Friday, April 24, 2015

I’ve got a couple of crates full of old vinyl albums that I haven’t listened to in years due to lack of equipment to play them. Over a period of about a year and a half I revisited each album on the internet or bought the CD and ranked the songs. I also recorded some brief thoughts, rated the album, and posted the results on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists comment section. I’m recycling and categorizing/grouping the posts on this website.

Madman Across the Water
Pleasantly surprised once again. I used to only listen to one side of this album. Can’t believe the good music I was dismissing. Best thing to say about this one is bravo Bernie Taupin. I still think “Yellow Brick Road” is the best Elton John album among the ones I’ve heard, but I’d sure like to hear any album that contains better work from Taupin.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A

1- Levon
2- Tiny Dancer
3- Indian Sunset
4- Goodbye
5- Madman Across the Water
6- Razor Face
7- Holiday Inn
8- Rotten Peaches
9- All The Nasties

Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player
A while back I reviewed and stated that I was impressed with “Madman Across the Water” and moved it up to #2 on my list of Elton albums. But I’m gonna have to revert back to my original assessment from years ago and leave this album in the #2 spot behind “Yellow Brick Road”. A little more “poppy” in spots and not as consistently edgy as “Madman”, but either way, the John/Taupin combo wrote some pretty good songs in their heyday.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A

1- Texan Love Song
2- Have Mercy on the Criminal
3- Teacher I Need You
4- Daniel
5- Elderberry Wine
6- Blues for My Baby and Me
7- Crocodile Rock
8- I’m Going to Be A Teenage Idol
9- Midnight Creeper
10- High Flying Bird

Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Unless I’ve overlooked, RS has this one ranked second among Elton John albums. That is incorrect. It’s not a bad album, but I know of at least three that are better. The title song’s pretty good, though.
Scale of 1 to 10:  B +

1- Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
2- We all Fall in Love Sometimes
3- Tower of Babel
4- Writing
5- Gotta Get a Meal Ticket
6- Tell Me When the Whistle Blows
7- Someone Saved My Life Tonight
8- Bitter Fingers
9- Better Off Dead
10- Curtains

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
When I looked at the songs near the bottom of my list I thought, “I gotta move this one up”. But then I couldn’t find a song to bump. Not a bad song on the album. I could almost rank them in any order, depending on what mood I’m in. Great marriage between the music and the lyrics. If you like his music, I don’t think you’ll find a better Elton John album.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A +

1- I’ve Seen That Movie Too
2- The Ballad of Danny Bailey
3- Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
4- Social Disease
5- Grey Seal
6- Harmony
7- Dirty Little Girl
8- This Song Has No Title
9- Roy Rogers
10- All the Girls Love Alice
11- Sweet Painted Lady
12- Jamaica Jerk-Off
13- Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
14- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
15- Bennie and the Jets
16- Candle in the Wind
17- Your Sister Can’t Twist

Rock of the Westies
I forgot about this one and really don’t remember listening to it much, but apparently I did because a lot of the songs came back to me. A bit more guitar than you’d expect from an Elton John album. It’s almost as if he intentionally wanted to feature his band a bit more than previous albums. Nothing exceptional here, but not bad in spots. I like the first song on my list.
Scale of 1 to 10:  D+

1- Medley (Yell Help, Wednesday Night Ugly)
2- Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)
3- Hard Luck Story
4- Street Kids
5- I Feel Like a Bullet (in the Gun of Robert Ford)
6- Grow Some Funk of Your Own
7- Island Girl
8- Feed Me
9- Billy Bones and the White Bird

Honky Chateau
I don’t remember if he’s on the singers list, but certainly a young Elton John belongs. I believe this album produced only two hits and both are near the top of my list as they occupy the second and third spot. They’re interchangeable. “Mona Lisas/Hatters” is easily top five Elton for me, maybe number one. Beautiful melody. The rest of the songs are enjoyable enough to keep your finger off the “skip” button, but none are really good enough to single out as something I’d add to a playlist of favorites. Without “Mona/Hatters” and to some degree, the next two songs on my list, I’d rate this album a half a grade lower. Still not sure that I shouldn’t have anyway.
Scale of 1 to 10:  B

1- Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
2- Honky Cat
3- Rocket Man
4- Amy
5- Mellow
6- Slave
7- Susie (Drama)
8- I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself
9- Hercules
10- Salvation

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