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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful album
This really is one of Elton's finest albums. The beautiful 'Tiny Dancer'opens the album, full of superb orchestrations. It's good to see that this timeless classic is featured on the new 'Greatest Hits 1970-2002' compilation. The title track is also a masterpiece, (hear an early version on the remastered 'Tumbleweed Connection') as is the rarely mentioned 'Indian...
Published on 29 Jan 2003

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars early ELTON JOHN
first purchased in 1972 as a venal L P thought it was good then and ok for playing in car.
Published 7 months ago by G. REID


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful album, 29 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Madman Across The Water (Audio CD)
This really is one of Elton's finest albums. The beautiful 'Tiny Dancer'opens the album, full of superb orchestrations. It's good to see that this timeless classic is featured on the new 'Greatest Hits 1970-2002' compilation. The title track is also a masterpiece, (hear an early version on the remastered 'Tumbleweed Connection') as is the rarely mentioned 'Indian Sunset'.
This is no pop album, but if you like classic rock with a touch of blues and some classical touches, this is a must.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When quality songwriting existed, 28 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Madman Across The Water (Audio CD)
One of Elton's finest works. It contains some of the best lyrics Taupin ever produced, and they were crafted by Elton into musical gems not crass commercial pop music.
'Tiny Dancer' is a wonderful tribute to Bernie's then wife, Maxine. A song so simple and beautiful that it will stay forever as one of Elton's very best.
This is not a pop album, but it's far better than the more successful albums that followed, though maybe not always easy to listen to.
Not until 'Blue Moves' would Elton and Bernie write such beautiful music.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Sixth Album, 3 May 2007
By 
Martin A Hogan "Marty From SF" (San Francisco Bay Area) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Elton John and Bernie Taupin had five albums under their belt before, "Madman Across The Water" and this proved to only solidify their immense talent. Of course, the huge hits, "Levon" and "Tiny Dancer" grace this album, but all the songs carry a strong sense of pop/rock with a minimum of perfect orchestration. After this album, Elton John pushed his style in slightly different directions, but returned to this original fashion with albums like, "Songs From The West Coast" and "Peachtree Road". This album has always been a classic and in SACD format, the sound is absolutely brilliant!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly one of the greatest albums of all time!!!!, 13 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Madman Across The Water (Audio CD)
Being born in 1976 I have to give credit to my Dad for getting me in to Elton John although it was somewhat subliminal as it was played a lot through my childhood during the late seventies and early eighties. However I picked up this little gem one day when I was around 17, 1993, I had never actually heard it. Dad had it on vinyl but I don’t recall him ever playing it, but for some reason it really grew on me. It got me through some bad times, and when I listen to it now it brings back warm memories of my teen years. It is defiantly one of the best albums I have ever heard, touching, magical, warm, and dramatic and an absolute masterpiece. Possibly one of Elton’s finest works of music, although for some reason it is less well known? There is not one song on this album that I don’t like, right from the melodious "Tiny dancer" (which I recently had played on piano at my wedding) to the melodramatic “Indian Sunset", “Levon” and “Razorface” It just has to be listened form beginning to end! If you like Elton just buy this album, you will not be disappointed!!!
Thanks Elton for some warm memories, oh and my Dad:)x
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sets the scene for the next step........., 11 April 2005
This review is from: Madman Across The Water (Audio CD)
Madman across the Water is one of my favourite Elton John albums...... and I've got a good few. It was released at a time when Elton was just starting to be an "international" phenomenon (rather than a one hit wonder) and at a time when his personality (and possibly/probably ego)played second fiddle to the music (no pun intended).
However, it shows Elton and the production team, playing with new-found ideas, (and probably finance) experimenting with orchestration on most of the tracks, and generally looking to produce something that was recognisable as Elton John, but sufficiently different to the previous two albums as to be interesting.
The result is an album of tracks which are instantly recognisable as Elton John, but not the tracks that are played constantly as "Elton in his heyday"!
Ranging from intensely personal (Tiny Dancer) to bizarrely abstract (Indian Sunset, considering the artist)the lyrics and the music withstand the test of time well, and if the new remasters lack the crackles and clicks of my old vinyl copy, then the character and atmosphere of the music, particularly Indian Sunset and Madman, more than make up for the loss.
