Although a confirmed fan of Elton's work in its first, and probably best, phase (1970 - 76) this has never been one of my favourite EJ albums. Issued in 1972, it marked the transition from the moody, heavily orchestrated music of 'Madman across the water' to the very commercial 'Don't shoot me....' from early 1973, and was the first album featuring the quartet of Elton, Davey Johnstone, Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson (with occasional guest appearances) throughout. Whilst 'Honky chateau' contains two quite excellent singles 'Honky cat' and 'Rocket man' (the latter one of my most favourite Elton songs), I have never felt that the rest of it matched the standard set by these two tracks. This may be due less to the actual songs as to the arrangements, which are very sparse compared with the preceding 'trilogy' of albums lavishly orchestrated by Paul Buckmaster, and have not yet developed into the polished pop-rock of the 'Goodbye yellow brick road' era. With the exception of the synthesizers in 'Rocket man', no orchestration is used on this album, and the electric violin soloing of the then-trendy Jean-Luc Ponty on some tracks I find quite jarring. Generally the mood of the songs is more upbeat than in the previous albums (witness the use of tap dancing on the ironically cheery 'I think I'm going to kill myself'), and for the above reasons 'Honky chateau' appeals to me somewhat less than Elton's more sombre work. The punky alternate take of 'Slave' which has been included in this reissue is of only passing interest and contributes nothing of value to the original album. However, notwithstanding the above comments, I would not wish to devalue this album, as almost all of Elton's early work is of very high quality and streets ahead of most British pop at the time.