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Weekend Reissue Roundup

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Dead Kennedys: fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (1980)   Elton John: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy [Deluxe Edition] (1975-2005)   Peter Frampton: Breaking All The Rules (1981)   The Fool: The Fool (1969)

Artist: Title (label, release date) 1-5 stars

Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (Manifesto, September 13, 2005) *****
Elton John: Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy [Deluxe Edition] (Island, September 13, 2005) ****
Peter Frampton: Breaking All The Rules (Lemon, September 13, 2005) ***
The Fool: The Fool (Rev-Ola, September 13, 2005) ***

Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
Dead Kennedys: fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (1980)
Dead Kennedys, from San Francisco, were for a very brief time America’s premiere hardcore punk band, and put to rest the always-erroneous notion that San Francisco was only for hippies. They were nothing if not controversial; even many punk fans hated them, let alone mainstream music fans. However, they also had a fervent core audience, and their lone masterpiece, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, remains a classic that ultimately influenced a lot of bands in its wake. Formed in 1978 when vocalist Jello Biafra and bassist Klaus Flouride answered an ad placed by guitarist East Bay Ray (drummer Ted joined up shortly after), the band’s debut was Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, released on I.R.S. in 1980. Fresh Fruit really was unlike any other album before it. Jello Biafra’s strange, almost cartoon vibrato combined with speedy proto-skatepunk to create an unrelenting barrage of left wing polemics, delivered with conviction and a sense of humor. Their targets were sometimes obvious; “Kill The Poor” and “Let’s Lynch The Landlord” were class-warfare anthems, “Chemical Warfare” and “Holiday In Cambodia” were antiwar epics, “Stealing People’s Mail” and “Funland At The Beach” odes to adolescent mischief, “Police Truck” (left off later pressings of the album, including this one) a particularly violent indictment of police brutality, and “Viva Las Vegas”, an ironic tongue-in-cheek Elvis cover as album closer. The lyrics, for the most part, are in-your-face but often display intelligence and wit. The music borrows cues from surf-rock and rockabilly and is consistent and engaging. Biafra’s voice might not be for everyone, the politics are dated in places (although they hold up pretty well, overall), and the production is pretty thin, depriving the bass of some of its power. But it is a landmark album, easily one of the most listenable hardcore punk albums, and probably should be considered one of the essential albums of its era. Dead Kennedys broke up in 1987, after a costly prosecution for obscenity (for an H.R. Giger poster included in the album Frankenchrist) and a feud between Biafra and the band.

Elton John: Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy [Deluxe Edition] Elton John: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy [Deluxe Edition] (1975-2005)

On the other side of the spectrum, we have pop/soft-rock megastar Elton John. Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy represented the pinnacle of his popularity in the early 70’s, debuting on the charts at #1 in 1975. A very loosely conceptual album full of references to lyricist Bernie Taupin’s favorite topic, the American West, coupled with sami-autobiographical observations about the duo, the album yielded only one mega-hit, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, and actually was considered something of a disappointment by the millions who bought it unheard upon its release. Time has been kind to it; over the years critics have softened their attitudes towards it (and their attitudes towards Elton John himself), and it is now generally regarded as one of his better, most realized efforts. There are indeed some good hidden songs on here; most notable is “(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket”, one of John’s hardest rockers ever, “Tower of Babel” and the title cut are also primo vintage Elton John. The rest is still patchy, although fans of his earlier Tumbleweed Connection should find this album a nice compliment. This re-issue is the one to get if you’re an Elton John fanatic; in addition to the original album, the package includes some key non-album A and B sides (“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, John Lennon’s “One Day At A Time”, “Philadelphia Freedom”, and “House Of Cards”), plus an entire disc of Captain Fantastic recorded live at Wembley in 1975 (with “Pinball Wizard” and “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” as encores). The concert material breathes life into some of the stiffer numbers from the album, and is a revelation; it might’ve made a nice stand-alone release as well. The original album inserts have been restored, and there are brand new liner notes by Paul Gambaccini, with commentary from John and Taupin. A magnificent package for Elton John fans, although non-fans may find this to be a little too much.

