[Review] Tyrannosaurus Rex: Prophets, Seers & Sages The Angels of The Ages (1968)

The pair returned to the studio for a second album so quickly that the bongoes were still warm from their last recording session.

Kronomyth 2.0: Twee for two.

The first ‘Rex record was a rushed affair, so producer Tony Visconti made a point of giving Bolan and Took more takes on the second, Prophets, Seers & Sage The Angels of the Ages. Only four months had elapsed since the first record, so the material on Prophets is understandably underdone; fourteen new songs in four months produces a fair amount of filler (“The Friends”), fragments (“Our Wonderful Brownskin Man”) and poems with only minimal musical accompaniment (“Juniper Suction”). The album does have a certain stately sonic presence though. Bolan and Took strike a better balance in their contributions; the possessed bongo-playing on “Deboraadored” and “Salamanda Palaganda,” the driving beats of “Conesuala” and the pixiephone on “The Travelling Tragition” are integral to the success of those songs. Visconti also plays more of a role in shaping the music, whether it’s playing “Debora” backwards (thus the palindromic title) or giving the backing vocals on “Wind Quartets” a breezy quality.

So is Prophets an ostensibly better record than the first? No, not really. They’re both precious, mystical moondances to dead gods and childish dreams featuring unicorns, harlequins and Bolan’s pixilated prose and poetry. The first record had felt like Bolan brought into the studio for an intimate “live” concert, which in effect it was. Prophets is a professional snapshot of Bolan at the same stage of creative development but better dressed, even if some of the clothes have their seams showing on close inspection. Over the years, Prophets, Seers & Sages has been expanded and engorged with additional takes, few of which (I imagine) add to the man’s legend, though they may extend the pleasure of inhabiting Bolan’s faerie world for a mere thirty minutes.

Read more Tyrannosaurus Rex reviews

Original LP Version

A1. Deboraarobed
A2. Stacey Grove
A3. Wind Quartets
A4. Conesuala
A5. Trelawny Lawn
A6. Aznageel The Mage
A7. The Friends
B1. Salamanda Palaganda
B2. Our Wonderful Brownskin Man
B3. Oh Harley (The Saltimbanques)
B4. Eastern Spell
B5. The Travelling Tragition
B6. Juniper Suction
B7. Scenescof Dynasty

All songs written by Marc Bolan.

Expanded Edition CD bonus tracks (2004)
15. One Inch Rock
16. Nickelodeon (take 1)
17. Wind Quartets (take 1)
18. Conesuala (take 9)
19. Trelawny Lawn (take 1)
20. Aznageel The Mage (take 1)
21. Salamanda Palaganda (take 4)
22. Our Wonderful Brownskin Man (take 2)
23. O Harley (The Saltimbanques) (take 4)
24. Eastern Spell (take 4)
25. The Travelling Tragition (take 2)
26. Juniper Suction (take 4)
27. Scenescof Dynasty (take 4)
28. One Inch Rock (take 3)

2LP Limited Edition bonus tracks – record two (2014)
C1. Deborah (take 2)
C2. Stacey Grove (take 2)
C3. Wind Quartets (take 2)
C4. Conesuala (take 3)
C5. Trelawny Lawn (take 3)
C6. Aznageel the Mage (take 3)
C7. The Friends (take 5)
C8. Salamanda Palaganda (take 4)
D1. Our Wonderful Brownskin Man (take 7)
D2. Oh Harley (The Saltimbanques) (take 5)
D3. Eastern Spell (take 12)
D4. The Travelling Tragition (take 1)
D5. Juniper Suction (take 1)
D6. Scenescof Dynasty (takes 3 & 4)
D7. Nickelodeon (take 5)
D8. One Inch Rock (take 5)
D9. Wind Quartets (bbc live)

