I can't believe no one has put fingers to keyboard yet and written a review for this amazing album,specifically the Deluxe Edition. It comes with a bonus DVD doco and a web-link on the CD to download exclusive tracks online that are not on the album but one of which appears in the lyric book. I highly recommend the Deluxe edition to the standard edition for those two reasons. One of the download tracks "Across The River Thames" is awesome,and part of the Captain and the Kid Story. (post note:Unfortunately the download link is no longer active)
Elton toured Australia in late 2006 on the back of this album and had a good deal to say about it getting no airplay or promotion. Indeed he performed a block of the album's songs (5 or 6 of them if my memory serves me),in the middle of the show preceded by "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" from the original Captain Fantastic. He spoke of the fondness he and Bernie share for that album (as do a lot of his fans) and the reasons for doing a follow up to that autobiographical masterpiece. If you buy the Deluxe edition of the album,it's all explained on the bonus DVD interview. After the show I could hear a number of disgruntled patrons complaining about too much new music and the volume of all things (and I thought I was getting old!). But as Elton said in his monologue before the "Captain and the Kid" block of songs,and I quote,"If we don't play them,how else are you gonna hear them". So he must have known there would be a few out there who only want to hear Candle..,Your Song and Crocodile Rock etc.
But,I digress,just to point out that I think this album slipped under a lot of his fans radar. And for the life of me,I don't know why. It is possibly,in my opinion the best record he's done for quite some time. It leaves Peachtree Road and Songs From The West Coast for dead. I dare anyone to listen to some of these tracks such as "The Bridge and "Blues Never Fade Away" and once you know the story behind the song,be genuinely moved. The lines in "Blues..." that refer to Gianni Versace are so emotive and heartfelt. And the obvious reference in "The Bridge" to the demons in all our lives are some of the best words Taupin has EVER written!
If you are an Elton fan and have not bought this album (shame on you,add it to your cart this instant) you won't be disappointed. Breathtakingly Beautiful.
"We Been Living In A Tinderbox,Two Sparks'll Set The Whole Thing Off..."
on 1 October 2006
Have to agree with the previous reviews.
I'm not much of a fan of Elton's recent work, and much prefer his 70s highlights i.e. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Captain Fantastic.
But the 1st listen of this album was a total surprise. I've played it a lot since release and it gets better and better on each listen.
This album fits snuggly with the best work of his career and is quite brilliant.
on 21 September 2006
It is said that Beatles fan Jeff Lynne produced ELO to sound like the Fab Four. How ironic then that when he got to produce the remaining Beatles in 1996, they ended up sounding like ELO!
The new Elton John album has the same circular referencing going on: here we have a man who has clearly been heavily influenced by Elton John - the only difference between him and Jeff Lynne - is that he actually IS Elton John. So while not quite going so far as to suggest the `new' Elton John is a tribute act to himself, there is a certain DNA that links the early period Reg (1969-1976) with his now, revered, `third period'.
This is, of course to dismiss the intervening 25 years twixt 1976's `Blue Moves' and his 2001 classic `Songs From The West Coast' which most pedigree Elton fans are keen to do. Let's face it - Elton's most creative period was hammocked between Empty Sky and Blue Moves via Tumbleweed Connection, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Captain Fantastic. His post '76 alcohol and drug fuelled ramblings minus Bernie Taupin (for much of the time) along with the anchors of his musical success (namely Davey Johnstone, the late Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson) don't make a great deal of sense to us dyed-in-the-wool Elton aficionados.
However after 25 years knocking about in ramblin' alley, he returned with a stormer - the best track of which `The Boy With The Red Shoes' - was built from the genome of "Madman Across The Water": a brilliant song, instrumentally perfect and lyrically absorbing.
While nothing on this new album quite achieves the heights of that song, "The Captain & The Kid" is still a welcome return to the `Classic Years' with each track bearing direct descendency from a similar musical form or album from the 70's: `Old `67' - the high watermark - is "Tumbleweed Connection" revisited, for example.