Peter Frampton: Breaking All The Rules
Peter Frampton: Breaking All The Rules (1981)
Lemon records digs up this often hard-to-find 1981 effort from Peter Frampton, recorded after he had tumbled all the way from the top of the arena rock mountain to the gutter in little more than two years. It’s hard to figure what killed Frampton’s career so fast; Frampton Comes Alive!, from 1976, was one of the biggest selling albums in history, and while his 1978 appearance with the Bee Gees in the ill-conceived film dud Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was an embarrassment, and his 1978 album I’m In You suffered from weak material and an overly pop approach, one would think that he’d have had enough of a fan base to sustain him for a few more years at least. He didn’t; the album peaked at #43, and Frampton never saw the top-40 again. As the title implies, Frampton was trying to step away from his nice-guy image with this release, and he pursues a grittier, harder-rock sound than he had on previous efforts. The title track is a good hard-rock number, even as it cops its essential lick from the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch”, and there’s nothing really sappy here (although “Lost A Part of You” comes close); it’s all arena-friendly rock. The problem lies in arena rock itself; far from actually breaking rules, Frampton plays it so safe it almost sounds like he was following a recipe from a cookbook (“a little guitar flash here, a dash of anthemic chorus there”). Co-producer David Kershenbaum (who later worked with Tracy Chapman) does get a beefier sound from Frampton, and Frampton himself plays well. Notable is a cover of the Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind”, an odd change of direction. As Frampton albums go, it’s pretty good, but non-fans will remain utterly unswayed.

The Fool: The Fool
The Fool: The Fool (1969)
From the obscurities chest, we have an item of some interest to super-hardcore Beatles fans, and super-hardcore fans of vintage hippie whimsy. The Fool were a Dutch group of designers and multimedia artists whose best known work was painting the Beatles’ Apple Boutique on Saville Row in bright psychedelic colors that contrasted with the stolid gray facades that surrounded it. They also painted John Lennon’s famous psychedelic Rolls Royce, designed clothing for George Harrison’s girlfriend and future wife Patti Boyd (later of “Layla” fame) and designed album covers for Incredible String Band, The Move, and The Hollies. In 1969, they recorded their lone album, with Graham Nash (of all people) producing. It’s pure period piece; a shambling, loose, amateurish quasi-folk hippie album, originally released on Mercury. None of it is great music, although it is an interesting curio; “Rainbow Man” sounds like psychedelic Bo Diddley, “Keep On Pushing” gets a nice bagpipe solo, “Reincarnation” has eerie choral vocals, elsewhere there are hints of raga-rock, stoned soul, and trance inducing harmonic hippie-chick singing from Marijke Kooer and Josje Leeger. They never recorded a follow-up, and their name has only stayed alive among Beatles collectors of arcana. So Beatles maniacs, get out your wallets; here is that legendary album you heard about but could never find. It’s likeable, as an artifact of its day.

Also newly reissued:

Martin Denny, Exotica Vol. 1 on Rev-Ola; King Crimson, Beat and Lark’s Tongue In Aspic on Discipline; Ray Manzarek’s 1974 solo album The Whole Thing Started With Rock & Roll Now It’s out of Control on Lemon; Nuns’ Nuns on Get Back Italy; Sonic Youth’s Goo [Deluxe Edition] (with 20 bonus tracks!) on Geffen; and Soup Dragons’ Hang-Ten! and This Is Our Art on Wounded Bird.

Weekend Reissue Roundup is a weekly feature.

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About uao

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Amusing not:

    I don’t know if the “Ads by Gooogle” change, or if they are the same for everyone.

    They are selected automatically, depending on keywords. “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” resulted in these ads for me:

    FRESH FRUIT
    Fresh Fruit & More! 200,000 Stores! Deals. Reviews.

    CANNING VEGETABLES
    Canning vegetables online. ShopTarget.com

    WOnder what all the grannies at the fruits/vegetables stands on the internet will think of the Jello Biafra fans who click in…

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    I meant “Amusing Note” not “Amusing Not”

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    The Dead Kennedys were weird, but great.
    Certainly not my favorite punk band, but definitely one of the most original.

    That is all.

