RARITIES AND REISSUES
Elton John, "Elton John -- Deluxe Edition" (Mercury/UMe) 5 stars
Contrary to what a lot of his American fans still think, 1970's "Elton John" album was not the songwriter's first release.
It had been preceded by "Empty Sky" in the U.K. in 1969, but that album failed to generate much heat and wasn't even released in the U.S. until John became a star.
That stardom was initially triggered by this eponymous breakthrough disc, which has now been expanded from 40 minutes to nearly two hours, thanks to this double-CD "Deluxe Edition."
It's a beautiful recording, heartfelt and soulful, one that set a mood that John never quite duplicated in his many subsequent offerings. Tracks like "Your Song," "Take Me to the Pilot," "I Need You To Turn To" and the touching "The Greatest Discovery," tapped into early 1970's singer/songwriter sensibilities with a new passion, a new approach and a new style that was as fresh as it was distinct.
The edition features a 20-song bonus disc, mostly filled with piano demos, as well as rarities like "Grey Seal," which was initially the B-side to a single before being re-recorded several years later for "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."
While fascinating from a historical perspective, the demos are far from the definitive versions of the songs, with several like "Your Song," lacking the power and presence of the final recording, while others like the BBC session version of "Take Me to the Pilot," played too fast and lacking a groove.
Several major rarities are featured however, including "Thank You Mama," "All the Way Down to El Paso," and "I'm Going Home," which are all previously unreleased in any form.
The "Deluxe Edition" is being reissued simultaneously with a similar double-disc look back at another one of John's early great albums, "Tumbleweed Connection."
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
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Robbie Vierra-Lambert Spinal Cord
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Choreography by Marie Madera
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