(This is part 2 of the review. It discusses the remastered version. The original LP is dealt with in Part 1.)
All the “classic” Elton John albums were re-released in the mid 90s, remastered and with some bonus tracks to offer fans an incentive that would justify the purchase, as well as giving both fans and newcomers a sort of parallel overview of the songs that were released concomitantly yet left off each particular album.
The “Elton John” album is considered one of the best bonus-tracked releases along with the “Captain Fantastic” reissue. It includes three additional tracks: the b-side to “Border Song”, and a single of its own (Rock & Roll Madonna/Grey Seal). Of course, the name Grey Seal rings an immediate bell as the song was to be recorded anew with Elton’s classic band for the successful “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album in 1973. The consensus is that the later-day version is more cohesive, yet this early take has historic value since it stands as Elton’s recorded debut on electric piano. Continue reading →
Elton’s rise to fame was not that immediate as many often think. He had been covering other people’s songs for some time, not to mention being a paid songwriter along with Bernie for longer than was fulfilling. His first solo album went unheeded, despite oozing enthusiasm from every fiber.
If anything, his career was a matter of different pieces falling into position – his lyricist, his producer, his arranger and finally his classic band. On this, his second album (and the one that broke the commercial apathy) we see the addition of two of these figures, namely producer Gus Dudgeon and orchestral arranger Paul Buckmaster. They all had some heavy names on their resumes such as David Bowie and Eric Clapton, and the moment they agreed to work with Elton anything he would put out was to be digested differently, because their experience was to be felt in the final product . Continue reading →