Electric Slim And The Factory Hen
For years while I was in bands it influenced my listening a lot. For instance if the band was soul influenced then you can bet that I would be listening to nothing but. Also I would search out bands that were in a similar area to what I was playing. I also would avoid a lot of music if it didn’t fit into a particular box. I also for a long time stuck to a fairly rigid formula. 1968-1977 was out of bounds except for soul and reggae and Bowie, and a few people like Lou Reed and Iggy. Certainly I wouldn’t have listened to music with beards or lengthy guitar solos.
Time passes and with the arrival of my boy and our move move to the West Country playing music went on the back burner. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do any music. A two hour journey home in time to eat dinner and put the boy to bed don’t leave much time after for anything other than sitting in front of the tv with the wife drinking cups of tea.
I miss it, of course I do. After all I was in and out of bands constantly for over twenty years. But it’s had an interesting effect on my listening habits. Certain things that I held dear because they were inspirational musically and exciting suddenly didn’t seem quite as enjoyable. And other things that didn’t fit my slightly blinkered view of music suddenly I found very enjoyable indeed. Surprising things too, I mean The bloody Eagles?! It’s also made me want to dig into the things that I’ve avoided because I didn’t like a voice or a sound. I dug into Neil Young for instance, whose voice I’ve never liked. Still don’t but some of the Crazy Horse stuff is brilliant I’ve discovered. And T Rex.
I should have always liked T Rex. After all I love Bowie and Roxy. And Marc Bolan had mod connections from his early days in Johns Children (Desdemona was covered live by The Jam) but I couldn’t connect with his voice. Until recently. I put a couple of albums on the Ipod, The Slider and Tanx. And all of a sudden T Rex made sense. And especially the song above. Electric Slim And The Factory Hen sits alongside Bowie’s Young Americans album and Roxy doing something like Pyjamarama, it’s gorgeous, beautiful chords, lovely strings and Marc crooning, like Bob Dylan singing Smokey Robinson. It also seems to be somewhere inside my head from my childhood, because I knew every inch of it.
Interesting too to see how many people I love were influenced by Marc. I know some people like Adam Ant and Gen X were definitely influenced but I can also now hear his influence in early Lloyd Cole and Edwyn Collins. I kind of knew that, but its interesting how much of an influence he was through the 80s alongside Bowie and Ferry.
Meanwhile I’m about to dig into Mott The Hoople. I’m expecting to hear a lot that’s familiar considering how much Mick Jones of The Clash loved them….