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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars released from visconti
This is one of my favourite TRex albums. I hesitated to by it at first because of the poor reviews it had picked up over the years. Its interesting how rock history is written. It seems people didn't want to attribute too much accolade to Bolan so they gave it to Visconti instead ergo Visconti leaves and Bolan falls. This idea continued to such an extent that the...
Published on September 25, 2003 by Shmuel

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not For the Uninitiated
I love just about everything Marc Bolan recorded in his all-too-short career. But even with as big a fan as I am, I have to admit that "Bolan's Zip Gun" is not a very good album, nor is it very good T. Rex.

At the time this album was released (1975), Bolan's star was on the wane. Fans did not know what to make of this album's predecessor, 1974's "Zinc Alloy &...
Published on March 3, 2006 by James Choma


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars released from visconti, September 25, 2003
By 
Shmuel (Jerusalem Israel) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
This is one of my favourite TRex albums. I hesitated to by it at first because of the poor reviews it had picked up over the years. Its interesting how rock history is written. It seems people didn't want to attribute too much accolade to Bolan so they gave it to Visconti instead ergo Visconti leaves and Bolan falls. This idea continued to such an extent that the production of the comeback Dandy in the Underworld album was ascribed to Visconti who in fact had no dealings with Bolan after Zinc Alloy. Bolan was supposed to be short of ideas when he made this album. In fact he recorded two albums in this year (1974) this one and Futuristic Dragon and the previous year if he had included all the single A+B sides and unreleased material on Zinc Alloy it would have been a double album, hardly the output of someone short of ideas.
This album is Bolan's most varied and at the same time most commercial. Bolan resisted the path to heavy rock which was the commercial music of the early 70's. He parted company with Steve Took over this and after he parted company with Visconti he put out what could be termed an anti heavy rock album. I'll just run through the styles to wet your appetite.
Light of Love - pop , Solid Baby - rock , Precious Star - soul , Token of My Love - The sea of love a la Bolan , Space Boss - two drum rock , Think Zinc - glam a la glitter band , Till Dawn (my favourite) - sweet soul , Girl in the Thunderbolt Suit - glam a la Bolan , I really love you Babe - Bolan does Dylan , Golden Belt - funk , Zip Gun Boogie - boogie (of course).
Looking back it seems that it was Visconti who was in fact stuck for ideas, he went on to produce Thin Lizzy, not a bad band but not in Bolan's class. Bolan got married, cleaned up his life and broadened his musical horizons.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oh my god., December 26, 2006
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
wow. i can't believe my ears. marc, i know most people don't care for this one, but my dear lord. "i really love you, babe", those morricone harmonicas, the lead guitar, the backing vocals! at the very end, that single backing vocal, that distorted vocal of love. heart shattering stuff. i hope you still exist in some form and are still making music wherever you may be.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An underrated and misunderstood gem, April 3, 2005
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
I've read many reviews for this album, though only one other is posted here. It seems to be consistently judged very harshly, possibly due to the fact that it totally negates most expectations of what a T.Rex album should be.

In fact, this might be my favourite T.Rex album, and I have all the official releases. It has a very unique sound and production value, and an overall sort of surreal romanticism which permeates most of the material. The simplicity of some of the songs is disarming at first, and this may also be what triggers bad reviews. Simple in this case is not necessarily a bad thing however, and all the tunes are quite catchy and memorable. This album has a characteristic sound and feel all its own within the T.Rex catalogue (though Zinc Alloy hinted at this direction), and to me, it stands out as one of the most unique and pleasurable albums upon repeated listening. There is a very upbeat, dancehall quality to much of the material, and a sort of sublime, deja vu tinge which pervades the rest.

I believe this album was years ahead of its time, and it's still my favourite T.Rex album to listen to. Bolan's most unique offering.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Overlooked Classic, July 24, 2004
By 
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
Bolan's popularity was certainly at a low point when this album was released. He was overweight and fame, drugs and a massive ego had certainly messed up his head, but his talent remained intact.

First and foremost, you have to give Bolan an awfully lot of credit for being able to capture the T-Rex sound without Tony Visconti. (Bolan's Zip Gun was the first T-Rex album that Visconti did not produce.)

This album is just a blast! Critics have said that Bolan failed in his attempt to incorporate American soul music into his sound; they also said that Gloria Jones had no place in T-Rex. They were sorely mistaken on both counts. Not only did Bolan know exactly what he was doing, but Gloria Jones' voice was an invaluable addition to this new music he was making.

Bolan's Zip Gun isn't as strange as Zinc Alloy (it's more structured), but it has a similar sound. The first two tracks are pretty fun and certainly distinct; they do a nice job of peaking your interest. But the album really picks up with the third track, 'Precious Star', and then it never loses momentum. This is a dynamic, unpredictable ride. After the soulful 'Precious Star' and 'Token of Your Love' (two songs that definitely belong together), we are hit with four of the coolest entries in the Bolan songbook. 'Space Boss' is catchy as all get out and wonderfully cocky. 'Think Zinc' is a veritable anthem and 'Till Dawn' is simply one of the best ballads Bolan ever wrote. I defy anyone to listen to 'Girl in the Thunderbolt Suit' and claim that Bolan's experiment with American soul music was unsuccessful. 'I Really Love You Babe' is more glorious soul and then along comes the charming 'Golden Belt', an odd number that doesn't resemble any other song that comes to mind. 'Zip Gun Boogie' is one of the best songs Bolan has ever closed an album with; it perfectly commingles Bolan's playful pop and hard rock.