It may baulk with many who've discovered Elton John post 1976 that boring old fa**s like me continually bore on about the glory days of the early 70s. However, it is important to remember that Elton's reputation was cemented through a series of brilliantly innovative, musically astounding and lyrically perfect albums delivered between 1970's "Elton John" and the original "Captain Fantastic..." 5 years later.
That is not to say that everything King Elton touched turned to gold. 1974's "Caribou" was a dog, only recovering for the final two tracks: the last of which - "Ticking" - is one of the best songs he's ever written.
But now we are back in the present with a retrospective offering spanning the Elton and Bernie years from 1970 to 2006. It's a high gloss production with an encouraging array of - and I don't say this pejoratively - new songs from old ideas: at last Elton John proves that behind the sexual ambiguous, cocaine and alcohol mask of the 80s and 90s, he still retains the ability to deliver songs that sound a hell of a lot like Elton John. And for that, we should all be grateful!
on 6 September 2006
This new album from Elton John is receiving excellent reviews. Billboard, Q and Mojo have all rated it highly, and Q have rightly stated that the album is Elton's best in 30 years.
'The Captain and The Kid' is the sequel to 1975's 'Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy', which has long been recognised as one of Elton's finest moments. That album told the story of Elton and his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, from their first meeting in 1967 until their arrival in the US in 1970. It was the first album ever to enter the Billboard Chart at Number One, and saw Elton reaching the absolute peak of his popularity, especially in the US.
This album picks up where the first left off, from their arrival in the US, and in only ten tracks brings us up to date with the amazing careers that they both have enjoyed. The lyrics on this album are among the most captivating and inspiring of Taupin's career, and they have certainly inspired Elton to compose some beautiful melodies. Elton's fans are raving about the album, and among the favourite tracks are "Tinderbox", "Blues Never Fade Away", "The Captain and the Kid" and "I Must Have Lost It On The Wind".
Witness and participate in the continuing resurgence in artistic excellence which Elton is enjoying. This album is a treat, and a must have.
on 18 September 2006
I've been looking forward to this album coming out for a long time, and the wait has been worth it. Elton's provided us with a set of 10 incredible songs (12 if you download the two bonus tracks which are only available if you buy the real CD) that are one moment haunting, next moment rocking, one moment classic Elton, next moment shockingly original.
The album flows beautifully, with every song feeling as though it is truly a part of the musical whole. This has upsides and downsides; this isn't really an album you could download a couple of tracks from and still appreciate it the same way, however it is a great album to listen to as a whole. Lyrically, Bernie Taupin demonstrates that he's still on top form with his blend of brutal honesty ("With a rolled-up note I'm hovering on that line | three days on a diet of cocaine and wine | and a little weed just to level me sometime") and subtle wit ("Talking through the evening | sitting here side by side | just you and me on a balcony | it's a little bit funny this feeling inside").
As has been mentioned elsewhere, The Captain & The Kid essentially tells the story of Elton & Bernie's partnership since their rise to fame, and as such it is laced with clever (musical and lyrical) references to their past great achievements, as well as talking very frankly about low points in their time together.
I absolutely recommend this to any Elton fan, and I suggest that anyone who is even mildly interested gives this brilliant album a go.
I've had this album since it came out two years ago and have just started playing it again. These are very strong songs, that hold up to comparison with the classic 70's albums and 'Songs from the West Coast'. Melodically there are some songs here that once heard are very difficult to get out of your brain! 'Tinderbox' is a classic example. In fact its a classic example of the wonderful melodic musical gift that Elton is blessed with. A relatively ordinary verse, though this will also weave its way into your mind as well, followed by a classic chorus that is unbelieveably catchy. My favourite track is 'Old 67', which features a classic Elton Piano lick and great lyrics from Bernie Taupin. This song once heard a few times will also stick in your cranium.
My only criticism is 'The Bridge'. Its a fine song and very well performed but IMO it didn't need the backing choir - Elton and Piano would have done just fine.