2CD Deluxe Edition reissue (2015)
Disc One                   
1. Deboraarobed
2. Stacey Grove
3. Wind Quartets
4. Conesuala
5. Trelawny Lawn
6. Aznageel the Mage
7. The Friends
8. Salamanda Palaganda
9. Our Wonderful Brownskin Man
10. Oh Harley (The Saltimbanques)
11. Eastern Spell
12. The Travelling Tragition
13. Juniper Suction
14. Scenescof Dynasty
15. One Inch Rock
16. Nickelodeon (take 1)
17. Stacey Grove (bbc live)
18. One Inch Rock (bbc live)
19. Salamanda Palaganda (bbc live)
20. Eastern Spell (bbc live)
21. Wind Quartets (bbc live)
22. Juniper Suction – Poem (bbc live)
23. Juniper Suction (bbc live)
24. Top Gear – Jingle (bbc live)
25. Conesuala (bbc live)
26. The Travelling Tragition (bbc live)

Disc Two
1. Deborah (take 2)
2. Stacey Grove (take 2)
3. Wind Quartets (take 2)
4. Conesuala (take 3)
5. Trelawny Lawn (take 3)
6. Aznageel the Mage (take 3)
7. The Friends (take 5)
8. Salamanda Palaganda (take 4)
9. Our Wonderful Brownskin Man (take 7)
10. Oh Harley (The Saltimbanques) (take 5)
11. Eastern Spell (take 12)
12. The Travelling Tragition (take 1)
13. Juniper Suction (take 1)
14. Scenescof Dynasty (takes 3 & 4)
15. Nickelodeon (take 5)
16. One Inch Rock (take 5)
17. Wind Quartets (take 1)
18. Conesuala (take 4)
19. Trelawny Lawn (take 1)
20. Aznageel The Mage (take 1)
21. The Friends (take 3)
22. Salamanda Palaganda (take 3)
23. Our Wonderful Brownskin Man (take 6)
24. Oh Harley (The Saltimbanques) (take 2)
25. Eastern Spell (take 2)
26. The Travelling Tragition (take 2)
27. Juniper Suction (take 3)
28. Nickelodeon (take 6)
29. One Inch Rock (take 4)
30. Conesuala (take 3)

The Players

Marc Bolan (vocals, guitar), Steve Peregrin Took (bongos, vocals, African talking drums, assorted percussion, kazoo, pixiephone and Chinese gong). Produced by Tony Visconti; engineered by Malcolm Toft.

The Pictures

Photographs by Pete Sanders.

The Plastic

Released on mono and stereo elpee on October 14, 1968 in the UK (Regal Zonophone, LRZ/SLRZ 1005) with lyrics insert.

  1. Re-packaged with My People Were Fair… on 2-for-1 2LP in 1972 in the UK (Fly, TOOFA 3/4) and South Africa (Cube, 2LP 2635 001) with gatefold cover.
  2. Re-issued on elpee and cassette in the UK (Sierra, FEDB/CFEDB 5022) [Replay series].
  3. Re-packaged with My People Were Fair… on 2-for-1 2LP and compact disc in 1988 in the UK and France (Castle, TFO 6/1-2).
  4. Re-issued on compact disc on April 21, 1989 in Japan (Teichiku, 20CP-9).
  5. Re-issued on compact disc on May 21, 1993 in Japan (Teichiku, OOCP-1502).
  6. Re-issued on compact disc on October 20, 1996 in Japan (Teichiku, TECX-18813).
  7. Released on compact disc in 1999 (A&M, 541 010-2).
  8. Re-packaged with Futuristic Dragon on 2-for-1 compact disc in Russia (CD Maximum, CDM 0900-512).
  9. Re-released on expanded, remastered Expanded Edition compact disc in 2004 in Europe (A&M, 982 251-0) and Japan (A&M, UICY-9494) with 14 bonus tracks.
  10. Re-released on 200g vinyl on October 10, 2007 in Japan (Universal, UIJY-9034).
  11. Re-released on expanded, remastered 2LP in 2014 in the Netherlands (A&M, 535 383-2) with 17 bonus tracks.
  12. Re-released on expanded, remastered 2CD Deluxe Edition on January 26, 2015 (Polydor) with 42 bonus tracks.

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