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Tyrannosaurus Rex (not T. Rex) - My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair.. But now they're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows CD (album) cover


Tyrannosaurus Rex (not T. Rex)


Prog Folk

2.94 | 22 ratings

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3 stars This was the first studio album released by the late Marc Bolan under the label Tyrannosaurus Rex, coming out in the summer of 1968 after his band by that name had long since broken up and Bolan had hit the tour circuit as half of an acoustic acid folk duo under the name (multi-instrumentalist the late Steve Peregrine-Took formed the other half of the group). As far as I know the two had some success, although this is a far cry from the glam rock Bolan would become famous for as leader of the much more well-known T. Rex a few years later. Be forewarned if you didn’t know already that this is not that band, and this music is almost exclusively going to appeal to very serious students of prog folk and possibly a few of the more coherent psych fans.

Bolan is the front man throughout, as he would be for most of his successful but troubled career. Peregrine-Took makes the whole thing work though, providing not only backing vocals (both harmonizing and alternating), as well as all manner of percussion including bongos, shakers of various sorts and a pixiephone (I do love hippies, I really do). Bolan sings and strums away on his acoustic guitar but mostly just engages in the act of being Marc Bolan. His haphazard approach is not unlike what I’ve heard on later on some of his later work like ‘Futuristic Dragon’, and especially some of the outtakes and alternate versions found on that album’s 2002 CD reissue.

Two of the songs here were written for Bolan’s previous psych band John’s Children (“Hot Rod Mama” and “Mustang Ford”). I haven’t heard those versions but I can’t imagine they sound much like these, which are both pretty much harmonized chanting by Bolan and Peregrine-Took, Took’s bongos, and some mild percussion. “Hot Rod Mama” coming at the beginning of the album results in the band appearing to mature as the record progresses. That song was written in late 1966 or early 1967, and has that sound so many bands around then did that isn’t quite modern rock, but is definitely beyond beat music and folk. I always refer to the Moody Blues’ ‘Go Now!’ as the standard of that sound. By the end of the record Bolan is chanting a Krishna on “Frowning Atahuallpa”, something that was still kind of new in 1968 but certainly consistent with Bolan’s penchant to being both eclectic and in-touch with current fashions.

The two put out three more albums after this one and before Bolan ditched Peregrine-Took to form the glam act T. Rex, but each of those records would successively lean more toward mass appeal, with Bolan even plugging in for the fourth and final Tyrannosaurus Rex album “A Beard of Stars”. Bolan of course would perish in an automobile accident in 1977. Peregrine-Took would die of a drug overdose in 1980.

This isn’t a masterpiece and it isn’t even essential music; what it is though is a great picture of Marc Bolan early in his career before he got so consumed with being a star instead of a musician; and before he got so caught up in his own hype. I will say this is a very decent acid folk album that undoubtedly influenced quite a few bands that followed, and in that light it deserves recognition. Three stars and recommended mostly to the people I described back in the first paragraph.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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