A must for afficionados of Elton John, and a definite must for music lovers.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last of an indispensable trilogy of orchestrated albums, 10 Aug 2001
By 
Pete Walker (Church Stretton, Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Madman Across The Water (Audio CD)
'Madman across the water', issued in late 1971, is the third and last of the series of three highly orchestrated, dramatic albums produced by Elton John just as his career was taking off in America and before he became well known in Britain. The black 'Elton John' album established him as a major talent and this reputation was consolidated and developed in 'Tumbleweed connection' with its many references to the American 'wild west'. 'Madman' sees Elton consolidating his musical identity, as established in the previous two albums, rather than developing it in new directions, and if it has a theme it is more one of contemporary, rather than 19th century, America. Several songs relate to characters in modern urban settings, and there are two about Elton's recent experiences of life on the road as a musician. By contrast, however, 'Indian sunset' returns to the theme of the 'frontier', whilst the brief closing track contains almost biblical poetic references.
The musical style throughout the record is the archetypal early-period Elton - medium tempo, with piano, bass and drums as the principal instruments, and Paul Buckmaster's grandiose string arrangements very prominent. It could be argued that there is too little variety of style, but the songs are distinctive enough to hold their own, and this very consistency of sound demonstrates Elton and Bernie Taupin's wish to be true to their musical vision and not to compromise for the sake of commercial success. No doubt their work on the early recordings such as 'Madman' established the basis (particularly in America) for their subsequent commercial success, although on the albums following 'Madman' the musical style changed somewhat, with the establishment of the regular four-piece Elton John Band, the more prominent use of Davey Johnstone's guitar work, and the reduction in orchestration.
Its complete lack of British hit singles might lead the uninitiated to regard 'Madman' as an obscure, insignificant album, but it is in fact indispensable for EJ aficionados. The recognized classics on this album include the title song, 'Tiny dancer', 'Levon' and 'Indian sunset', but another track of particular interest is 'Holiday Inn', which is characterized by the unusual combination of mandolin and sitar alongside the more conventional instruments. And after the energy and complexity of the songs preceding it, the simple, reflective 'Goodbye' is a very apt way to end the album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still my runaway choice for the best early Elton John album, 23 Feb 2005
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
When I was going through my 1000+ CDs to look for ideas for the Music unit of the Popular Culture class I teach, I have come to the conclusion that "Madman Across the Water" was a seminal album in my life. I seriously started listening to FM radio in the early Seventies because that was the only place to hear "Levon," which was my favorite song for about half a year (I believe it was replaced by "Knife's Edge" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer). Consequently, the shift in my musical appreciation from Top Forty to more sophisticated musical forms can be traced to this particular song Elton John song and this special album.
Of course, once I had enough loose change I bought the album and promptly proceeded to play the first side about five times as often as I flipped it over and played side two; having the CD means I tend to listen to the whole thing all the way through. I would argue that "Tiny Dancer," "Levon," "Razor Face," and "Madman Across the Water" equals the best side of any Elton John record. I also used the title track as part of a poetry unit for English class (ah, those liberal days of yore). The movie "Almost Famous" has made "Tiny Dancer" popular again, but anybody who listens to this CD is going to find out there are some other great songs too. In addition to John's music and Bernie Taupin's lyrics, I think credit has to be given to Paul Buckmaster, whose sweeping string arrangements never worked better in giving John's songs color and depth. "Madman Acros the Water" is Elton John's darkest album, although it is more a sense of brooding and forboding rather than anger.
"Madman Across the Water" made it to #8 on the Billboard album chart. Since most of the songs were five minutes or longer, this was really the last Elton John album before he started turning out a string of Top 40 hits. But the best albums on any Elton John album were almost always the songs you never heard on AM radio. Ironically, given its place in my musical history, "Levon" made its way onto the third volume of Elton John's greatest hits collection even though it only made it to #24 on the single charts in 1972 ("Tiny Dancer" made it to only #41). Just another example of the cherished memories of our youth turning out to be phantasms when seen in the harsh light of day (or commercial music industry interests).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the nightmare black or are the windows painted?, 27 Nov 2008
