Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboyby Elton John
Sitting atop the charts in 1975, Elton John and Bernie Taupin recalled their rise to power in Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, their first explicitly conceptual effort since Tumbleweed Connection. It's no coincidence that it's their best album since then, showcasing each at the peak/i>/i>/a>… See more details below
Sitting atop the charts in 1975, Elton John and Bernie Taupin recalled their rise to power in Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, their first explicitly conceptual effort since Tumbleweed Connection. It's no coincidence that it's their best album since then, showcasing each at the peak of his power, as John crafts supple, elastic, versatile pop and Taupin's inscrutable wordplay is evocative, even moving. What's best about the record is that it works best of a piece -- although it entered the charts at number one, this only had one huge hit in "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," which sounds even better here, since it tidily fits into the musical and lyrical themes. And although the musical skill on display here is dazzling, as it bounces between country and hard rock within the same song, this is certainly a grower. The album needs time to reveal its treasures, but once it does, it rivals Tumbleweed in terms of sheer consistency and eclipses it in scope, capturing John and Taupin at a pinnacle. They collapsed in hubris and excess not long afterward -- Rock of the Westies, which followed just months later is as scattered as this is focused -- but this remains a testament to the strengths of their creative partnership.
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Performance CreditsElton John Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Piano,Strings,Harpsichord,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Vocals,Clavinet,Ensemble,Mellotron,ARP,Vocal Harmony
John Lennon Guitar
Davey Johnstone Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Ray Cooper Percussion,Bongos,Conga,Cymbals,Gong,Jew's Harp,Tambourine,Triangle,Bells,Shaker,Jawbone,Handbells,Bell-tree
David Hentschel Synthesizer,Keyboards,ARP
Dee Murray Bass,Bass Guitar,Background Vocals
Nigel Olsson Drums,Background Vocals
Technical CreditsElton John String Ensemble
Gene Page Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Gus Dudgeon Producer,Remixing,Audio Production
Phil Dunne Remixing
Greg Penny Producer
Bernie Taupin Art Direction,Graphic Conception
Jeff Guercio Engineer
John Tobler Liner Notes
David Larkham Art Direction,Graphic Conception
Alan Aldridge Illustrations,Cover Design
Harry Willock Illustrations,Cover Design
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Album cover is a piece of art and "bitter fingers" is amazing!
After 1974's dissappointing release "Caribou", Elton John got his musical career back on track with the autobiographical 1975 release "Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy". Although it became the first album in Billboard chart history ever to go straight to number one, it was Elton's least commercial album. Instead it was a musical autobiographical album based on his writing career with lyricist Bernie Taupin. And the results were astounding. While most people will buy the album for the classic "Someone Saved My Life Tonight", "Bitter Fingers", "Writing", "Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy" and the Victorian "Better Off Dead" are all better songs. "We All Fall In Love Sometimes" is another one of the duo's heartmelting ballads, while "Curtains" is a 6-minute chiller. This is fatastic song. When I first heard "Curtains", it was so scary I felt the air around me grow cold. This the album that you should buy by Elton John
Isn't it interesting- with a few exceptions, the first songs in Elton John's early albums are always the most artistically successful. Consider "Your Song", "Honky Cat", "Daniel", "Funeral for a Friend", and now, "Captain Fantastic". It is, in my view, the best song on this LP. Were it not for the bonus tracks, however, this album would be dominated by the first several songs- those after "Meal Ticket" leave a lot to be desired.
This really is the perfect CD. All of the songs are beautiful and inspirational. A magical collection of music. Good job Elton.
Elton John will go down in history as one of the greatest musical figures of all time. This cd is proof for that assertion. "Captain Fantastic...," "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," "We All Fall in Love Sometimes," and the rest are testaments to his greatness.
This particular Elton John album is labeled an autobiography and concept album. Reading the lyrics makes you wonder what was going on in Bernie Taupins mind when he gave them to Elton John to set music to them. You don't learn anything constructive about the early years except "someone saved my life tonight." When reading the lyric book, think "nilism" and you'll see what I mean. Frankly I think that some of these songs were a poor choice and should not have been included at all. It's a wonder that Sir Elton found a way to put life into certain tunes.
After the 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' album it was all down hill for John/Taupin. Captain Fantastic has some key songs on it (and the bonus tracks on this CD make it better than the original) but there is a real loss of quality here in music and lyrics. Although Elton John concerts remained a hot ticket for some time to come, with John/Taupin releasing to many lesser albums far to fast and far to close together, their work (starting in the last half of the seventies) became best suited for greatest hits albums as fans began to avoid all the fluff that turned a great team into just another radio band. Captain Fantastic is not a bad album, it is still worth owning, but it certainly marked the end of the best years for John & Taupin.