  • http://www.ejhissong.com Elizabeth Rosenthal

    Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” was not a “loose concept album” nor about the Old West. If the reviewer had actually done his/her homework and/or read through the extensive liner notes of the reissue, he/she would know that it is a completely autobiographical concept album chronicling the early lives and joint career of songwriters Elton John (“Captain Fantastic”) and Bernie Taupin (“The Brown Dirt Cowboy”) through the making of the first Elton John album, which was released in the UK in 1969 and called Empty Sky. It’s also important to note that Captain Fantastic was well-received in its day by fans as well as by Robert Hilburn, the Los Angeles Times’ legendary rock music critic who considered it Elton’s best album up to that point. After a while, it gets a bit tiresome to read yet another reappraisal of Elton John’s career in which the quality of even his most well-regarded works is downplayed.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Oh please. It is full of Old West imagry right down to the cover.

    Where do you think the term “meal ticket” comes from? What do you think “cowboy” means. Taupin has always used old west imagry from his earliest days “Tumbleweed” to his recent work.

    All lyricists’ work is autobiographical. Yes, I understand “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” is about Taupin or John or somebody.

    But that’s not how the album was presented or marketed.

    Upon its release, it broke records for returned (i.e. unsold) copies; after its #1 debut, it was given lukewarm to semi-hostile reviews by most music press, and has seen its image rehabilitated over the years; it’s a good Elton John album.

    Gimme a break, I said very nice things about it, and recommend the “deluxe” version highly.

    Get off your high horse.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    However, I modified the article to reflect your comment regarding autobiography; I take this as a given, which is why I didn’t mention it, but this is one of their more personal albums. No need to be snarly about it, is all.

  • http://www.ejhissong.com Elizabeth Rosenthal

    Mr./Ms. Reviewer,
    You’ve just admitted to knowing nothing of the subject matter of the Captain Fantastic album in your remark that “Someone Saved” was about “Taupin or John or somebody.” Well, that about sums it up, doesn’t it?
    P.S. Captain Fantastic remains one of Elton’s best-selling albums of all time, having been certified for sales of three million by the Recording Industry Association of America. It remains a sentimental favorite among fans. You may (or may not) be interested to know that Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin will be working on the sequel to this album, slated for release in 2007, which will survey their lives and careers over the last 30 years. And, no, it won’t be about the Wild West.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Some music listeners don’t obsess over “who” such-and-such song is “about”, yet we still enjoy the music.

    Because the music is what we have to go on, when we listen. It should not be dependant upon what an artist reveals later in interviews.

    I like your beloved Elton myself; I’m even a fan of “Empty Sky”, something few critics would openly admit.

    But you’re way outta line. I just praised the stupid thing, and you’re badgering me about not being obsessive enought to care about the backstory.

    Nor were the listeners of its day.

    Taupin would continue to sprinkle westernin influences into his autobiographical, and hacked-out non-autoboigraphical material on the next album, also from 1975, Rock of the Westies.

    After Captain Fantastic, Elton John’s slaes began a steady decline that some observers speculated was irreversable. John reversed his slide with Jump Up and “Empty Garden”

    Hmmm. The more I think about it, Captain Fantastic was no Honky Chateau, not by a longshot. I herby, officially, and irrevocably lower its rating from **** to ***1/2.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    I meant “western references” not “western influences” in the above reply. Force of habit; I’m a lousy typist.

  • http://p211.ezboard.com/bthecrazywaterezboard crazywater

    Excuse me sir/madam,

    The fact that you said ‘I understand “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” is about Taupin or John or somebody’ proves you are clueless. And if you had listened to the live version of the album on the new Deluxe Edition you would know the album is completely autobiographical since Elton explains some of the songs as he goes along. The album is about Elton and Bernie and their struggles up to the recording of their first album “Empty Sky.” The song “Curtains” makes reference to that album as well as the first song they wrote together. And I would like to know where you got your information about it breaking records for returns? That is just a stupid statement to make about the first album ever to debut at #1. I seriously doubt that it set records for returns. Its nice you like the album but don’t try and pretend to be an Elton expert when you clearly don’t even know the basic information.

    BTW: Ever here the phrase, West of the Rockies? The album was recorded in Colorado, get it? Nothing to do with Bernie and his fascination with the old west.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    You guys are missing my point. But okay, whatever.

