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Dandy in the Underworld

Marc Bolan & T Rex


Although bootlegs are illegal and often of a very inferior quality they are still much sought after by collectors and 'completists'. Unlike today where audience recordings can be surprisingly good, the audience recordings which exist from the Dandy tour are sadly of a poor quality. The notable exceptions to this are the recordings from The Rainbow in London and Portsmouth Locarno which are believed to have come from the soundboard (the mixing desk at the concert). It is believed that all concerts on the UK tour were recorded at the mixing desk, primarily for Marc to monitor his and the band's performance.

In the 1970's and 1980's cassette tape recordings from concerts were often exchanged or sold by Bolan fans and would often appear for sale at record fairs throughout the 80's. As these tapes were copied time and time again the sound quality invariably suffered with some tapes being barely listenable.

Due to the cost of producing bootleg albums, and generally having poor source tapes available, very few made the leap from cassette tape to vinyl. Bootleg albums were often sold at record fairs (which were very popular in the 80's and 90's) and usually sold for around twice the price of a standard shop sold album of the day.

In the 1990's and 2000's the advent of recordable CDs made it relatively easy to produce CDr's (home made audio CDs). Only one bootleg CD has been 'factory produced', the very misleadingly titled 'Last American Tour 1977'.

Recordings exist for at least two of the French concerts (Nantes and Paris). Of the eight concerts that T Rex performed on the Dandy UK tour recordings exist for Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London, West Runton and Portsmouth. It is possible that recordings exist from the Glasgow and Bristol gigs though these most likely would be audience recordings.

The 'Marc Bolan - The Illustrated Discography' (John and Shan Bramley, pub. 1983) list a bootleg album titled 'Manchester 1977'. Although the book does not show a photo of the album or give a track listing it is believed that this was an acetate album which was created in the late 1970's or early 1980's. Cassette tape recordings of the Manchester gig were available in the late 1970's and were either traded amongst fans or sold by the various dealers of T Rex merchandise.

A number of bootleg albums have some tracks which are from the Dandy tour most notably the very rare 'Son Of Magical Pouting Panache' vinyl album which features four songs from The Rainbow (London) and one song from Manchester.

Vinyl Albums

Rarities (vinyl double album)

This double album, along with the excellent four album set 'Marc Bolan A History', are believed to have originated from Australia. The first album features most of the Rainbow (London) concert from 18th March 1977. The quality is generally very good. The second album features the 'Rollin' Bolan' TV special from 1976 which included 'I Love To Boogie', 'The Soul Of My Suit' and 'Funky London Childhood' (the early version of 'Visions of Domino').

The photo used on the front cover is from around 1972 and, with Marc wearing a top-hat, appears similar in feel to the front cover picture of 'The Slider'. The photos used on the back cover are from a concert circa late 1973.

Live At The Rainbow 1977 (vinyl album)

For some unknown reason the running order for this bootleg album T Rex Live At The Rainbow is completely wrong. Side 1 of the album starts with the eighth song performed on the night, 'Deborah', and then after a further two songs ('I Love To Boogie' and 'Teen Riot Structure') the album goes back to the first song performed, 'Jeepster'. Side two has 'New York City', 'Soul Of My Suit' and 'Groove A Little' but then omits 'Telegram Sam' and 'Hang Ups' which are clearly labelled on the album. This album gives you the grand sum of 8 songs from the 13 song set performed.

The sound quality is generally very good. The back cover features a charming photo of Marc from the summer of 1977 riding a collapsible shopper bicycle.

Son Of Magical Pouting Panache (vinyl album)

Although the outer cover shows images from the Dandy period this very rare album mainly features material from 1976 along with four live tracks from the 1977 Rainbow concert and a song from the Manchester concert.

Also featured on the album is the set from the TV special 'Rollin' Bolan' (which was recorded in July 1976 and broadcast in August 1976 though the cover incorrectly states November 1976). The cover also lists a set of songs from 'Sunderland Pavillion Hall 8/2/1976', in fact this was Sunderland Empire Theatre and the songs are from the concert on the 15th February 1976.

Whoever produced this bootleg has gone to some lengths to create an aesthetically pleasing cover. The title, 'Son Of Magical Pouting Panache', was taken from the title of an interview with Bolan by Paul Morley which was published in the New Musical Express (19th March 1977) and the front cover image of Marc was simply taken from the full page advert for the 'Dandy In The Underworld' single. The attention to detail follows through to the labels where the T Rex branding and 'Bolan' diamond are reproduced with the album given a matrix number of BLN 7677 (a nice touch of humour!).

CDs and CDrs

Nantes, France 1977, Live (CDr)

This concert was taped by French T Rex fan Pierre Champion on a mono portable cassette recorder at the Club Macumba in Nantes, France on the 3rd February 1977. The sound quality is generally good and the concert is complete. It is worth noting that this is basically the same set, and in the same order, as the UK tour with the exception of two songs which were not performed at this concert ('Debora' and 'Teen Riot Structure'). It is worth noting that of the eleven songs performed that night, six of them are from the 'Dandy In The Underworld' album.

The inner sleeve has a good account of the concert along with Pierre's meeting with the band after the gig.


Paris, France, Live in Paris 1977 (CDr)

This is an extremely rare recording of the Nashville Club gig in Paris on the 11th February 1977 which was taped by French T Rex fan Bernard Pavelek. Like the Nantes recording, this is good quality. Again this is basically the same set as used for the UK concerts, however this time there are three songs which were not performed ('Debora', 'Teen Riot Structure' and 'Dandy In The Underworld').

The inner sleeve has a good account of the evening and Bernard's meeting with the band after the gig. The CD shown is one of only three copies to have been produced. The photos used on the covers are from the Paris gig.


Last American Tour 1977 (CD)

A truly bizarre factory pressed bootleg. Although the CD title is 'Last American Tour 1977' it is actually a recording of London's Rainbow concert (n.b. T Rex's last USA tour was in 1974). The CD cover shows a couple of photos of Marc from 1977, the front cover photo being from a Supersonic performance broadcast on the 2nd April 1977 and the back cover picture is from one of the Dandy (UK) gigs.

Like the much later Edsel released 'Marc Bolan & T Rex Live 1977' CD, this bootleg is missing the last three songs of the set ('Dandy In The Underworld', 'Hot Love' and 'Get It On'). Sound quality is generally very good.


T Rex Live at Portsmouth 1977 - Last Ever UK Concert (CDr)

This CDr fan based release has generally very good sound quality throughout, however, like the recording of the Rainbow concert two days earlier, it is missing songs. The first two songs of the set, 'Jeepster' and 'Visions of Domino', are missing and have been replaced by the first two songs from the Rainbow gig.

The last song on the CD features The Damned performing 'Get It On' with T Rex, though in truth they appear to be very much in the background in the mix. Interestingly, a good quality recording of The Damned set from the same night is available as a bootleg CDr and almost certainly comes from the same source as the T Rex one. Cassette tapes of this concert were widely available through record fairs in the 1980's.

The recording of T Rex live at Portsmouth is the last known taped gig. T Rex's only performance after this gig was a one-off concert at Grona Lund in Stockholm, Sweden on the 24th May 1977. There are no known recordings of this concert.

The quote on the back cover, 'The Church of Bolan', refers to Marc saying, just before the start of 'Telegram Sam', "It's Sunday night, don't forget. The Church of Bolan tonight". The photos used on the cover, although from the Dandy tour, are not from the Portsmouth gig.

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