|1. Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy|
|2. Tower Of Babel|
|3. Bitter Fingers|
|4. Tell Me When The Whistle Blows|
|5. Someone Saved My Life Tonight|
|6. (Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket|
|7. Better Off Dead|
|9. We All Fall In Love Sometimes|
|11. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds|
|12. One Day At A Time|
|13. Philadelphia Freedom|
As I said, this music is very complicated, sophisticated, and beautiful. There are some faster songs, but some of Elton's most carefully crafted music is here as well. The album begins with the title tune, a rock song with a bit of country flavor that represents the flamboyant heart of Elton, and the quieter, western-loving style of Bernie Taupin. The song alternates between a style reminiscent of "Madman Across the Water" to a style that was more fully realized in "Rock of the Westies."
In "The Tower of Babel" and "Bitter Fingers" the dynamic duo lament the difficulties of getting into the entertainment industry. The first song is about the difficulty of entry, the second is about being a stable hack for a record company, churning out songs by the basketful to make ends meet, never seeming to work fast enough or to earn enough. "Bitter Fingers" has a beautiful piano entry, which extends into the song. Elton at his performing best.
"Tell Me When the Whistle Blows" can play on several levels, depending on which part of the song. The style of the song is quite similar to songs such as "Danny Bailey" or "I've Seen That Movie Too" from "Yellow Brick Road.Read more ›
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is their finest album in all ways: production, melody, vocally and the best performance by his then band. In addition, these are likey to be the best lyrics Bernie Taupin ever penned. He is writing in the first person narrative for a change on all the songs. And, finally, Elton is singing lyrics that he can relate to because all of the songs are about the era when he and Bernie first met and stardom hadn't arrived (1967-1969).
The title track simply tells the story of their partnership: "Captain Fantastic, raised and regimented, hardly a hero, just someone his mother might know". How fitting a description for young Elton - shy, unassuming, average. While later on Elton sings: "Brown Dirt Cowboy, still green and growing...hand in hand went music and rhyme, the captain and the kid, stepping in the ring, from here on Sonny, it's a long and lonely climb." The melody starts with a country flare that rocks out during the chorus...a incredible arrangement that balances rock (Elton) with country (Taupin).
Tower of Babel hints at their first glimpse of the music business: "where were all your shoulders when we cried?" Taupin laments. "Bitter Fingers" tells the tale of the doing the club circuit as a struggling band.Read more ›
The only reason this gets a four star rating is there are 3-4 poorly produced songs on this collection that could have been made a lot better.
The title appropriately signifies the two individual personas of Elton & Bernie, with Elton being the true showman (Captain Fantastic) & Bernie the more retiring, simplified person (Brown Dirt Cowboy). While 1973's GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD required a lot of the duo's energy & creativity, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC had to have been more of a labor of love with Elton & Bernie creating art first & commerce second. No one had to be more surprised than them when the album became the very first one ever to debut at #1 on the Billboard album charts.
The countryish opening title track introduces our two characters early in their careers when they were just beginning their partnership, writing music more for financial security than making history.
The bouncy "Tower Of Babel" could be the duo first witnessing the cutthroat atmosphere of the music industry with its prominent mood of patting itself on the back & considering themselves higher up than the talent it seeks to promote.
"Bitter Fingers" is a combination of both the previous songs with Elton & Bernie starting to make music for themselves, but finding out the bigwigs want the money to keep rolling in first. This is certainly one of Elton's greatest rockers, and one of his most overlooked.Read more ›