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T.Rex - Tanx (Classic Album UK 1973)

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Code - OD-K-106818


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Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

Tanx is the eighth album by British rock band T. Rex, released in 1973. Tanx was a hit in UK and Europe but it failed to emulate the success of The Slider in the U.S., reaching only #102 in the album charts. It was critically derided by journalists who said the darker, adult sound was a complete departure from the unique melodic rock and roll that made the band famous.

It predates punk in some ways, with largely darker and more aggressive songs, and shorter songs than the previous two T. Rex albums ("Electric Warrior" and "The Slider") with 9 of the songs less than three minutes long (by comparison, "Get It On" was 4:24), akin to Bolan's previous albums under the name Tyrannosaurus Rex and the debut album under the abbreviated "T. Rex" name (all of which had no more than 2 songs over three minutes per album). "Tanx" is also the first album to notably incorporate elements of soul music, further explored in the following album, "Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow", and other subsequent T. Rex albums. Likewise, it's the beginning of Bolan's marked departure from the glam rock style which he originated and helped popularize, preceding contemporary David Bowie's departure from glam and move towards soul music with his album, "Young Americans", by nearly 2 years.

The song "Born to Boogie" was actually not featured in the 1972 Ringo Starr produced film, also called Born to Boogie. Curiously, the popular single "20th Century Boy" was not included on the album.

By 1973's Tanx, the T. Rex hit-making machine was beginning to show some wear and tear, but Marc Bolan still had more than a few winners up his sleeve. It was also admirable that Bolan was attempting to broaden the T. Rex sound — soulful backup singers and horns are heard throughout, a full two years before David Bowie used the same formula for his mega-seller Young Americans. However, Tanx did not contain any instantly recognizable hits, as their past couple of releases had, and the performances were not quite as vibrant, due to non-stop touring and drug use. Despite an era of transition looming on the horizon for the band, tracks such as "Rapids," "Highway Knees," "The Street & Babe Shadow," and "Born to Boogie" contain the expected classic T. Rex sound.

The leadoff track, "Tenement Lady," is an interesting Beatlesque epic, while "Shock Rock" criticizes the early-'70s glam scene, which T. Rex played a prominent role in creating. Other highlights include one of Bolan's most gorgeous and heartfelt ballads, "Broken Hearted Blues," as well as the brief, explosive rocker "Country Honey." Tanx marked the close of what many consider T. Rex's golden era; unfortunately, the bandmembers would drift off one by one soon after, until Bolan was the only one remaining by the mid-'70s.

01."Tenement Lady" – 2:55
02."Rapids" – 2:48
03."Mister Mister" – 3:29
04."Broken Hearted Blues" – 2:02
05."Shock Rock" – 1:43
06."Country Honey" – 1:47
07."Electric Slim and the Factory Hen" – 3:03
08."Mad Donna" – 2:16
09."Born to Boogie" – 2:04
10."Life Is Strange" – 2:30
11."Street and Babe Shadow" – 2:18
12."Highway Knees" – 2:34
13."Left Hand Luke and the Beggar Boys" – 5:18

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