Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album with much to commend it, 1 Jun 2008
This review is from: Caribou (Audio CD)
Although Caribou suffered to some extent from being the follow-up to Goodbye yellow brick road (how could he follow that?), it's long been an album that I liked and this re-issue strengthens it with the addition of four bonus tracks, two of which were originally released as the A-sides of singles.

Bernie Taupin has admitted that he sometimes writes lyrics that don't necessarily make sense but otherwise sound good, so if you occasionally don't understand them, perhaps you're not meant to. Somnetimes the lyrics read as if they ought to make sense and it's just a case of figuring out what they mean. Whatever, Elton almost invariably manages to set great music to Bernie's lyrics, whether they make sense or not, and so it proves with this album and its bonus tracks.

Altogether, there are four of Elton's classics here beginning with The bitch is back. It was never one of my favorite Elton songs partly because I've never quite understood the lyrics, but the music is great and Dusty Springfield is one of the four backing singers, so it's a great track with which to open the album. To my ears, the outstanding track here is Don't let the sun go down on me, a song in which both the lyrics and the music are brilliant. Here, Toni Tennille and two members of the Beach BNoys were among the four backing singers. Pinball wizard (originally by the Who) was featured in the rock opera Tommy and was originally offered to Rod Stewart (perhaps in part because he had a history bof hits with cover versions) but Rod turned down the chance and eventually the chance came Elton's way. Unlike Rod, Elton rarely records cover versions (if you exclude those that he recorded before he became famous) but he made a superb job of Pinball wizard. The fourth Elton classic here is his Christmas song, Step into Christmas. Generally, I prefer Christmas songs to be kept separate from other music but I don't mind this one being added here, especially as they made it the final track. It is therefore easy to stop the CD early to avoid hearing it at the wrong time of year. Of course, anybody who is interested in Christmas music can find the song easily on a Christmas compilation.

Apart from those four famous songs, there are ten other songs here. Of these, Solar prestige a gammon contains lyrics that definitely do not make sense; I think Bernie may have written them deliberately to see what response the critics would give. There are much better songs here, most notably Grimsby (which paints a rosier picture of the town than you're likely to find elsewhere outside of a tourist guide) and Dixie Lady (a country-flavored song about a riverboat). Indeed, there are plenty of good songs on this album.

While this is not regarded by most people as one of Elton's essential original albums, it remains one of my favorites. Those four bonus tracks furher enhance it.
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