Posted: December 28th, 2008
Tyrannosaurus Rex was an acid-dropping British duo fronted by the immortal Marc Bolan during his pre-glam folkie/hippie stage. When it came to making catchy little psychedelic-pop tunes, Tyrannosaurus Rex was a monster. In late 1960s, Bolan and percussionist Steve Peregrine Took enjoyed a small but fanatic following amongst London’s flower children and its underground press. The acoustic Bolan of Tyrannosaurus Rex was a handsome hippie poster child, not the glittering androgynous teenage dream that rocked T.Rex to the top in the early ’70s. Glam-rock fans of T.Rex beware, Tyrannosaurus Rex is an entirely different animal. No more ferocious than a butterfly, Unicorn is a finely crafted album of incredibly unique songs made under the influence of LSD.
On every track, Bolan delivers colorfully surreal lyrics against a multi-layered backdrop of tribal beats, choppy-clean acoustic guitar rhythms, and swirling accordion and woodwind riffs. His strange, sensual voice is mesmerizing, particularly on such dreamy tracks as “She Was Born To Be My Unicorn,” “Nijinsky Hind,” and “Seal of Seasons”. Living up to the promise of its title, Unicorn is a hallucinatory musical tour through a mythical realm populated with wizards, sages, alchemists, and other fantastic creatures lifted straight out of J.R.R. Tolken’s “Lord Of The Rings.” Such was the source of inspiration for many a British hippie band in 1969 (check out Zeppelin II’s eternal Tolken-rant, “Ramble On,” or Donovan’s epic, “Atlantis,” for more vintage Tolkenesque tunes).
One of the most startling things about the 16 songs on Unicorn is that nearly all clock in under three minutes in length. This is extraordinary when one remembers the recording habits of many late-60s British psychedelic bands, who notoriously filled up entire album sides with self-indulgent “epic trip” tracks of dubious musical value. While it’s clear that Bolan was listening to his share of Hendrix and the Beatles, Unicorn still boasts some pretty trippy music unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. Solid all the way through, Bolan and Took deliver song after song of silly innocence and spiritual intensity, making Unicorn a wonderfully obscure creature worth hunting down.
- Marc Bolan – Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
- Steve Peregrine Took – Percussion, Vocals, Accordion
- Chariots Of Silk
- Pon A Hill
- Seal Of Seasons
- Throat Of Winter
- Catblack (The Wizard’s Hat)
- Stones For Avalon
- She Was Born To Be My Unicorn
- Like A White Star, Tangled And Far, Tulip That’s What You Are
- Warlord Of The Royal Crocodiles
- Evenings Of Damask
- Sea Beasts
- Nijinsky Hind
- Pilgrim’s Tale
- Misty Coast Of Albany
- Romany Soup
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