Liquid Gang

You’re gonna be grand. This is short but funky, much like Marc Bolan himself. In the latter seventies Bolan began to incorporate strong elements of R&’B, soul, and funk music into the usual T.Rex boogie. No doubt thanks to the influence of his girlfriend and close collaborator Gloria Jones, whose career up till that point included writing hits for Motown groups like The Supremes and recording her own material such as the original version of Tainted Love, later a smash for Soft Cell. In short, Jones was a professional songwriter who knew her way around Motown, gospel, soul, funk, pop and what-have-you. The T.Rex sound had always been firmly rooted in rockabilly, leavened with mysticism and exotic percussion. Jones greatly expanded Bolan’s musical repertoire, and their apparently wildly different musical styles yielded surprising results. It was glam rock morphing into a funkier, more Americanized creation, what became known as blue-eyed soul. It was a fresh new direction for Marc Bolan & T.Rex, but unfortunately it lacked commercial appeal. It just wasn’t as instantly accessible as peak-era T.Rex.  Tanx had been a good album, but it, and its accompanying singles, were still treading the same ground as previous records, and the fickle teenage wildlife grew distracted. Bolan’s career was losing momentum, and Zinc Alloy wasn’t the huge hit it deserved to be. A year later, blue-eyed soul became the latest Bolan creation taken credit for by David Bowie. Then came a few years of floundering around trying to recapture that Slider magic in a series of increasingly mediocre releases. After 1974, Bolan truly was phoning it in, and it was sad to see someone so capable of greatness making music so unremarkable. But amidst all that, Zinc Alloy really deserves to be up there with the classic T.Rex albums, not although but because of it being such a radical departure.


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