    I just don’t really care about “Elton and Bernie’s struggles up to making Empty Sky“. My struggles were more grueling. So were yours.

    And it doesn’t make the music any better, unless you’re in it for the personalities, not the music.

    As for “west”, you guys are weird. What is this argument about? Are not a bunch of Elton John/Bernie Taupin tunes, not the majority, but a bunch) peppered with Western imagry? Is west of the rockies not “old” enough to be considered “old west?” Okay then, “western references”. I think I said that already.

    On Rock of the Westies isn’t “I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)” about Robert Ford, the guy who shot Jesse James?

    Where’s the beef?

    You don’t have to be an “Elton John expert” to know if an Elton John album is worth spending money on.

    I will reiterate: this one is worth spending money on, if you like Elton John. If you don’t, this may be a little much.

    But I’ll never knowingly spend another dime on anyone I know is an Elton John fan…

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Considering semanitcs, “old west” has been modified to “American west” in the original text.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    P.S. The Dead Kennedys album is much better.

    ;-)

  • godoggo

    During my brief Green Party flirtation, I went to a rally that included the disturbing sight of Jello and Jackson Brown doing background vocals behind Patti Smith.

  • Vern Halen

    Actually, whether the work is autobiographical or not is irrelevant – it’s how the work speaks to the audience that gives it meaning. When you hear White Christmas, does it matter that one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time was written by a Jewish songwriter? Similarly, how about Spirit In the Sky by Norman Greenbaum, which specifically refers to Jesus, and the singer hoping to be “recommended to the spirit in the sky?”

    When the work is released to the audience, the audience will read what it will into it. Is either The Matrix or The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe an allegory for the Christian experience, or just interesting movies books? You bring to it what you have.

    Personally, CF&TBDC does work on one level referring to the lives of EJ & BT, but it’s also way more interesting to listen to it as a story about the Old West. Depends on how literal you want to take it, I guess.

  • Paul

    Tumbleweed Connection is a theme album that takes place in the post civil war period and is clearly devouted to early Americana….Bernie Taupin has written many songs that deal with that period…Taupin is now a rancher in California…and has become the Brown dirt cowboy….The Album above is devoted to the two songwriters personal stories…the two nicknames in the title are meant to represent their personalities…CFATBDC really doesn’t have anything to do with the old West

  • Paul

    Tumbleweed Connection is a theme album that takes place in the post civil war period and is clearly devouted to early Americana….Bernie Taupin has written many songs that deal with that period…Taupin is now a rancher in California…and has become the Brown dirt cowboy….The Album above is devoted to the two songwriters personal stories…the two nicknames in the title are meant to represent their personalities…CFATBDC really doesn’t have anything to do with the old West

  • http://paskudnyak.blogspot.com The Proprietor

    The Fool is also remembered as the creators of the memorable psychedelic paint job on Eric Clapton’s Gibson SG used with Cream. Although Clapton’s nickname for the guitar was “Sunny”, it’s nearly universally referred to as “The Fool” guitar in honor of the artists.

    “Sunny” somehow made it into Todd Rundgren’s possession via Jackie Lomax. The guitar has allegedly been touched up several times and is in poor condition. It is not, as some sources claim, originally George Harrison’s Gibson SG used on Revolver (that guitar was given to Pete Ham of Badfinger and was recently auctioned off).

  • jim mckay

    It’s written over pretty much every copy of the album’s liner notes since it came out in 1975 (except the tape versions) that “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” is autobiographical–ten songs written specifically about the period from when EJ and BT met in 1967 to the release of their first album, “Empty Sky.”

    You should just apologize for your gross negligence in writing about something you haven’t really reviewed except very, very casually. Make me wonder how accurate the other reviews you offer are.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    I owe no apologies whatsoever.

    The review is accurate. The lyrics are full of western imagry used in the service of telling Taupin’s “autobiographical” story, as are many John/Taupin songs of the era. It is a loose conceptual album (concept being comparing our heroes to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy)

    I did not say it is a “Tale of The Old West”

    Why are Elton John fans so offended by this observation?

    This is not an article on Elton John. It is a recommendation of four albums out of eighty or so re-issues that came out this week.

    I picked an Elton John album, said what’s good about it, gave it a little context, period, end of story.

