Saturday, January 15, 2011

Elton John “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” (1975)

Strangely paradoxical how Elton John is now fiercely, almost neurotically, obsessed with protecting his personal life, yet in 1975 released Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy which purported to tell the story of his and Bernie Taupin’s struggle for recognition. Equally interesting, given his sexual ambivalence, is the unspoken story behind such songs as "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" and "We All Fall In Love Sometimes". Interesting as all that is, the most important factor to remember about this album is that it’s an absolute cracker. Everything seems to have come together at the right time to create a near classic. This is Elton's finest backing band. Davey Johnstone, Dee Murray, Nigel Ollson and Ray Cooper may have come and gone throughout his career but there can be no doubting he should have stuck with them. The artwork for the album by Alan Aldridge is superb and certainly one of my favorite covers. And the songs, because of the stories behind them, have power and poignancy. But, I said this is a near classic and that's why reviewing is a personal business. Others may like "Tell Me When The Whistle Blows" and "(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket", I don't and that's were the album falls down. Still, the Captain and the Cowboy done good. –Ben

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