For all those people who thought Elton John was past it. You need to think again. This album and 'Songs from the West Coast' (I do not own Peachtree Road yet) are a great return to form. Maybe not quite as good as GYBR or Tumbleweed overall, but close enough to make you realise that the man (and Bernie Taupin) is still blessed with fabulous song-writing talent. Long may it continue.
on 18 January 2007
A complete surprise, even after the critical acclaim for his last two albums. Elegiac, moving, exciting, intelligent, muscular, and a match for the 1970-76 classics, track for track. Not so much a follow-up to `Captain Fantastic' as a career retrospective. After the lost years between `Blue Moves' and `Songs from the West Coast' this, the third album of Elton's triumphant artistic renaissance, is a joy from start to finish, and a heart-warming relief to those who watched the drama queen of pop's decline and fall in the 80s and 90s. The now-limited vocal range and huskier tone is finally used to good effect, creating the impression of an older and wiser artist who may just finally have come to terms with his demons and regained his greatness in the process.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin prove that they remember when `rock and roll' was young. This upbeat, if lamentable set, continues where they left off with "Songs From The Left Coast" and "Peachtree Road". Elton and Bernie spend the album looking back on the good old days thirty years ago, only this time it's more with wiser eyes than truly revisiting that era. Its one of the best collaborations they have had in years.
This really isn't simply a reality trip back to "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy", but it is a loving remembrance to that era of phenomenal success that rode them to the heights of fame and glory. The songs also remember the good and bad times of that time, including some of the less than happy lessons learned along the way. It's an ode to happiness of a forgone era.
Standout cuts are, "Postcards From Richard Nixon", "Just Like Noah's Ark" and "The Captain And The Kid". This is a strong collection full of warm, breezy, rich pop ballads with plenty of rock. One thing that rings true is that Elton John and Bernie Taupin are more interested in producing solid albums rather than `rocket man' singles. This is the maturation of pure songwriting - more of a love letter to days gone by.
on 29 September 2006
Prior to "the Captain & The Kid", the last album of Elton's that I bought on its release date was "Rock of the Westies" back in the mid-70s. That, of course, was the follow up to the brilliant "Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy", which remains one of my all-time favourite albums. Well, I am pleased to say that "The Captain & The Kid" is significantly better than "Rock of the Westies" (not one of Elton`s finer moments)!!
By his own admission, since "Songs From the West Coast", Elton is now producing the sort of music that both he and Bernie Taupin really want to create, rather than be influenced and pushed around by all and sundry. To my ears, that means that the piano sound is not only more prominent in the mix but is also more varied than during other phases of his career, with lots of pure-gem jazzy runs often adorning the arrangements. Elton's solo live appearances have always been showcases for demonstrating his own brilliant talent and the most recent albums, despite being recorded with the band, give the piano the prominence that puts one in mind of those solo performances. Whilst his vocals can nowadays sound somewhat strained in concert, he must have looked after his chords well prior to this recording and he puts in a perfect vocal performance.
2001's "Songs From the West Coast" was a marvellous album which was not quite matched by the follow-up "Peach Tree Rd." but this current album is once again excellent. It hasn't yet displaced "Captain Fantastic..." in my affections but it is getting closer on every listen! There is a pleasant range of styles on offer amongst the ten strong songs that make up the album, from the foot-stomping "Just Like Noah's Ark" and the pacey "And the House Fell Down", to the jazzy "Old 67" , the soulful "Blues Never Fade Away" and the gorgeous, moving "The Bridge". The album closes out with the joyous title track: this opens with an excerpt from the "Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy" title track itself, then runs along with its own great tune at a lilting pace before closing with the same echo of "Captain Fantastic...".
on 19 February 2007
What a great album! As a younger fan of Elton's who wasn't around in the 70's I hate this usual idea that he heasn't written an album of quality since then. Songs from the West Coast was good as was Peachtree Rd but this tops the lot. The highlights are Tinderbox, Blues Never Fade Away, The Bridge and The Captain and the Kid. I would argue that this is better than the original Captain Fantastic album of 1975. It a must have for any music fan.