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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 July 2017
Elton John and Bernie Taupin were so much on top of their game in 1974, that even a mediocre effort (by their own standards) was worth listening to. I have a lot of affection for "Caribou", not least because it was the very first LP that I ever owned. But it's not pure nostalgia that keeps me coming back to this album at various points of my life. Yes it's rough around the edges, yes the songwriting is not as sharp and consistent as the astonishing run of classic albums that preceded it - but I love the charm of this record. And it quite possibly has one of the most underrated and unheard of all John/Taupin classics in "Ticking" (I could write a review of this song alone).

As far as I know (I may be wrong), Caribou was a "contractural obligation" album that was hastily recorded while touring the world, so very little time was dedicated to the making of the record. This shows in the rather patchy production and fairly simplistic writing of most of the songs. But John and Taupin had so much material back then and were so amazingly prolific, that even when they were "treading water" they were good. I also love the loose playing on this album, Dee Murray's bass sounds gorgeous and there seems to be a great deal of fun in the actual performing.
Highlights for me are the two hit singles (The Bitch Is Back and Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me), I've Seen The Saucers (Rocket man part 2?) and the astonishing Ticking. Lyricly, Ticking could have been written in the present day, given the fact that we seem to witness mass shootings so regularly in the U.S. Elton's piano interventions in this piece are quite magnificent and convey the real time story telling superbly, Taupin's lyrics flow effortlessly.

One or two tracks are a bit sloppy (You're So Static for example), but Caribou is a highly underrated album, often overlooked. But to me, this shines out over most of his post 1976 efforts and is one that I will often revisit.

The extended version contains the brilliant Sick City, which was the b-side to Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.
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on 25 March 2013
Very under-rated entry in the Elton and Bernie catalogue. Although there were moments of indulgence and excess here, they didn't dilute the overall quality of the album nearly as much as with the overstretched and flawed masterpiece that preceded it. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is a towering achievement but there is a nagging feel of the kitchen sink and Uncle Tom Cobbly about it. Caribou has a much smaller palette but all the songs are very strong; many of them equal the quality of the pair's finest work, and the dramatic highlight, 'Don't Let The Sun...' is arguably their greatest commercial release. Many of Elton and Bernie's best songs are less well known, tucked away among the more familiar, and several of them are here on Caribou. Its main weakness is perhaps the lack of a coherent, unifying theme and a sense that things were rushed; certainly the album cover was a ghastly mistake, but I also miss the acoustic feel of Elton's earlier work. By the time of this release he was a superstar and the music had moved on. While still writing fantastic songs and lyrics; the production, instrumentation, and vocal delivery had changed; commercial stardust had been sprinkled over it, and the simple and effortless artistry beneath had become slightly obscured. All that said, this really is one of their best works; it has drama, emotion, fun, intelligence, silliness, seriousness and grit, probably all knocked off in a couple of weeks between tours. Just a shame about that cover.
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on 22 January 2015
In the mid 1970's Elton John was at the zenith of his popularity at one time he was responsible for two % of all record sales. This album is from that period, the follow up to 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' it shows the Taupin/John songwriting partnership was at it's most confident. The album contains the wonderful Stones pastiche 'The Bitch Is Back' and one of their most famous ballads 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down' but there are other delights on this album i particularly enjoyed the blues of 'Stinker' and the delightful nonsense song 'Solar Prestige A Gammon', there are also extra tracks including the great version of 'Pinball Wizard' from the film Tommy and the Christmas song 'Step Into Christmas'. So what you have here is a less celebrated Elton John album from when he was at his peak it is highly enjoyable album, if not as celebrated as the album that proceeded it and the two albums that followed it 'Rock Of Westies' and 'Captain Fantastic and The Dirt Brown Cowboy'] and that lack of acclaim makes it something of a hidden gem.
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 1 June 2008
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 January 2018
Listening to this album once again it is easy to be struck with the idea that it’s a rather eccentric, hit and miss affair with too many oddball tracks obscuring the gems that make this collection so good in the first place. Musically, this is a sophisticated affair, the band highly accomplished and Elton is in good voice. So even, the less substantial tracks often have little musical details that surprise and entertain. It is just rather inconsistent, though an album that boasts ‘The Bitch is Back’, ‘Pinky’, ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ and ‘Ticking’ has to be rated at least good. Add in the bonus tracks, ‘Pinball Wizard’ and ‘Cold Highway’ you have a disc worthy of your collection.

As a re-issue this is an example of how it should be done: extensive sleeve notes, lyrics and superb remastering.
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on 2 January 2014
I love Elton I really do but from my point of view of a younger Elton fan this is just abysmal. It seriously lacks the warmth, focus, lyrical sophistication and passion of say Honky Chateau. I respect artists for being adventurous and experimenting but Solar Prestige a Gammon has to be one of the worst things he has ever recorded. It's so cheesy. Pinky is a okay song but one listen is enough. Even the most known song, Don't Let The Sun is a little whiny for my liking,It's by long mile the worst album of his classic period. I would go as far as to say that this is for completionist only! Avoid at all costs.
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on 27 May 2000
Caribou came after Yellow Brick Road and was a bit of a disappointment for many fans, but in retrospect it had soe good tunes. Don't let the Sun go down on me is one, and Grimsby is a good bit of fun. It starts with The Bitch is Back, referring of course to Elton himself. Don't buy it first, but put it on your list cos it's the real man, albeit rather diluted
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on 15 September 2016
Elton John at his best , starts off with The Bitch is Back , then Pinkie , probably the best album track he did that wasn't released as a single , Album moves along superbly , Then Don't Let The Sun Go Down , followed by in my opinion the most poinient song Elton produced about a troubled child who grows up to be a mass gun murderer in the US , Ticking has me with goose bumps every time I listen to the words , sheer class from Elton and extremely moving to listen to , highly reccomend buying this album
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on 12 March 2018
'Caribou' is often seen as a bit of a marking-time record between two classic albums by Elton, and certainly two or three tracks sound pretty hackneyed, but at least half is excellent, notably the two singles and also the lovely 'Pinky', and the sobering 'Ticking' which might have been written in 1974, but reflects a problem that the USA still has nearly half a century later.
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on 24 February 2018
Brilliant , thank you .
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