Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow

zincZinc Alloy is the ninth studio album by Marc & T.Rex, released in February 1974.

At the time, Bolan’s success in the UK was beginning to slip, as a result of two factors: his constant desire to “crack” the US market (which resulted in a lessened effort on the UK charts), and his desire to expand T.Rex’s sound. This can be seen on 1973’s Tanx, which included new guitar effects, chord changes, string arrangements and other studio “tricks” Bolan had not employed before.

He had been listening to a sizable amount of US soul and R&B, no doubt influenced by his new affair with a backup singer and clavinet player he had hired for his 1973 US tour – Gloria Jones. These new sounds, in retrospect, were a year and a half before David Bowie’s pioneering “Young Americans” album, often credited with making the most successful transition from UK glam rock (which was losing popularity) to radio-friendly, soul-influenced pop/rock. However, as successful as Bolan was in combining his new influences with his old, the boogie/rockabilly sound at the core of the classic T.Rex sound can still be heard in the guitar work and the harmonies,in particular on the track “Nameless Wildness”.

The songs reflect a darker mood than on Bolan’s earlier releases, with lead track “Venus Loon” having quite grotesque subject matter. This was surely refective of Bolan’s inner uncertainty about his status in the rock world now that he was no longer a teen idol. Other songs such as “Galaxy” and “Change” contain similar forebodings and dark imagery. The music, too, is ambitious and complex, containing some of Marc’s most inventive extended guitar solos.

The album divided fans and critics into the two camps that would remain with him until his death – those that derided him as a washed-up teen idol, and those who believed he would eventually make a resurgence in popularity. At that moment, however, Zinc Alloy marked a downturn in his fortunes – the contemporaneous album single, “Teenage Dream”, made it only to #13 in the UK charts. While that would be a success for most groups, Bolan had spent all of 1971-1973 enjoying constant Top Ten and Top Five UK hits, including four #1’s.

T.Rex would not enjoy another Top 20 UK hit until “New York City”, in the summer of 1975.

Reissues

Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow 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 Change (The Alternate Zinc Alloy), was released in 1996 which contained alternative versions, studio rough mixes and demos of the main album and bonus tracks. A combined album digipak (MEDCD717) was released in 2005.

Track listing

All tracks composed by Marc Bolan.

  1. “Venus Loon” – 3:01
  2. “Sound Pit” – 2:50
  3. “Explosive Mouth” – 2:26
  4. “Galaxy” – 1:48
  5. “Change” – 2:47
  6. “Nameless Wildness” – 3:06
  7. “Teenage Dream” – 5:45
  8. “Liquid Gang” – 3:17
  9. “Carsmile Smith & the Old One” – 3:16
  10. “You’ve Got to Jive to Stay Alive – Spanish Midnight” – 2:35
  11. “Interstellar Soul” – 3:26
  12. “Painless Persuasion v. the Meathawk Immaculate” – 3:26
  13. “The Avengers (Superbad)” – 4:28
  14. “The Leopards Featuring Gardenia and the Mighty Slug” – 3:36

 

1994 CD reissue (Edsel EDCD392)
  1. “The Groover” – 3:24
  2. “Midnight” – 2:49
  3. “Truck On (Tyke)” – 3:09
  4. “Sitting Here” – 2:21
  5. “Satisfaction Pony” – 2:49

Change (The Alternate Zinc Alloy) (Edsel EDCD 440)

  1. “Venus Loon” – 3:05
  2. “Sound Pit” (Parts 1 & 2) – 3:01
  3. “Explosive Mouth” – 2:33
  4. “Galaxy” – 1:03
  5. “Change” (Signs) – 1:54
  6. “Nameless Wildness” – 5:19
  7. “Teenage Dream” – 5:57
  8. “Liquid Gang” – 2:56
  9. “Carsmile Smith & the Old One” – 2:34
  10. “Spanish Midnight” – 0:37
  11. “Insterstellar Soul” – 1:55
  12. “Painless Persuasion v. the Meathawk Immaculate” – 3:29
  13. “The Avengers (Superbad)” – 3:27
  14. “The Leopards Featuring Gardenia & the Mighty Slug” – 2:28
  15. “The Groover” – 2:50
  16. “Midnight” – 2:48
  17. “Truck On (Tyke)” – 1:40
  18. “Sitting There” (Sitting Here) – 2:01
  19. “Satisfaction Pony” – 3:27
  20. “Nameless Wildness” (Acoustic Demo) – 1:47
  21. “Carsmile Smith & the Old One” (Solo / Acoustic Demo) – 1:45
  22. “Carsmile Smith & the Old One” (Acoustic Demo with organ) – 1:17
  23. “The Avengers (Superbad)” (Acoustic Demo) – 2:50
  24. “The Leopards Featuring Geraldine & the Mighty Slug” (Acoustic Demo) – 1:08

 

Versions

Title Label Cat# Country Year
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage In August (LP, Album) EMI BLNA 7751 UK 1974
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage In August (LP, Album) Jugoton, EMI LSEMI-73003 Yugoslavia 1974
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage In August (LP, Album) Ariola 87 718 IT Germany 1974
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage In August (LP, Album) EMI XEMC-8005 Brazil 1974
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (CD, Album, RE) Marc On Wax Ltd. MARC D 505 UK 1985
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (Cass, Album, RE) Marc On Wax Ltd. MARCK 505 UK 1989
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (LP, Album, RE) Marc On Wax Ltd. MARCL 505 UK 1989
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (CD, Album, RE, RM) Edsel Records EDCD392 UK 1994
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (CD, Album, RE, RM) Chronicles 314 534 357-2 US 1997
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (CD, Album, RE, RM + CD, Comp, RE, RM) Rhino Records (2), Edsel Records, Demon Records R2 73219 US 2002
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (CD, Album, RE, RM + CD, Comp, RE, RM) Edsel Records MEDCD 717 Europe 2002
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (CD, Album, RE) Imperial Records (Japan) TECI-26566 Japan 2009
Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (LP, Album, RE) Teldec 6.26713 BL Germany

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