    Sheesh, it’s not even that good by Elton John standards; nearly any of his 1971-1974 product is better. I simply thought you guys might like the concert material. Frankly, I made the album sound better than it really is.

    That’s all I have to say about Elton John.

    As for The Fool, I appreciate the anecdote about Clapton’s guitar. I didn’t know about that; that’s interesting.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    One illustration of what I meant, and then I’m moving on to other things.

    Let’s take “(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket” for example, since I singled that one out for being a good hard rock song in the write up, and consider it the best moment on the album.

    What is a “meal ticket”? It is an idiom that means “means of making money” or “means to pay one’s bills”.

    Taken as autobiography, one can imagine Taupin (the Cowboy) is talking about his ‘struggles before making “Empty Sky”‘; how he needed that meal ticket his songwriting career became.

    But where does the idiom come from? A “meal ticket” is given to cowboys/ranch hands in the, ahem, West, to be exchanged for a meal.

    Considering these guys are British, using an American western idiom is a conscious decision, not one that comes naturally. Just as Taupin’s Brown Dirt Cowboy alter-ego is a conscious decision, as is the cover art.

    Frankly, “Someone Sved My Life Tonight” doesn’t use any western imagry; that’s why the concept is “loose”. But it’s there.

    So when I say it is a conceptual album using one of Taupin’s pet topics, the American west, as reference points, I’m not making it up. Sure, it’s about him or them. So are the Frampton and Dead Kennedy albums about the artists as much as their topics and images.

    What I don’t get is how I’ve commited some sin by mentioning Taupin’s particular fascination with such imagry. (which, as I’ve mentioned, appears on other albums, too)

    As for liner notes, you can’t hear them; I seldom consider any written material when I respond to an audio work.

    Incidentally, the best things on this particular collection are “One Day At A Time” and “Philadelphioa Freedom”, both of which aren’t on the original pressings.

  • godoggo

    By the way, I don’t think of Holiday in Cambodia as an anti-war song so much as an anti-yuppy song. There’s some stuff on the back of the LP criticizing the government of the time for supporting the Khmer Rouge seat in the UN, but if you listen to the lyrics, you might get the feeling Jello thought Pol Pot was on to something. Wonder how my local donut vendors would react to this?

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Actually, I was more interested in talking about the Dead Kennedys.

    Your reading of Holiday In Cambodia makes sense to me; it’s really a ball of things; that’s what interested me about them. While other political punk of the day was often dogmatic sloganeering, Dead Kennedy’s put a very unique, multidimensional spin on things.

    The poster that came with this album was great too; I used to the collage pore over it for hours; it really did wake me up to some issues I was ignorant of.

    And the music was creepy, especially if you played it in the dark, late at night.

  • http://www.thebmrant.com Matt

    wow uao—you brought out the Elton fans. The hardcore ones, no less. Nice.

  • Vern Halen

    Y’know, getting back to EJ, there was a certain detatchment to what ever he sang – one critic said he could’ve been singing the phone book. The words were just words, of which David Byrne once said to the effect, are “just a trick to get people to listen to music.” Heck, maybe even EJ didn’t know what he was singing about. Apparently many of his fans were equally indiscriminate in their abililty to listen – a perfect match.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    It’s always the popmeisters who have the touchiest fans. I’ve tangled with Elton John, Mariah Carey, Pat Benatar, Celine Dion fans. You really have to watch what you say around them.

    Dead Kennedy fans are pussycats in comparison. Sex Pistols fans are downright charming. Even GG Allin fans can be pretty sweet.

    I dare not even think what “Burn Down The Mission” is really about…

    ;-)

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Actually, it was the Peter Frampton fans I was worried about.

    Not a peep; I guess the poor guy hasn’t got any fans left.

  • reggie dwight

    OK. I’m a hardcore Elton fan. I’ll get that right out. Thanks for bringing us all out of the woodwork, by the way.

    I would have to say that Captain Fantastic is Elton’s best album production-wise, band-tightness wise, and vocal-wise. I agree that there are maybe 3 songs on side 1 that I find a bit weak, but overall I consider it to be his most successful effort.

