Dandy in the Underworld

Dandy in the Underworld
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Dandy is the twelfth and final studio album by T.Rex. It was released on March 11, 1977, and reached a chart peak in the UK of #26. It was the band’s highest-charting album since 1974’s Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow.

At the time of the album’s release Marc and T.Rex were on a UK tour, supported by The Damned. The album and tour were notable for marking a return to form for the band. Dandy in the Underworld gathered the most consistently positive reviews for any T.Rex album in five years. Having fallen from critical and commercial favour, the band had endured some fiercely hostile press, but NME, which had been amongst the most negative, noted of the album: “very listenable, well arranged immaculately played.”

The sessions had started in Los Angeles in August 1976 and carried on until the end of the year, in UK studios.

Recording engineer Jennifer Maidman writes:
“I worked on two tracks on this album, along with a number of other songs including a later single “Laser Love”. The track “I Love to Boogie” was recorded and mixed in a single day at Decibel Studios in Stoke Newington, London N16. The studio was very small and funky, Marc liked it because it reminded him of the old Sun Studio in Memphis where a lot of early rock and roll records were made. The single was mastered from what was originally intended to be a rough mix which Marc took home. It was mixed in about fifteen minutes by myself and Marc, I just threw up the faders, there were no computers in those days, and we went “Ok that’ll do”. Mick O’Halloran, Marc’s roadie was going “Hurry up, we’ve got to leave now”, I think Marc had an appointment or something, You can hear that the guitar solo is a bit on the quiet side and the tape echo on the voice varies, it’s about right by the end. We got Dino’s Fender Rhodes piano to distort a bit by cranking up the input on the desk, crude but quick and effective.Try doing that on a modern digital desk! Anyway, Marc liked the mix so much that it was released just as it was, much to my surprise, but it still sounds good thirty years later. The master mix was also done at 7.5 inches per second as I recall, rather than the usual 15 ips. This was so that Marc could play it on his reel to reel at home that night. This, along with the fact that the multitrack was an Ampex two inch 16 track machine rather than the 24 track which was more common by then, helps to give the track it’s beefy sound. The other song on the album we did at Decibel was “Universe”, which was subsequently overdubbed and mixed at Air studios by Mike Stavrou I think. These were also the last tracks that Marc did with the old rhythm section of Steve Currie and Davy Lutton before Tony Newman and Herbie Flowers came on board.”

Dandy in the Underworld was launched at London’s leading punk rock venue, The Roxy. Only the title track was released from the album as a single, in a remixed and re-recorded version with the ‘offending’ lyrics “Exalted companion of cocaine nights” being changed to “T.Rex nights”. The track “Visions of Domino” was a re-recording of the previous single “Funky London Childhood”. A final single, “Celebrate Summer” was released in August, ironically (as events turned out) being backed by a previous track from the Futuristic Dragon album, “Ride My Wheels”.

The album was praised for the strength of the songwriting and Bolan’s vocal performances. The title track was released as a single but failed to chart. “I Love to Boogie” and “The Soul of My Suit” did achieve chart placings in the UK.

After three commercially weak albums, Dandy in the Underworld was regarded by many T.Rex fans as a comeback for the band. However, it would prove to be the band’s final album, as Marc Bolan was to die in a car crash in September 1977.

Reissues

Dandy in the Underworld was remastered for CD by Edsel Records in 1994 as part of their extensive T.Rex reissue campaign. A number of bonus tracks were added (see below). A companion release, entitled Prince of Players (The Alternate Dandy in the Underworld) was released in 1998 which contained alternative versions and studio rough mixes of the main album and bonus tracks. A combined album digipak (MEDCD720) was released in 2002.

 Track listing

All songs written and composed by Marc Bolan.

  1. “Dandy in the Underworld” – 4:33
  2. “Crimson Moon” – 3:22
  3. “Universe” – 2:43
  4. “I’m a Fool For You Girl” – 2:16
  5. “I Love to Boogie” – 2:14
  6. “Visions of Domino” – 2:23
  7. “Jason B. Sad” – 3:22
  8. “Groove a Little” – 3:24
  9. “The Soul of My Suit” – 2:37
  10. “Hang Ups” – 3:28
  11. “Pain and Love” – 3:41
  12. “Teen Riot Structure” – 3:33

 

1994 CD reissue (Edsel EDCD395)
  1. “To Know You Is to Love You” (To Know Him Is to Love Him) – 2:43
  2. “City Port” – 2:41
  3. “Dandy in the Underworld” (Single Version) – 3:49
  4. “Tame My Tiger” – 2:30
  5. “Celebrate Summer” – 2:36

Prince of Players (The Alternate Dandy in the Underworld) (EDCD 523)

  1. “Dandy in the Underworld” (Live) – 3:58
  2. “Crimson Moon” – 3:10
  3. “I’m a Fool For You Girl” – 2:17
  4. “I Love to Boogie” – 2:11
  5. “Funky London Childhood” – 2:29
  6. “Jason B. Sad” – 3:26
  7. “Groove a Little” (Live) – 3:25
  8. “The Soul of My Suit” – 4:16
  9. “Hang Ups” (Live) – 4:59
  10. “Pain and Love” – 3:49
  11. “Teen Riot Structure” – 3:38
  12. “To Know You Is to Love You” (To Know Him Is to Love Him) – 3:41
  13. “City Port” (1973) – 2:55
  14. “Tame My Tiger” – 2:46
  15. “Celebrate Summer” – 2:20
  16. “I Love to Boogie” – 2:05
  17. “Soul of My Suit” – 2:41
  18. “Pain and Love” – 1:31
  19. “Teen Riot Structure” – 2:42
  20. “Celebrate Summer” – 2:49
  21. “Weird Strings” – 5:33

Versions

Title Label Cat# Country Year
Dandy In The Underworld (LP) EMI BLN 5005 UK 1977
Dandy In The Underworld (LP, Album) EMI 2C 066-98783 France 1977
Dandy In The Underworld (LP, Album, RE) Marc On Wax Ltd. MARCL 508 UK 1983
Dandy In The Underworld (CD, Album, RM, RE) TELDEC, TELDEC, TELDEC 2292-43946-2, 8.26716, 2292-43946-2 ZR Germany 1987
Dandy In The Underworld (LP, Album) Ariola, Ariola 28 876 XOT, 28 876 OT Germany 1987
Dandy In The Underworld (CD, Album, RE) Marc On Wax MARCD 508 Germany 1989
Dandy In The Underworld (CD, Album, RE, RM) Edsel Records EDCD395 Europe 1994
Dandy In The Underworld (CD, Album) Teichiku Records TECX-18826 Japan 1996
Dandy In The Underworld (CD, Album, RM) PolyGram, Chronicles 314 534 360-2 US 1997
Dandy In The Underworld (CD, Album, RE) Repertoire Records REP 4912 UK 2000
Dandy In The Underworld (CD, Album, RE, RM + CD, Comp, RE, RM) Edsel Records MEDCD 720 Europe 2002
Dandy In The Underworld (CD, Album) Imperial Records (Japan) TECI-26569 Japan 2009

Bolan World

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