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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

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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.


Report this review (#221165)
Posted Sunday, June 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The early Tyrannosaurus Rex material - from before the band dropped the "yrannosaurus" and repositioned itself at the forefront of the glam rock scene - is kind of an acquired taste. The closest comparison I can think of is to Syd Barrett's solo work (though this preceded it) - brief, folky songs set to Bolan's acoustic guitar with fantastic, fairytale lyrics. The other half of the equation is Steve Took's percussive skills, much imitated by future generations of hippies who could nonetheless never quite recapture the magic. It's an interesting little album, and occasionally a beautiful one - Scenesof is probably its highlight - but at the end of the day more of a curiosity than a classic. But as far as psych folk curiosities go, it's pretty good.
Report this review (#449669)
Posted Thursday, May 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair ? 1968

10 ? Best Song: Embrace goatboy!

I probably won't like it, indeed. So sayeth my emotive stance. Hey. This is my reviews page for Marc Bolan, Tyrannosaurus Rex, T.Rex, and Johnny Rotten. Johnny Rotten's my cohost. See, here he is: Bloody catholics!

See that? He's antiestablishment, so vote me in as best whatever the polls are or you'll never get one of those woefully funny snippets again. My People is an acoustic folk hippie album full of psychedelic atmospheres and Marc's singing is reminiscent of a bleating mystic mountain goat. I dig that singing style. It really adds to the diverse vocal overdubbing in the swift and bopping 'Child Star'. This is one of those later-era 1960's albums that valued psychic experimentation over musical themes, which is okay. I didn't expect an album named 'My People were fair and had sky in their hair but now they're content to wear stars on their brow'. Isn't that the longest album title in the history of man? 'Chateau in Virginia Waters' is a nice, flowing melodic one-keyer. By that I mean it doesn't exactly go anywhere from the starting point. Me, I prefer progress in my music. As difficult as the album is to listen to when coming from the man's 1970's output, it's equally as easy to listen to it due to how quietly and calmly inoffensive it happens to be. 'My Inca Love', while being right repetitive, is the one track with a swift and noticeable swell in it. My issue with it is how the songs all sound strikingly similar, and have the same basic progression (not really any). This is second rate spaced-out folk, but it's all a candycanes ride when you take it on a sunny afternoon. Embrace the Goatboy at your own discretion.

Report this review (#459122)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Tyrannosaurus Rex first record "My people were fair and had sky in their hair... But now they're content to wear stars on their brows" from 1968 was an interesting release but unfortunately two listenings of this gave me a feeling of disgust.

What surprises listeners, even familiar with T-rex, is Marc Bolans trembling voice which of course is very rare. He does a good job here but the songs are silly and have a feeling of unseriousity. It feels like the music was high on drugs and it didn't affect the music positively. This two man project by Marc Bolan (vocals, guitars) and Steve Peregrine Took(backing vocals, drums, pixie phone, percussion) is acoustic and seems to be inspired by blues and folk musik(but not so much) but mostly it feels like a negative side of the hippie movement. I use to like T-Rex but this felt so uninspired and annoying. Sure It was original, perhaps I'm just unused to it but it screams out low ambitions. The wonderful long album title and the great cover do not alone make this a good album. I like Bolans voice but here It was immoderate.

This 33 minutes was actually a long time because there were many short and similar songs, and the majority wasn't pleasant. If you just want a sample of this I recommend you the tracks "Knight", "Dwarfish Trumpet Blues" or "Grateful Fat Sheba" which have more feelings and sharpeness. They're less dopey too. Odd and peculiar but I won't listen again, I don't have to.

Report this review (#983763)
Posted Friday, June 21, 2013 | Review Permalink

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