fashion as well.

“The Slider” was the third T. Rex album and yielded two U.K. number ones in “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru.” Also in 1972, T. Rex had two number twos in “Children of the Revolution” and “Solid Gold Easy Action.” All can be heard in this box set. “Metal Guru” is one of several songs lifted by Flo & Eddie’s backing vocals. Flo & Eddie were Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, originally part of The Turtles and then part of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. Also on the album, “Mystic Lady” and “Rock On” have simple, repeating melodies and lyrics. Another bright spot is “Buick Mackane.” The lyrics can sometimes be silly, as, in the slinky title track, he sings, “I have never kissed a car before/It’s like a door.” “Spaceball Ricochet is more folkish, while Visconti brings strings to “Rabbit Fighter.”

The Wembley Empire Pool show in London is a March 18, 1972, afternoon performance of 10 songs, including a cover of “Summertime Blues,” plus two bonus tracks from the evening show. “Get It On” stretches to 11 minutes, while the opening “Cadilac” (sic) lasts seven minutes. There is an acoustic section with “Spaceball Ricochet,” “Girl” and “Cosmic Dancer.”

Disc three is the “Born To Boogie” soundtrack. The film was a documentary by Beatle Ringo Starr about T. Rex, including the concert filmed at Wembley in March 1972. Mixed in are surreal scenes shot at John Lennon’s mansion in Ascot and a session with T. Rex joined by Ringo on a second drum kit and Elton John on piano for “Tutti Frutti” and “Children of the Revolution.” T. Rex performances include “Baby Strange,” “Jeepster,” “Hot Love,” “Get It On” and “Chariot Choogle.” Bolan performs a “Tea Party Medley” of four songs with a string quartet and performs “Cosmic Dancer” with Finn.

Disc four has 11 solo Bolan performances, with brief chatter about the songs. It is interesting listening and includes a performance of “Main Man” before he recorded the song. On disc five, there are eight BBC radio performances and nine single recordings, including another car song, “Thunderwing,” plus “Jitterbug Love” and a couple of Christmas releases, including a nine-minute fan club flexi-disc.

The illustrated 44-page booklet includes an introduction by Visconti, a 12,000-word essay by Bolan biographer Mark Paytress and lyrics for “The Slider” album. Unfortunately, Bolan died in a car accident just before his 30th birthday. There were five more T. Rex albums, however, including the wonderful “Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow” and “Bolan’s Zip Gun.” Grade: box set A

The cover of Connor Garvey’s new CD. Courtesy Nine Athens Music

Connor Garvey: Another End of a Year (Nine Athens CD, 45 min.). Garvey is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Portland, Maine. This is his eighth album overall, but first since “Meteors and Beating Hearts” in 2014. His father was a songwriter and Garvey, originally a drummer, picked up the guitar in his teens, in part because his best friend was a better drummer and together, they could start a rock band. His rhythmic background remains at the core of his musical style as he merges syncopated bass lines with melodic leads to create a full sound from his acoustic guitar. The new album is filled with sweet and somber folk music.

On this very nice album, several songs feature close harmony vocals by Sorcha Cribben-Merrill, including the outstanding “The Boat” and “Break the Cage,” the album’s first two tracks. “The Boat” carries through the metaphor, with the person he is singing to being his oar, as the boat carries him across a sea of misery, while “Break the Cage” urges the listener to learn from a bird in breaking free. Both feature his fine guitar playing, as well as the wonderful vocals. Cribben-Merrill also is heard on “Water to the Well,” a song with more dynamics. The dual voices are more forceful on “Lock Me Away.”

The sound is clean throughout the album. Ben Cosgrove contributes piano to “Will of the Trail” – I had not realized trails have wills, but now I can see it – which features more forceful guitar towards its end. The title track is an apology, while “Pendulum,” with its nice sounds, is about a lost soul. “The Man I Want to Be” is about his marriage. “The Song” is a wonderful memory about meeting in a car in the driveway and listening to its radio, but it has a sad twist at the end that renders it more poignant.

Garvey’s combination of songwriting and performance strength has earned him numerous awards, including being named winner of the Kerrville New Folk, Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, SolarFest, Wildflower Art and Music Festival and Maine Songwriters Association songwriting competitions, as well as voted as Most Wanted Artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, nominated for Best Male Performer in the New England Music Awards, and tabbed a top new singer/songwriter by Sirius XM’s The Coffeehouse. Grade: album A-

Tom Von Malder of Owls Head has reviewed music since 1972, just after graduation from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He has reviewed videos/DVDs since 1988.

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