Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Prophets Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Pre-glam rock era T. Rex (then Tyrannosaurus Rex) re-issue of the fully titled 'Prophets, Seers & Sages - The Angels of the Ages'. Considered a cornerstone of the 60s British Underground along with The Soft Machine, Syd Ba... more »
Pre-glam rock era T. Rex (then Tyrannosaurus Rex) re-issue of the fully titled 'Prophets, Seers & Sages - The Angels of the Ages'. Considered a cornerstone of the 60s British Underground along with The Soft Machine, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Cream, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, this remastered, expanded edition includes original artwork, lyrics, sleevenotes by Marc Bolan biographer Mark Paytress, rare photographs by Peter Sanders, and 14 bonus stereo recordings and outtakes. First pressings come with a slipcase. Universal. 2004.
A warm and pleasant album as Marc's talents mature
Mark McLellan | Ringwood, Hampshire UK | 03/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A GIFT FROM A FLOWER TO A GARDEN: "Rose, Rose, Rose" "Prophets, Seers and Sages, the Angels of the Ages" is the album which truly earned Marc Bolan the epithet "the Bopping Elf". This is the most personal and intimate of his albums of the Tyrannosaurus Rex era. It is more polished than the erratic patchwork quilt of "My People..." which had the nervous energy typical of a debut album. It is not as polished as the more poetic and harder edged gem that is Unicorn but it is the album that welcomes you into a pleasanter world. There is something wholesomely English about this album. A rose with its roots firmly in Middle Earth and stars on its brow. Like the shires of the Hobbit it is set it a cosy world of neat gardens, cute cottages and winding country lanes where magic can still lurk in hidden pools. BOOK AFTER BOOK: "Know that Zeus is never loose with his Grecian kiss" There are three literary sources that are very obviously major influences on Marc in this album: * Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J R R Tolkein * The Chronicles of Narnia (a series of seven books) by C S Lewis * Classical and Celtic Mythology by unknown (dare I suggest Bulfinch's [sic] Mythology - "the bullfinch rumbles"). Essential reading for any fan of this era of Marc's music, these three-fold inspirations are interwoven in and out through the verses. I would go further and make specific comparisons. * From LOTR: Stacey Grove is inspired by Tom Bombadil and Travelling Tragician calls to mind Aragron - the Long Strider - "stepping so lightly". * From Narnia: "washed me with oils from Narnia", "The lavish lion aslanically scythes the hay" - Aslan is the lion king in the world of Narnia. And the "cab wrenched from lost Byzantium" is surely inspired by the scene in the Magician's Nephew where an Edwardian Hansom cab careers through into Narnia. * From Bulfinch: "gorgon moved the lizard dial and was transformed into Grecian dust", "It's vulcan teeth and hydra spray", "like a pagan temple to Zeus", "Holy Grail head" THE LORE AND LANGUAGE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN: "What wonders roam in the head of a child" Although ostensibly written as children's books the chronicles of Narnia are far more complex. With talking animals, heroic children and the wicked witch, these can be simply read and enjoyed but they work at many levels. C S Lewis was a committed Catholic (but you knew that didn't you Rick ;-) and these books deal with deep issues. The books go from creation to the end of all things and deal with the problems of innocence and sin, temptation, the fall and redemption and our ability to chose between good and evil. Narnia is Eden, Adam's role is taken by Edmund, the serpent by the wicked witch. Aslan represents the prime mover and his death on the sacrificial table and his resurrection mirror that of our lord. DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?: "Dug and Redug" Now it can be told - I am in fact a replicant. How do I know this? Because they have done such a lousy job of installing childhood memories. I can remember very little from my early years. Not for me images of great aunt Nelly leaning over my bassinet. If asked, one of my earliest is memories is at age sixteen singing Debora as I cycled to my vacation job in the early morning sunshine of a long and glorious summer. SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED: "I know I'm small but I enjoy living anyway" This must be the second shortest album in my entire collection ("Mass in E minor" by the Electric Prunes). Short changed I must feel. (Good grief - as I sit typing in this hotel bedroom John Peel is on the radio!). I cannot decide whether this is Unicorn part one or a