If all you have listened to is Electric Warrior, then Bolan's Zip Gun is going to be quite the adjustment. But give it some time, and I promise it will pay off. It's just a shame that so many others didn't give it a fair chance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just buy it!, July 23, 2008
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
Disc 1 is essentially the original release of Bolan's Zip Gun with a couple of extra single tracks added on. Disc 2, aslo sold separately as Precious Star: The Alternate Bolan's Zip Gun, is drum'n'bass T. Rex.

If Zinc Alloy, as produced by Tony Visconti, is a syrupy stack of fluffy pancakes, then Bolan's Zip Gun/Precious Star is a raw fistful of granola. The 80% we've heard sonically of Bolan's Zip Gun it its original form (presumably mastered for your average 1975 model stereo system) is now unzipped (pun intended) wide open to decant the extra 20% around the top and bottom, namely in the form of the thumpy, room-reverbed kick drum, the low solidity of the funk bass, and the extra layers of the ladies' choir and wah-wah guitar shimmerings sprinkled over the mixes on offer here. How can you NOT call this the "classic" T. Rex sound?? It's like a peek through the studio window, sitting in on our star-hero's coke-fuelled (allegedly) attempts to get ideas down in rapid succession, chasing the muse and indeed his own relevance while he still had a band and a producer (well, not for long).

Noteworthy songs include more than one nearly- 5-minute jam of Till Dawn; a space age version of Space Boss complete with string machine embellishments that give it a spooky, ethereal quality; and a version of Golden Belt (on which I always hit 'skip' on the original CD) where the drummer just takes the lid off and UNLEASHES, really driving the track along with fury.

This is a GREAT addition to any T. Rex completist's collection.

Or you could just long for the days of "Ride a White Swan," and there you go...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not For the Uninitiated, March 3, 2006
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
I love just about everything Marc Bolan recorded in his all-too-short career. But even with as big a fan as I am, I have to admit that "Bolan's Zip Gun" is not a very good album, nor is it very good T. Rex.

At the time this album was released (1975), Bolan's star was on the wane. Fans did not know what to make of this album's predecessor, 1974's "Zinc Alloy & the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow." However, it did manage to spawn at least one hit single, "Teenage Dream." And as confused and disjointed as that album was it still had excellent production values. Long-time Producer Tony Visconti had always been a key ingredient of the T. Rex sound, and the bombastic treatment he created for "Zinc" made it the album we T. Rex fans know and love. But Visconti, no longer willing to put up with Bolan's ego and erratic behavior, decided to call it a day, and signed off in late 1974. This left Bolan, rapidly getting pickled in cocaine and alcohol, in total creative control.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way. One of the first things you notice about "Bolan's Zip Gun" is how weak it sounds compared to the albums that came before it. Gone was the T. Rex sound -- the special ingredients (a lush combination of strings, brass, and woodwinds) were discarded in favor of what Bolan described as "Space-age Funk." Sadly, this new direction didn't pay off, often sounding tinny and hollow.

"Light of Love" starts off the album with a whimper: "La, la, la, la, la, la,la,la, laaaa -- the Light of Love..." -- a horrible choice for one of the album's singles. Interestingly enough, when American company Casablanca Records picked up Bolan in 1974, this song became the album's title. Not a good selling point. Although the "Light of Love" album boasts one of my favorite LP covers!

The other poorly chosen single was "Zip Gun Boogie," a sloppy, uninspired mess of a song that Bolan featured on his '74 tour -- sadly, his last-ever tour of the USA. However, it did chart in the UK, proving at the time that something with the Bolan name could still occasionally sell.

What did the music buying public think? Not too much. To Bolan's chagrin the album was yet another miss -- a sign that the UK had put the phenomena of T.Rexstasy behind them.

Other misfires on the album are the unlistenable "Golden Belt" and "I Really Love You Babe." Even the worst Tyrannosaurus Rex song shines brightly compared to either of these two cold turkey burgers. These should have stayed in the demo stage, replaced by "Do You Want to Dance" and Gloria Jones's great version of "Dock of the Bay."

Also of note was the change in Bolan's appearance. Once known as "the Bopping Elf" by the British music press a few years earlier, he had now become the "Porky Pixie." His midsection had indeed grown in size, and his face appeared bloated and swollen -similar to that of a late-70's Elvis Presley. The drugs and booze were definitely taking a toll on his once defined, chiseled features.