This review is from: Madman Across The Water (Audio CD)
1969-71 was a prolific period for Elton John as an albums artist - in just 3 years he produced 4 studio albums, plus a film soundtrack and a live album, while managing just one hit single, the ubiquitous 'Your Song'. The tone of these early albums was often downbeat, but 'Madman Across The Water' shows Elton's music at its darkest, and makes a fitting end to the first phase of his career. Originally housed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve with booklet, it provides a good snapshot of the directions rock music was taking in 1971 - Elton at this point coming across as an introspective singer-songwriter with leanings towards progressive rock. As with 'Tumbleweed Connection' no UK singles were taken from the album, although the first two songs, 'Tiny Dancer' and 'Levon', were both released as 45s in the US. 'Tiny Dancer' has gradually become one of Elton's best known songs, thanks to its inclusion in the film 'Almost Famous', and it makes for a superb opening track, with a soaring chorus, sweeping strings from Paul Buckmaster, and gorgeous pedal steel from B.J. Cole. The latter is just one of an impressive array of session musicians featured on `Madman', including Rick Wakeman, Chris Spedding, Herbie Flowers and Terry Cox. Robert Kirby, best known for his string arrangements for Nick Drake, directs the Cantores in Ecclesia Choir. Two epic songs make up the centre of the album: the title track is an intense exploration of paranoia, with Wakeman on organ, Diana Lewis on buzzing A.R.P. synthesizer, and Buckmaster providing dark swirling strings. Bernie Taupin's lyrics are cryptic and intriguing. 'Indian Sunset' is a vocal tour-de-force, sung from the point of view of a native American, again benefitting from a dramatic orchestral arrangement. Some lines from this song bizarrely ended up being sampled on a Tupac single (`Ghetto Gospel') which removed much of the impact of the lyrics (particularly closing line `Peace to this young warrior comes with a bullet hole') by cutting and re-ordering them. Elton's gospel influences are put through the blender on `Levon' and `Rotten Peaches', both of which have a faintly sacreligious twist to the lyrics. `All The Nasties' is a bitter response to criticism, with the Cantores in Ecclesia Choir providing strangely unsettling background vocals. The lightest moment is provided by the country/folk flavoured `Holiday Inn', with a delightful mandolin coda from Magna Carta's Davey Johnson, soon to become a permanent member of Elton's band. After eight lengthy, heavily arranged songs comes `Goodbye', a brief and haunting closing track which provides a perfect conclusion to the album itself as well as Elton's pre-glam era. The lack of bonus tracks means that the desolate mood left by the repeated final lyric `I'll waste away...' remains unspoiled. Next up was `Rocket Man' and `Honky Cat' and the start of a spectacular run of hits in both the albums and singles charts. This single disc version presents an excellent remaster of a dark but rewarding album, with its original booklet reproduced in full. It may be worth waiting, however, for the 2-disc deluxe edition which will hopefully be with us soon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This, 27 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Madman Across The Water (Audio CD)
It's not pop Elton John - so don't expect that. This is from the first phase, when music was the most important. The original album had a marvellous feel, a textured cover and loads of pages of lyrics, photos etc, just like Tumbleweed. This Album is marvellous, and still great even after 30 years. Levon amd Tiny dancer set the mood, Holiday Inn and Indian sunset are FANTASTIC. This man is not the 21st Century Elton John, but rather a man whose music meant something to him
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dam good, 9 May 2007
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Madman Across The Water (Audio CD)
This is a very under-rated album in the Elton John cannon. OK it probably isn't as good as Honky Chateau or Tumbleweed Connection, but I suspect that its more to do with the lack of a successful single than the quality of the songs on the album. With the exception of the very short "Goodbye" (1:48) only one other track (Razor face 4:40) is under 5 minutes in length. So unless they edited the songs there was no chance of a single from this album.

The album was recorded in 1971 and kicks of with "Tiny Dancer". Its a great opening track, but its beaten by track 2 "Levon". This has one of Eltons patented Piano introductions, a great lyric and arrangement and is one of Eltons greatest tracks never to be released as a single. Full credit should also be given to Paul Buckmasters great string arrangements on this track and many of the others well.

Careful reading of the credits to this album will reveal many well known musicians playing on this album. For example a number of tracks have Rick Wakeman playing Organ and Ray Cooper makes one of his earliest appearances on an Elton John album on "All the Nasties".

I've been playing this album for 30 years or more now and its well worth getting.
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