separate album. They are so obviously a pair. They may be twins these albums but never identical. The frenetic bongo driven energy of the former changes to the graceful flow of the latter. Unicorn has a cold beauty but Prophets has a warm magic. The same themes occur in both: Manicured lawns - "The flowing mane of pain swells on Trelawny Lawn" to "A ragged youth with eyes of glass was seen dancing upon the grass" Alliteration and sigmoid susurration: "Secret sounds of giant sea birds singing songs of lonesome sailors" to "A salty shimmered shell of foam." Autumnal presentiments: "like a thrush in the yielding harvest field the prophet deems snow" to "The barren barley fields refuse to sway" and beyond Unicorn: "Golden cats in temples" to "Love the golden cat" and many more. FANTASTIC VOYAGE: "We ran and swam knee deep in plasma" Of course I knew Scenescof Dynasty by heart and used to sing it on the way to school. I think this song was inspired by the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage - "When a top scientist is shot and suffers brain damage, a team of doctors and a boat are miniaturised and injected into his bloodstream... but one is a traitor" [Halliwell]. They really "ran knee deep in plasma" in the film. THE SECRET GARDEN:" the writer talks to me like a friend" At sixteen, I had read Narnia and LOTR. I was the only person at school I knew who had heard of Tyrannosaurus Rex (apart from John Peel!) let alone bought the album. This was like a personal communication, a shared secret between me and Marc. It has a warm place in my heart. That is probably all I need to say. So may I wish you "Good Night" and as always in an Elfish abode, dreams of the gentlest texture. Mark McL."
Imagine "Salamanda Palaganda" as a glam #1 in 1972...
Michael Topper | Pacific Palisades, California United States | 03/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...which actually isn't so hard, when you realize that most of the songs on this album, the sophomore effort by Tyrannosaurus Rex, have strong enough melodies and clever enough guitar hooks
to have been hits if given the proper "commercial" trappings. Actually, the group's May 1968 debut single "Debora" *did* climb to #6 on the UK charts in the wake of T.Rextasy in 1972; it is reprised here in an arguably superior version, being reversed to sound backwards in its second half. Thus "Prophets, Seers And Sages" sets itself up nicely as an album of very eccentric psychedelic folk which turned many listeners off at the time and still does now--however, those that are pulled in by the album's
flowing strengths will find that there is nothing quite like it (outside of the next album, "Unicorn", perhaps).
Although described by Paytress in the liner notes to this deluxe remaster as a "mod dressed in hippie clothing", Bolan certainly
could've fooled Ginsberg and Leary; even the presence given off by him on the album's bizarre cover photo seems otherwordly, although it is merely a picture of the duo in a garden (this photogenic quality would be exploited later for worldwide fame and fortune--compare the eerily similar expressions on his face here and on "The Slider"). Leaving the drug-taking to brilliant sidekick Steve Took, Bolan's lyrical edge is firmly grounded in
a mixture of medieval/Tolkein imagery and dadaist absurdity, although without the lyric sheet in front of one (thankfully reprinted in the liners), not a word is understandable. No matter; acoustic guitars strum effortlessly hummable tunes against a background of bongos in overdrive, embellished here and there by cooling chimes, a thoughtful pixiephone or brisk handclaps. The sound is very English, and while very much in the spirit of its time, is so unique (especially vocally) that it certainly stands outside the decade as well.
The faster tracks, like "Debora", "Salamanda Palaganda", "Aznageel The Mage", "Juniper Suction" and "Conesuela" all sound vaguely oriental and are played at a frenetic pace, giving them an urgent quality; the odd voices swim around each other to unveil another pandora's box opened ("Juniper Suction" is a particularly fine cut that actually feels like one is being sucked into the song, but ends almost before it begins!). By contrast, the pastoral cuts for which this album and "Unicorn" are known couldn't get more mysterious or lovely; "Wind Quartets", "Travelling Tragition" and "Oh Harley" are the best on the album, as they instantly conjure a form of meditative magic that lingers long after the disc has stopped playing (the use of exotic percussion heightens this effect). The aura of sex which so permeated the "Electric Warrior"/"Slider" period is not as obviously stated, but is
a subtle underground embellishment here that one should watch out
for, especially during a song like "Juniper Suction".
