b/w "I Like to Boogie"
T. Rex (Marc Bolan), 1972
Old Gold Recordings, UK (1985)
Here's a great old song for the Friday evening buzz, guys and gals. I found this in the bargain bin for about 50 cents back in the '80s which was pretty good considering that the album it came off, The Slider, was only available at the time at stratospheric prices. Since then, the Italian Get Back Records has reissued this and you can snag the album (T. Rex's 2nd best record) off Forced Exposure.
"Telegram Sam" shamelessly recycles the guitar riff from Bolan's biggest US hit - "Bang a Gong (Get it On)" off his more popular album, Electric Warrior (also released in 1972). Do you think that A&M was trying to encourage them to repeat the formula? The Slider was a follow-up to Electric Warrior but the singles from it never captured the same buzz that "Bang a Gong" received in the US (did well in the UK, however), making him somewhat of a one-hit wonder (although "Jeepster" did okay).
So if you can forgive the riff recycling, the real hook here is the chorus (replete with strings): "Telegram Sam/ yer my main man." The silly lyrics about all his wild friends (and himself) are kinda cute ("I ain't no square with my corkscrew hair") but not too much so as to give up the trashy glam personna he was cultivating at the time.
The flip-side alas is from his later period (1976) and is not nearly as good or original, a sort of predictable, embarassingly self-referential song about how Bolan likes to boogie, perhaps a play to the burgeoning disco scene.
Listen to "Telegram Sam" (recorded from vinyl and for "fair use" purposes only)
- Peruse the T. Rex catalog at Forced Exposure. Some other options for buying The Slider.
- A great T. Rex fan page from Brian Shunk
- Per Shunk's fan site, May 16th sees the release of Ringo Starr's Rex film, Born to Boogie
- Bolan died in 1977, the victim of a drunk driver. Here's the original BBC report.
- Bolan's son, Rolan, is rumored to be in consideration for INXS's new singer, which would be fitting since it always seemed obvious to me that Michael Hutchence had stolen some of Marc's moves
- iTunes has Electric Warrior available. "Bang a Gong" always seems to liven up this mix for me if you want to download it ...
Lots of vinyl minage coming this weekend - so check back often! Or put me in your RSS Reader. I promise I won't touch anything.