Saturday, 2 June 2018

Elton John - Elton John (1970)


Released April 1970

Recorded at Trident Studios, London

Often thought to be Elton John’s debut album (it is his second), this was a remarkably mature offering from Elton and songwriter Bernie Taupin when one considers they were barely into their twenties and composed many of the songs in Elton's tiny bedroom at his parents’ house in Pinner, Middlesex. The feelings and issues that the songs approach seem like the work of someone far older than the callow Taupin and, musically, the album is also incredibly mature and it shows just what a precociously talented composer the young Elton John was.


1. Your Song
2. I Need You To Turn To
3. Take Me To The Pilot
4. No Shoe Strings On Louise
5. First Episode At Hienton
6. Sixty Years On
7. Border Song
8. The Greatest Discovery
9. The Cage
10. The King Must Die

It is a beautiful album, full of simply lovely songs of a breathtaking sensitivity, such as the gorgeous “Sixty Years On”, with its touching lyrics about ageing, and the impossibly tender “First Episode At Hienton” about a young girl’s emergence into womanhood (bear in mind this was written by a boy probably in his late teens). The ugliness of Southern US racism is tackled in the gospelly “Border Song”. “The Greatest Discovery” is another extremely observant, sensitive song, as indeed is “The King Must Die”. Listen to that beautiful harpsichord and strings introduction to the gorgeous "I Need You To Turn To". The material on this album really is some of the best stuff Elton John ever recorded.

Then there are also a couple of the bluesy, upbeat semi-rock ballads that Elton would come to specialise in - the catchy, appealing “Take Me To The Pilot and "The Cage", which is also funky and horn-driven in that Leon Russell way that so influenced the young (and older) Elton. The remastering of the keyboard/percussion/horn break in the middle of this track is spectacular. Of course, no collection of Bernie Taupin will be complete without a country-style ditty. Here it is the jaunty "yee-haw" stylings of "No Shoe Strings On Louise"Oh, and then there is “Your Song”. Such an iconic song really needs no introduction or description from me.

The remastered sound on these Elton John “Deluxe Editions” is simply stunning. Crystal clear as well as being full and bassy. They do such great works complete justice. The second disc of demos is interesting but not essential. A few of non-album gems in the quintessential early 70s Elton John of "Bad Side Of The Moon", the lovely “Grey Seal” (later to appear on “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”) and a live recording of “Rock n Roll Madonna”. Also included are "BBC Sessions" live takes of "Border Song", "Your Song" and "Take Me To The Pilot", all of which are excellent. “Your Song” is particularly good.

An essential piece of work. Don't be without it.


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