The closing "Scenescof Dynasty" is an epic spoken poem set to handclaps that is of interest, although in this remaster we get to hear for the first time an alternate, much more powerful version with added percussion effects. And this is where the delight of this reissue comes through: not only does the album sound better than it ever has, the added outtakes are almost all previously unreleased, and while some stick close to the final
versions, others like "Scenescof Dynasty" show the Tyrannosaurus Rex sound in development in the studio. An unreleased track, the instantly catchy "Nickelodeon", is very much in the style of the album and would have made a great cut. In all, "Prophets, Seers And Sages" is perhaps Bolan's most intimate album: with just an acoustic guitar and some of Took's charming percussion and backing vocals, an entire universe of potential elfin pop
hits is uncovered. That universe would open gloriously wider with the larger pallette used for the Spector-ish production on "Unicorn" and then of course the addition of electricity on everything afterwards, but that's for the other remasters in the series.
Picnic in another world
Laurence Upton | Wilts, UK | 11/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If proof were needed that the times were less corporate and centralised in the sixties than now, one need only note that this second album by the not obviously commercial duo Tyrannosaurus Rex was released a mere three months after their snappily titled debut, My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair... But Now They're Content To Wear Stars On Their Brow. That totals 26 songs, plus a couple of stray singles, plucked from Marc Bolan's school notebook, all appearing in 1968, with plenty more lyrics saved for future use.
Unsurprisingly, it sold less well than the first to an audience anyway only recently weaned from singles onto albums, but remained a firm favourite over the years, and has been re-issued on CD several times since its first digital release in 1985, surely exceeding the expectations of its makers.
Their first single, Debora, had not appeared on My People Were Fair, which had followed it, as that was the practice of the time, but having been a surprise hit and still fresh in people's minds, was included in a completely newly recorded version which loops in on itself one minute and forty seconds through and plays out backwards through the second half, hence its new palindromic title, Deboraarobed.
One Inch Rock, the follow up single and a slightly bigger hit, was also not included on the new album (though was re-recorded in an electric version for the album T Rex), but has been added here as a bonus track in mono (it can be found in stereo on Essential Collection) along with an alternative, slower stereo version.
To Bolan's multi-tracked vocals, whistling and acoustic guitars have been added Steve Peregrine Took's complementary harmony vocals and percussion on a variety of exotic instruments including talking drums, chinese gong, kazoo and pixiephone, while the strong sense of melody, however strange-seeming at first listen it may seem, remains as memorable and haunting as on the first, and together with the extraordinary lyrics, seem to inhabit a world other than our own, but which would be eminently suitable for an extended picnic. The exclusive use of real instruments, most if not all unamplified, gives the album a timelessness which serves it well on reissue.
Whereas the first album was reissued containing both mono and stereo mixes, the careful engineering of the stereo mix of the album by Malcolm Toft, and the production of Tony Visconti, has made that unnecessary for this release. This has allowed room instead for 14 bonus tracks. Most of these are alternative takes of songs from the album, although there is one song which was dropped, Nickelodeon (Take 1)(mono).
The take numbers are given for the bonus tracks, but not for those of the final masters, so Conesuala (Take 9), for example, could be earlier or later than the released version. Most of the alternative takes are stereo but Salamanda Palaganda, Our Wonderful Brownskin Man, Eastern Spell, The Travelling Tragition and Juniper Suction are mono. Whether these are demos recorded in a mono studio or simply not mixed for stereo is not explained.
This album and My People Were Fair form very much of a pair, with recording for this album commencing even before the first had been released. Tyrannosaurus Rex's sound was to develop over two more albums before transmuting into T Rex, but this was the bedrock from which they sprang, and has material to match anything they subsequently did."