From the Vault...


Elton John
"Captain Fantastic And The Browndirt Cowboy"

© Polydor Records

Year of Release: 1975

track listing
  • Captain Fantastic And
    The Browndirt
  • Tower Of Babel
  • Bitter Fingers
  • Tell Me Where
    The Whistle Blows
  • Someone Saved
    My Life Tonight
  • (Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket
  • Better Off Dead
  • Writing
  • We All Fall In Love
  • Curtains

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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    Elton John
    "Captain Fantastic And The Browndirt Cowboy"

    Elton John's Captain Fantastic And The Browndirt Cowboy album would definitely have to be my favorite Elton John album. Why? Many reasons. For starters, the album cover would have to be one of the best ever made. Better than The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper ? Pretty close. The album cover art was designed by pop artist Alan Aldridge. The cover was based from the Renaissance painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymous Bosch.

    I had played this album much more than Sgt. Pepper's, yet it is hard to determine which album is better. But for listening to it over and over when I was younger; even more than that of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Willy And The Poorboys. Elton John's Captain Fantastic And The Browndirt Cowboy album hits #1 on our Album Picks. The Sgt. Pepper album ends it's streak at #1, as it was the top album since 2001, 655 weeks.) The Creedence album drops to #3.

    Another reason for being my favorite EJ album, would be that I had played the heck out of it, and knowing practically every song. Although "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" would be the most remembered song, there are far many other great, outstanding songs on this album. Take the title track.. It has to be one of the greatest songs Elton John ever recorded, yet many many not remember it. And like many other Elton John classics, this one should be added to that list. This is the same for other songs. "Tower Of Babel" is another great song that could have been a classic.

    "Bitter Fingers" is another good song, especially when it kicks in full-stride musically. "Tell Me When The Whistle Blows" is another not-so-well-known track, yet it is soulful, catchy. Then there is the most-remembered track that received the radio airplay: "Someone Saved My Life Tonight." A great Elton John classic.

    "(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket" is another great, catchy track. "Better Off Dead" is even better. "Writing" is another soft rock track that should be another classic. This was one of the songs that I would play quite heavily. "We All Fall In Love Sometimes" is beautiful ballad, and another great song from the writing of Elton John & bernie Taupin. It is then blended together with the last song, "Curtains." Again, another great song from Elton & Bernie.

    The booklet that came with the vinyl was truly exceptional, with a cartoon drawing, pictures of Elton and Bernie in their younger years, and lyrics for each song. Acquiring the CD version of this album many years ago (first edition, from Polydor Records), the booklet was included with the CD. In 2005, there was a 2-CD Deluxe version. Bonus tracks were included, of course, with songs that were not originally released on album: "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," (Lennon-McCartney), "One Day At A Time" (John Lennon), "House Of Cards" (B-side of "Someone Saved My Life Tonight") The second disc is a complete concert performed at Wembley Stadium onJune 21, 1975. The entire Captain Fantastic And The Browndirt Cowboy was performed, and also included were "Pinball Wizard" (originally from The Who movie Tommy, which was another non-Elton John album track), and a live version of "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." In reading up on this album, the lyrics booklet was also included with uncompleted lyrics to "Dogs In The Kitchen," which was not on the album. A poster of the album cover was also included. The first 5000 copies were pressed on brown vinyl, and signed by Elton John & Bernie Taupin. I only remember the lyrics book from having the this album on vinyl. Limited edition copies of the Deluxe were pressed on brown vinyl. "Dogs In The Kitchen" was never recorded, as it was a song regarding Elton's British label (Dick James Music). There was a lawsuit against the company, initiated in the 1980s, and settled in Elton and Bernie's favor in 1986. Dick James, the owner, died shortly afterwards.

    Captain Fantastic And The Browndirt Cowboy is truly one of many albums that I highly recommend. Many of his albums are also recommended, but this one is ranked up there with the other great albums in Rock history. For Elton John fans, this album is a must, if you haven't discovered it already. Every song is classic. Every song is gifted. Elton John & Bernie Taupin wrote many great songs. Most of them we already know of. Many songs from this Captain album should be included, likewise other songs from his other albums. If you haven't discovered this album yet, do so. I think it's one of the many albums to listen to (and have in your collection), as one of the many albums to have, before you die. For those who never have heard of the album, you probably would want the Deluxe version. Most bonus tracks can be found on other Elton John compilations. "House Of Cards" is the only bonus track on the Deluxe version.

    There was a "sequel" to this album, released in 2006 -- The Captain And The Kid. Both albums were concept autobiographical albums, based on the lives of Elton John (Captain) and Bernie Taupin (Cowboy). The album looked at the struggles of their early years in London (1967-1969), and leading up to their breakthrough in 1970. "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" would be the album's only single, telling the story of Elton John's disastrous engagement to Linda Woodrow, and his related 1968 suicide attempt. The "Someone" refered to musician Long John Baldry, of whom Elton John was a member of Baldry's band, in his early years of music. Baldry convinced Elton John to break off the engagement, rather than ruin his music career for an unhappy marriage.

    Will The Captain And The Kid sequel be as good as the first? We will find that out on a future review.

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    Previous Review: #1651
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    Next Review: #1653
    Echo & The Bunnymen--Ocean Rain