It’s my 43rd birthday tomorrow but the girls and I are celebrating a day early with my favorite dinner of BBQ hamburgers, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, potato salad and a beautiful double chocolate cake afterwards. Oh, and I get to wash it all off with a tasty bottle of Blacksmith Smoked Porter. Not a bad kickstart to my birthday weekend at all.
Am I a lucky guy or what?
Now, the kid and I are settling down to digest our dinners while listening to a record I purchased on a whim at the record store in St. Catharines this afternoon – kind of a happy birthday to myself dealio – ‘The Slider‘ by T. Rex.
I’ve been reading quite a bit about David Bowie lately and even getting reacquainted with a few Bowie albums in the process. A good portion of the biography dealt with Bowie’s contribution to the whole “Glam Rock” movement in the early and mid-70’s, a movement that Marc Bolan and T. Rex were certainly a part of as well. Then, while watching the Johnny Depp flick ‘Dark Shadows‘ the other night, there was this particular album in the background (even though the soundtrack was playing ‘Season of the Witch‘ by the Zombies at the time instead) so when I saw it front and center at the record store today I knew it was meant to be. Furthermore, the album was officially released in the year of my birth (1972), the height of “T-Rextasy”, so it seemed like fate had certainly intervened.
Now, truthfully, I’m not really a big Glam Rock kinda guy and, besides ‘Electric Warrior‘ which is definitely one of my Desert Island albums, I’m not really huge Bolan fan either, but I figured HRH would appreciate Bolan’s style of singing about fantastical creatures n’ shit so, yeah, for a whopping 5$? What the fuck.
And it turns out I was right. She digs it. After all, what 10-year-old girl doesn’t like songs about mythical creatures and fantastical space travel? Not this one that’s for sure. It’s totally 50’s rock-meets-Lewis Carol.
Anyway, ‘The Slider‘ essentially replicates all the virtues of ‘Electric Warrior‘, crammed with effortless hooks and trashy fun. All of Bolan’s signatures are here – mystical folk-tinged ballads, overt sexual come-ons crooned over sleazy, bopping boogies, loopy nonsense poetry, and a mastery of the three-minute pop song form. Tracks like ‘Metal Guru‘, ‘Spaceball Ricochet‘, ‘The Slider‘, ‘Baby Boomerang‘, ‘Telegram Sam‘, ‘Buick MacKaine‘, ‘Rabbit Fighter‘ shit, let’s just say all of it is pretty freakin’ fantastic. Either that, or this 6.5% Blacksmith Smoked Porter is really kicking my ass in a good way.
Anyway, interesting story about the album cover: the album notes credit Ringo Starr with the front and back cover photographs. The photographs were taken the same day that Starr was filming the T. Rex documentary ‘Born to Boogie’ at John Lennon’s estate, Tittenhurst Park. Producer Tony Visconti (of Bowie fame), however, disputes that Starr took the photograph, stating “Marc handed me his motorized Nikon and asked me to fire off two rolls of black and white film while we were on the set of ‘Born to Boogie’. Ringo, the director of the film, was busy all day lining up shots. But Marc apparently saw a photo “credit” opportunity and gave Ringo the credit for the photos.” Whatever. It’s still a pretty cool album. And, hey, Lennon’s estate was called “Tittenhurst”…hehehe. Okay, yeah, this porter is definitely kicking my ass.
‘The Slider’ ultimately received acclaim from fans and critics alike and ultimately reached #4 in the UK charts and #17 in the US. Not bad for a collection of 3 minute glam rock ditties.