Now the good stuff. One hold-over from the "Zinc Alloy" sessions was "Till Dawn," the only song that retains some of the signature T. Rex sound. Visconti received no credit -- however, his fingerprints are all over it. This should have been the first single. You have great Bolan-esque lyrics and full orchestral backing -- cascading violins, cellos, and violas! Wonderful!

"Precious Star" and "Token of My Love" sound like 50's-inspired tracks, the lyrics of which find Bolan occasionally stumbling ("Will you love me, like you said in your let-ter...), but they still come off as enjoyable -- songs that still have that infectious quality to stay in your head long after you've heard them.

In lieu of the backing orchestration, Bolan seems to have concentrated on bits and pieces rather than putting it all together. For instance, he moved the percussion front and center. Drummer Bill Legend (the first to defect from the T. Rex camp in 'late '73/early '74) was replaced by Davy Lutton, who really comes through in tracks like "Solid Baby" and "Think Zinc." 1983 actually saw "Think Zinc" re-released as a 12-inch single. "Think Zinc" is truly one of the highlights of the album. He also overdubbed saxophones on several of these tracks -- "Solid Baby," "Space Boss," "Girl in the Thunderbolt Suit," and the aforementioned "Think Zinc."

As for bonus tracks, you'll get a great re-make of "Dock of the Bay" sung by Bolan's girlfriend Gloria Jones. There's also a decent version of "Do You Want to Dance." Disc 2 has the demo versions of all of these songs -- providing you with different takes, and occasionally alternate lyrics.

As a T. Rex album, I'd give this two-and-a-half, maybe three stars. On its own, I'd only give it one star.

Again, probably my least favorite T. Rex CD, but it still has its bright points ("Think Zinc," "Till Dawn," "Space Boss,"). If you're curious about T. Rex -- this would definitely not be the place to start. I'd go with "Electric Warrior," "The Slider," or their self-titled album, "T.Rex".
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a disaster, but not up with the best, July 9, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
It's a hard album to listen to Zip Gun, designed for the american market with an American sound it seems short on that manic Bolan energy. There are some excellent songs, Think Zinc, Till Dawn, Solid Baby, but some songs sound like ideas that should never have been taken beyond the imagination. The last four songs sound like Bolan really has reached a point when he is tired and wants a break. Even as a die hard Bolan fan i can't say this is a must buy, but if you have other Bolan albums and you don't mind its limitations then Zip Gun is worth buying for the songs I have mentioned. Songs like Precious Star and Token of My Love are also worth listening to. So to sum up, worth having for four or five songs, but as a casual listener this perhaps wouldn't be a wise choice as a first buy, there are better overall albums, some classic songs but not a classic album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Bolan's best., August 6, 2005
By 
Stephen Sincoskie (Howell, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
I bought this cd thinking it would have a few decent songs after reading the reviews, I was wrong. I love this whole cd. It's like Bolan doing old time rock. Far superior to Bowies Young Americans garbage. At times it hints at John Lennon-Rock n Roll and The Kinks Muswell Hillbillys. Buy it, you'll love it. I just listened to it 3 times in a row!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars really good, but different, April 19, 2010
By 
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
I grew up in a house where my family was convinced that the Slider is the ultimate T.Rex album. In fact, the Slider (according to my dad) is considered the best album ever, or at least, in the top 3.

Bolan's Zip Gun feels *very* different in comparison. I can't quite tell what kind of sound T.Rex is going for here. Many of these songs feel like throwbacks to the early 60's period of rock but morphed to fit into T.Rex's glam rock style.

One thing I know for a fact is that "Light of Love" is clearly my favorite song. I love this song quite a bit. "Think Zinc" is another good one. I agree with the other reviews that there's something very unique about this album that puts it in a league of its own, and for that, the album deserves a high rating. Something about the clear and vibrant production that I like.

The only complaint is that the majority of these songs are dominated with female vocals that are quite loud and sometimes overbearing to the point of obnoxiousness. It's a really weird choice on the part of the band members to include female vocals to *this* extent.

Oh well, Bolan's Zip Gun is a good album either way, baby.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, March 10, 2010
By 
Hollywood (glenview, il usa) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bolan's Zip Gun (Audio CD)
I read numerous reviews on this album. Most are unfavorable. Some even say this is Marc Bolans worst album. I will never again take a critics word for anything again. I have all the popular T. Rex albums and decided to branch out. Even with all the negativity thrown at this album, the samples I heard made me decide to purchase it and give it a try. Zip Gun is one of the greatest risks I've taken. As far as I'm concerned, this album rivals The Slider. Even though Bolans popularity was waning and he was questioning his place in the music world at the time, he was able to create a masterpiece-even though he denounced it after it's release. It has a slightly more simplified sound and even has a 50's feel to it in some places. The album rocks where it needs to, but has some of the most beautiful harmonies and compositions he ever put to vinyl. Just listen to Token Of Your Love and you'll get what I'm talking about. I guarantee that if you are a T. Rex fan, you will love this album. It hasn't left my stereo for 3 days-and counting.
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Bolan's Zip Gun
Bolan's Zip Gun by Marc Bolan & T Rex (Audio CD - 2002)
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