    I find the closing of the album on par with anything some of the more earthreal artists such as Pink Floyd or Brian Eno ever cooked up, with We All Fall in Love Sometimes/ Curtains being a transcendent moment for mankind.

    The title track is a bit western sounding, so I think I can see what you mean there, but as you mentioned, Someone Saved My Life is anything but western sounding, Better Off Dead sounds a bit like Queen maybe in an operatic mood, Whistle Blows is bluesy, I am trying to help you here and think of what you meant by the western thing. Not that I’m offended by it, I just don’t get it. Meal Ticket being a western song is certainly a stretch.

    I should let you know that those who have preceded me are among the most respected of Elton’s fans. One is the author of the most insightful analysis of his music ever (Elton’s Song), while the other two are highly capable moderators of internet forums.

    I personally can’t stand Celine Dion’s music, so please do not lump me with that. However, I thought I would offer my opinion.

  • reggie dwight

    A little correction there. Actually the title of the book that I mentioned is “His Song.” Sorry for the confusion.

    But I would really be interested where you have heard that there were a bunch of returns of Captain Fantastic. I know that did happen with his soundtrack to the movie Friends in 1971, but yours was the first I have ever heard about a significant amount of returns or even a lukewarm reception of the album. My understanding is that it was recognized at the time as his masterwork– similar to how Songs in the Key of Life was viewed for Stevie Wonder. Now personally I prefer Innervisions to Songs in the Key of Life, but Capt Fantastic was viewed as an ambitious undertaking. I know that Rolling Stone was not a big fan of it– Dave Marsh and Robert Christgau being among Elton’s chief critics– but those two reviewers in particular just don’t like anything Elton does, so in a way I believe that invalidates them as critcs of his music.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Thanks Reggie.

    I’ll stop muttering under my breath about Elton John fans, too.

    Maybe I’m on crack, but I see a larger peppering of Taupins western idioms and images on Captain Fantastic and Rock of the Westies.

    By which I mean: choices of word and idiom, not topic material; I think my write-up perhaps didn’t elucidate that as well as it should have.

    I wasn’t trying to say “it is a concept album of the old west”, which is how it looks my words were taken (and my thoughts are expressed sometimes jumbly; I try to fix ‘em).

    I was trying to say it was a conceptual album (it is- in the autobiographical sense as one of your colleagues pointed out) that displays more of Taupins (often present, on some level) fascination with western imagry and idioms than usual, as did their other 1975 album (and yes, I know “Island Girl” has nothing to do with the west). But then, how do you figure a Cowboy writing about Robert Ford?

    At any rate, I wasn’t trying to say it was in any way a western album.

    I am a little disappointed in the tones your esteemed collegues used in addressing me; I’m always polite to polite people. I certainly didn’t mean to insult anyone with my album recommendation, and I’d like to think I put a few bob in Elton’s pocket by alerting the world to a very nice package.

    They sound like very important individuals in the Elton John pantheon of fandom, and I wish we could have talked on a more cerebral level. My fault; it didn’t seem worth the effort. I did try.

    But you’ve been quite nice.

    Okay, I usually don’t do this, but I’ll anull my petulant lowering of Captain Fantastic, and restore it to a full four stars, out of five.

    I hope that suffices. I’m sorry I’m not as Eltoncentric as you guys; I fear it doesn’t leave us a whole lot to talk about…

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    I’ll look into the returns, too. I was repeating an anecdote for which I am not prepared to back up with documentation.

    This may be quite inaccurate, so file this under “lead to follow up on”:

    I heard that pre-orders by retailers for the album were tremendous, but that most stores had overstocked, and were forced to return many copies.

    The heavy pre-ordering might explain the #1 debut (which was rare, even for an artist of his stature at that time).

    Supposedly, Blue Moves also suffered from heavy returns.

    I’m not sure if I read this or dreamed it or what, but I remember this somehow.

    I spouted this off in the heat of an argument, in order to thrust a j’accuse! gauntlet. Ordinarily, I don’t spout stuff like that unless I can back it up.

    So you may take it with a grain of salt. But now I’m curious too, so I’ll try to find a reference somewhere.

  • Jen

    Please learn to spell, uao. “Imagery” is the word you are looking for.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Thanks, doll.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    I did spell j’accuse right.

  • godoggo

    Hmmm, deleted for insulting myself. If you don’t believe that was really me, you can email me, and I’ll respond eventually, although that’s my “spam account,” so I normally check it like once a month.

  • godoggo

    Tell ya what, I’ll do a special check this afternoon.

  • godoggo

    nevermind, different thread, I’m so paranoid.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Hi godoggo!

  • reggie dwight

    So what was the deal with Peter Frampton? His live album really is awesome. Yet I’ve never heard the studio versions for any of these songs, and the only studio song I can think of from him is “I’m in You,” a decent enough song, which came on his follow-up to the live album, and before this forgotten album that is reviewed above. I know he came from a band called Humble Pie, but what album contains all the original versions of “Do You Feel Like I Do” and all those other FM classics.

    I wasn’t a big fan of his when the live album came out, because Elton’s career was on the decline at the time, and I was jealous of his and the the Bee Gees’ success. But I love to hear those Frampton Comes Alive songs now, when they come up on our local radio station.

    best wishes,

    reggie

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    I reckon, Reggie, that we’re communicating from very distant musical universes, which is cool, we all dig what we dig.

    I was never a Frampton fan, although I respect his talent, and he seems like a nice enough guy.

    “Do You Feel Like We Do” is on his sophomore album, Frampton’s Camel, from ’73, (I think?). That one is maybe the only one of his I’d go out of my way to listen to. “Show Me The Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way” are on Frampton, which is his third album. That’s when he got too pop for me; I like a little grit.

    Humble Pie was an excellent band, fronted by the late Steve Marriott, who was also was in the Small Faces. Frampton’s playing was good, but he quit before the band’s best stuff came out.

    Humble Pie wasn’t pop; they were boogie hard rock. “30 Days In The Hole” is a good classic to check out (except Frampton isn’t on that one). “Shine On” is a good one with Frampton (he wrote it).

    Frampton was in The Herd in the late 60’s, and was something like 17 when he joined them. Listening to the Herd has been on my to-do list for about two decades, maybe I’ll finally get around to it. The Herd was psychedelic pop, and had a couple of U.K. hits.

    I am a sucker for the live “Do You Feel Like We Do”, though more for the opening part than the talking guitar part.

    Like I said in the article, I’m surprise he lost such a large audience so abruptly. He still has devoted fans (I assume; everyone does, right?), but not enough to chart his records.

    I know a few years back he was in Ringo Starr’s All-Star band; not sure what he’s doing lately.

  • Ian Hills

    Joining in on the Captain Fantastic debate, and the inacuracies in the review. It has already been well documented about Someone Saved My Life Tonight being about Elton’s suicide attempt to get out of his marrage.
    the period that this autobiographical concept album is covering is from 1967-1969 the first album Empty Sky, at this point Elton & Bernie had never been to America, so the album is about there time in London and is very much an English album about England.
    Meal Ticket is an English reference to luncheon vouchers that you used to be album to exchange for food in many restaurants & supermarkets.
    The brown dirt cowboy was influenced by Western America and does refer to his childhood dream of being a cowboy, but also his humble upbringing on a farm in Northern England.
    “when i worked the good old pubs in Stepney” Stepney is in East London, where Elton used to play in the late 60’s.
    “Our Summer Season At Southend” Southend is a seaside town in Essex, just East of London.
    “the old die-hards in Denmark Street start laughing at the keyboard players hollow haunted eyes” Denmark Street is in Soho in London, the tin-pan alley of london.
    “And rather all this than those diamante lovers in Hyde Park holding hands” Hyde Park is in London.
    “When i think of those East End lights” this is in reference to the east End of London.
    “Paying your H.P. demands forever” this refers to hire purchase, a way of paying for goods in installments, so you are in fact hiring them until you have complrted the payments. HP payments were available in England after the war and up until the end of the 70’s when it was replaced with credit cards and instant credit.
    While Diamond Jim’s & the Kings Road pimps breathe heavy in their brand new clothes” Kings road is in Chelsea in London.
    “And trickled down these sleepy subway trains” did they have an underground train network in the old west?
    elton’s music may be influenced by American music, but the lyrics on this album come from England, not the old west.

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